Come and chat to MAGGIE O'FARRELL about Instructions For a Heatwave (and all her previous books), Weds 23rd Oct, 9-10pm

(115 Posts)

If youre still loath to let go of summer, our October Book of the Month keeps the temperature high. Maggie OFarrells bestseller, INSTRUCTIONS FOR A HEATWAVE, is set in London, July 1976. The Riordans are an Irish couple with three grown-up children, and as they sit sweltering in their kitchen, Robert Riordan tells his wife Gretta that he's going round the corner to buy a newspaper. He doesn't come back. The search for Robert brings the children - two estranged sisters and a brother on the brink of divorce - back home, each with different ideas as to where their father might have gone.

As always, O'Farrell captures daily life with acute observation and empathy while sustaining a gradual suspense that reveals secret histories. Another entrancing and beautifully paced novel from a truly excellent storyteller.

To find out more, go to our book of the month page, where you can also find links to video interviews, Maggie's website and to her previous Mumsnet Bookclub chat back in 2011.

Tinder Press have 50 copies to give to Mumsnetters to claim yours please go to the book of the month page. We'll post on the thread when all the copies have gone.

If you're not lucky enough to bag one of the free books, you can always get your paperback or Kindle version here.

We are thrilled that Maggie will be joining us and answering questions about INSTRUCTIONS FOR A HEATWAVE, her writing career and her previous novels on Wednesday 23 October, 9-10pm. So please feel free to discuss the book here throughout the month, pop up any advance questions and we will see you all here, Wed 23 October.

DuchessofMalfi Tue 17-Sep-13 06:49:55

I bought a copy of this a c couple of weeks ago, so I'll be reading and joining the discussion smile

RebeccaSMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 23-Sep-13 10:40:35

The book giveaway is now closed. We'll be randomly choosing the names of the 50 mumsnetters who will receive copies later today and send them over to the publisher. As soon as we hear the books have been sent out we'll email to let you know if you've been lucky. Do come back to this thread and let us know what you think when you've had chance to read.

sharond101 Thu 26-Sep-13 14:39:08

i got one thanks

notjustamummythankyou Thu 26-Sep-13 17:35:19

Me too! grin

Ladyboluna Thu 26-Sep-13 18:56:54

I'm one of the lucky winners! Can't wait for it to arrive, it sounds really good smile going to resist looking at this thread until I've read it, don't want any spoilers!

tinypumpkin Thu 26-Sep-13 19:03:39

Ooooh me too, thank you MN. Really excited about this one smile

zaph0d Thu 26-Sep-13 21:00:21

Wow - amazed I got one, fantastic!
Have read "The Hand that First Held Mine" & looking forward to this one too.

Glad they've arrived safely, looking forward to hearing what you all think - and to seeing everyone here on Weds 23rd Oct.

Pearlyblue Tue 01-Oct-13 14:33:15

Thanks MN, I received my copy this morning. Can't wait to start reading x

weathermum Thu 03-Oct-13 10:34:17

many thanks for my book..I have started reading it on about page 30 its very different and I am looking forward to how the story will progress... I will come back when I have finished it.

I read it when it very first came out. I won't say anything yet for those people still reading.

A lifetime ago, my then boyfriend bought me a copy of Maggie's first book and I read it on the train going to university. I sobbed unashamedly and immediately read it through again. It's still one of my favourite books and I've bought and read all of Maggie's books as soon as they come out. Or should I say my then boyfriend, now husband, buys them and writes something soppy in the front of them. grin

I think the description of the otherworldliness of life following a traumatic childbirth is so poignantly done in The Hand That First Held Mine. It was perfectly pitched. Esme Lennox is similarly well sketched but After You'd Gone remains my favourite.

I'm looking forward to talking about the most recent one.

cavylover Thu 03-Oct-13 13:19:48

Very descriptive book detailing the lives of every member of the family in some depth revealing the secrets they have from each other throughout their lives. The atmosphere of the long hot summer of 1976 fits in perfectly with the twists and turns of the story. The book is a real page turner which I read in just over a day - a very entertaining read!

DuchessofMalfi Sun 06-Oct-13 16:40:11

Just about to start reading this, thia week.

HellonHeels Mon 07-Oct-13 10:51:47

Thanks for the book - I was very excited to be chosen to have a copy!

I started reading on the tube this morning and am hooked but nearly had to stop altogether because

SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT










of the episode with the cat at the beginning. I really cannot stand any depiction of animal injury / suffering but I skipped that section altogether and carried on. My initial impression is that this novel could have been written by a mumsnet committee (not a criticism BTW!) it's a novelisation of a lot of the threads I've read on the relationships board :-)

I'll be back when I've finished it which I think won't take long because I'm itching to get back to it.

HellonHeels, there's a thought: the Mumsnet Committee novel. I remember Penguin did something similar with a Wikinovel. Someone should call an agent...

When Maggie last came on, she described herself as a regular Mumsnetter; she's definitely in tune with many of the discussion points.

Also very interesting Guardian article here about her struggle to grapple with her own stammer and her son's dyslexia.

tinypumpkin Mon 07-Oct-13 12:14:40

I started this last night. As an OU tutor, can't say I am loving the comments about the OU degrees.

Hoping it gets better as finding it harder to read than I initially thought I would. Maybe I should read when I am less tired! We are off on hols in a couple of weeks so I might read it then if it is not too late to feedback at that point.

HellonHeels Mon 07-Oct-13 12:49:22

Oh yes the OU comments are out of order but presumably that's because the husband is a twat and they are designed to give us the heads up that he is?

PatriciaPT Mon 07-Oct-13 13:16:36

Great book and not difficult to read. For me, the best things were the character studies and the effects of family secrets (I come from a family in which some things were kept secret, one of which profoundly affected all of us). Kept wanting to say, 'Tell them, tell them' and hoping at least in one case that eventually they would. Won't spoil it by saying whether they did or not! A good book for anyone interested in families and how they function, and relationships both in and out of the family. And it's beautifully written - I'm a grammar and punctuation pedant which is a big disadvantage when reading books where errors interrupt the flow. Never happened at all in this one, will definitely read more of hers.

HellonHeels Tue 08-Oct-13 11:12:45

Finished in a day! Found it quite compelling.

Some neatly done tying up at the end but I have some unanswered questions, particularly, who did tell about Monica's abortion? (Did I miss this?) Actually I found Monica the most thinly drawn character. Was she really averse to / scared of motherhood due to witnessing her sister's birth? Or was it due to being used as a mother to difficult baby Aoife?

Should Claire have LTB? I kept thinking yes but was taken aback by her withdrawal from their children.

Rajie Tue 08-Oct-13 13:40:42

Truly a fantastic and compelling storyline. Couldn't put the book down once I started reading. The characters are described in detail and the impact they have on each others lives is very profound. An entertaining read!

A really great book, very hard to put down and extremely well written. Would definitely recommend!.

weathermum Fri 11-Oct-13 10:35:03

I finished reading it yesterday.
I too found it hard going until over halfway through then I wanted to see how it turned out.
Story good but it was wtitten in a way that I found hard to follow.
I thought the ending rather abrupt still some unaswered points...Never the less although a different read from my normal books I still found the story very interesting.
many thanks for the free copy

BlackbeltinBS Fri 11-Oct-13 16:01:15

Finished my copy. Thought it was a great start and enjoyed it but... not as good as I was hoping tbh. I loved The Hand that First Held Mine and Esme Lennox, not sure this is one I will be in a rush to reread just yet. I enjoyed Aoife's story.

Curious to know whether she deliberately picked 15th July (St Swithins Day - if it rains on St Swithins Day, it's supposed to rain for the next 40 days, and if it's dry, will stay dry for 40 days). Obviously in the book it's dry on 15th and I think that adds to the oppressiveness of the heat and that trapped feeling the characters have, like you know they're stuck in that situation?

Also, I'd like to know what the other novel was that MO was researching when she came up with this, and whether she thinks she'll go back to it?

sharond101 Tue 15-Oct-13 12:34:39

I liked this book however got a bit confused midway and that made it difficult to read on but after finishing I am glad I did. The portayal of each character gave a great mental picture in my mind of who each was and this added to my enjoyment.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now