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The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell (2006)

  1. 20
    Miss Garnet's Angel by Salley Vickers (JenMDB)
  2. 20
    The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (rbtanger)
    rbtanger: Very similar in tone and several thematic elements.
  3. 20
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (Eowyn1)
  4. 10
    Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret by Steve Luxenberg (amyblue)
  5. 00
    The Yellow Wall-Paper {story} by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Maggie O'Farrell says that The Yellow Wallpaper was a major influence in writng The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
  6. 00
    The Other Side of You by Salley Vickers (jm501)
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» See also 273 mentions

English (144)  Spanish (3)  Catalan (2)  Dutch (2)  All languages (151)
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
Heartbreakingly beautiful writing. A twist I did not see coming but that took my breath away when it arrived. Utterly breathtaking. Big love. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
rate 9/10
  Kait_Kildress | Aug 15, 2016 |
This book is very cleverly written. The story is gradually revealed through three different interlocutors. The complex relationships between the characters are particularly capturing, with logic philosophical consequences. ( )
  LaraSaad | Jun 20, 2016 |
Review: The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell.

This book was hard to get into at first but slowly the story started unfolding. However, it was hard to follow because it jumped around constantly between three people’s memory perspectives without warning. It got confusing at times who was sharing their side of the story and what time frame the reader was in. Plus, the sentences were run on sentences that lacked imagination. I liked the concept of the story and that is what kept me reading but I don’t think it was well written.

It was a story of a woman committed to an institution for over sixty years, who was being released to a relative who never knew of her existence. Her great-niece didn’t know how to handle the situation. She was going to place her great-aunt in another home but the idea was unjustly cruel because of the condition of the home the institute recommended. Iris ended up taking her to where she lived and after realizing her home was the home were her great-aunt grew up for sixteen years before being placed at Cauldstone Institute. So, this home really belonged to Esme…….The ending was not a surprise but yet a surprise for the reader.

It was somewhat of a sad story when you organize the content of the story in your mind as you read. It’s a shame but fiction stories as this one still happen among families today meaning as someone who places a relative in a nursing home…with thoughts of “out of sight ;out of mind”. Unfortunately betrayal, jealousy, and deep down secrets are all too common in real life….
( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
Compelling story, but I didn't like the devices that the author used and the disjointed way the story was told. I read it on my Kindle, and the first time I came across a paragraph that started with a dash and a sentence fragment I wondered whether the download had been corrupted. Eventually it became clear whose voice that was and that the reader is expected to construct the story from these fragments and Esme's mental wanderings. In my opinion the end did not resolve the relationship between Iris and Alex satisfactorily. ( )
  ValNewHope | Mar 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 144 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Much Madness is divinest Sense--

To a discerning eye--

Much Sense--the starkest Madness--

'Tis the Majority

In this, as All, prevail--

Assent--and you are sane--

Demur--and you're straightaway dangerous--

And handled with a Chain--

Emily Dickinson
I couldn't have my happiness made out of a wrong-- an unfairness-- to somebody else . . . What sort of a life could we build on such foundations?

Edith Wharton
Dedication
for Saul Seamus
First words
Let us begin with two girls at a dance.
Quotations
This girl is remarkable to her. She is a marvel. From all her family – her and Kitty and Hugo and all the other babies and her parents – from all of them, there is only this girl. She is the only one left. They have all narrowed down to this black-haired girl sitting o the sand, who has no idea that her hands and her eyes and the tilt of her head and the fall of her hair belong to Esme's mother. We are all, Esme decides, just vessels through which identities pass: we are lent features, gestures, habits, then we hand them on. Nothing is our own. We begin in the world as anagrams of our antecedents.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
In the middle of tending to the everyday business at her vintage clothing shop and sidestepping her married boyfriend’s attempts at commitment, Iris Lockhart receives a stunning phone call: Her great-aunt Esme, whom she never knew existed, is being released from Cauldstone Hospital—where she has been locked away for over sixty years. Iris’s grandmother Kitty always claimed to be an only child. But Esme’s papers prove she is Kitty’s sister, and Iris can see the shadow of her dead father in Esme’s face. Esme has been labeled harmless—sane enough to coexist with the rest of the world. But Esme’s still basically a stranger, a family member never mentioned by the family, and one who is sure to bring life-altering secrets with her when she leaves the ward. If Iris takes her in, what dangerous truths might she inherit?

Maggie O’Farrell’s intricate tale of family secrets, lost lives, and the freedom brought by truth will haunt readers long past its final page.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0151014116, Hardcover)

In the middle of tending to the everyday business at her vintage-clothing shop and sidestepping her married boyfriend’s attempts at commitment, Iris Lockhart receives a stunning phone call: Her great-aunt Esme, whom she never knew existed, is being released from Cauldstone Hospital—where she has been locked away for more than sixty-one years.

Iris’s grandmother Kitty always claimed to be an only child. But Esme’s papers prove she is Kitty’s sister, and Iris can see the shadow of her dead father in Esme’s face. 

Esme has been labeled harmless—sane enough to coexist with the rest of the world. But she's still basically a stranger, a family member never mentioned by the family, and one who is sure to bring life-altering secrets with her when she leaves the ward. If Iris takes her in, what dangerous truths might she inherit?

A gothic, intricate tale of family secrets, lost lives, and the freedom brought by truth, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox will haunt you long past its final page.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:38 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In the middle of tending to the everyday business at her vintage-clothing shop and sidestepping her married boyfriend's attempts at commitment, Iris Lockhart receives a stunning phone call: her great-aunt Esme, whom she never knew existed, is being released from Cauldstone Hospital -- where she has been locked away for more than sixty-one years. A family member who is sure to bring life-altering secrets with her when she leaves the ward. If Iris takes her in, what dangerous truths might she inherit?… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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