Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell

80%

9 Critic Reviews

With its tight time frame and carefully choreographed dramatic revelations, Instructions for a Heatwave unfolds with the efficiency of a well-constructed three-act drama.
-NPR

Synopsis

Sophisticated, intelligent, impossible to put down, Maggie O’Farrell’s beguiling novels—After You’d Gone, winner of a Betty Trask Award; The Distance Between Us, winner of a Somerset Maugham Award; The Hand That First Held Mine, winner of the Costa Novel Award; and her unforgettable bestseller The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox—blend richly textured psychological drama with page-turning suspense. Instructions for a Heatwave finds her at the top of her game, with a novel about a family crisis set during the legendary British heatwave of 1976.

Gretta Riordan wakes on a stultifying July morning to find that her husband of forty years has gone to get the paper and vanished, cleaning out his bank account along the way. Gretta’s three grown children converge on their parents’ home for the first time in years: Michael Francis, a history teacher whose marriage is failing; Monica, with two stepdaughters who despise her and a blighted past that has driven away the younger sister she once adored; and Aoife, the youngest, now living in Manhattan, a smart, immensely resourceful young woman who has arranged her entire life to conceal a devastating secret.

Maggie O’Farrell writes with exceptional grace and sensitivity about marriage, about the mysteries that inhere within families, and the fault lines over which we build our lives—the secrets we hide from the people who know and love us best. In a novel that stretches from the heart of London to New York City’s Upper West Side to a remote village on the coast of Ireland, O’Farrell paints a bracing portrait of a family falling apart and coming together with hard-won, life-changing truths about who they really are. 


This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide. 

 

About Maggie O'Farrell

See more books from this Author
Maggie O'Farrell is the author of After You'd Gone, winner of a Betty Trask Award; My Lover's Lover; The Distance Between Us, winner of a Somerset Maugham Award; The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox; and The Hand That First Held Mine, winner of a Costa Novel Award.












Author Residence: London












Author Hometown: Northern Ireland
 
Published June 18, 2013 by Vintage. 338 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Instructions for a Heatwave
All: 9 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by STACEY D’ERASMO on Jul 26 2013

...“Instructions for a Heatwave” dutifully draws the reader through the keeping, and then the disclosure, of what has been concealed, but the novel’s pleasure and urgency lie in the indelibly familiar.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by VIv Groskop on Mar 03 2013

All the hallmarks of an O'Farrell novel are here: a family with secrets in its past...This is an accomplished and addictive story told with real humanity, warmth and infectious love for the characters. Highly recommended.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Joanna Briscoe on Feb 21 2013

There is a deliciousness to this novel, a warmth and readability that render it unputdownable and will surely make it a hit. She's done it again.

Read Full Review of Instructions for a Heatwave | See more reviews from Guardian

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jun 24 2013

An absorbing read from start to finish, through O'Farrell's vibrant prose, each character comes alive as more is revealed and the novel unfolds.

Read Full Review of Instructions for a Heatwave | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NPR

Good
Reviewed by Heller McAlpin on Jun 19 2013

With its tight time frame and carefully choreographed dramatic revelations, Instructions for a Heatwave unfolds with the efficiency of a well-constructed three-act drama.

Read Full Review of Instructions for a Heatwave | See more reviews from NPR

Kirkus

Excellent
on Jun 09 2013

A skillfully written novel of manners, with quiet domestic drama spiced with fine comic moments. The payoff is priceless, too.

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Financial Times

Below average
Reviewed by Michael Prodger on Apr 05 2013

For all the care with which they are drawn, however, the Riordans’ problems are only intermittently involving.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Malcolm Forbes on Jun 21 2013

...O’Farrell demonstrates her mastery at depicting strained relationships, skewed family loyalties and the just reachable light at the end of the tunnel.

Read Full Review of Instructions for a Heatwave | See more reviews from Star Tribune

Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Deborah Dundas on Aug 23 2013

She’s known for writing compelling dramas, and Instructions for a Heatwave is certainly that. Aoife, Monica and Michael Francis are the three children, all caught up in their own life dramas.

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Reader Rating for Instructions for a Heatwave
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Karen Russo

Karen Russo 5 Sep 2013

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