The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Maggie O'Farrell

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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 October 24, 2007 by Harcourt. 245 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

Kirkus Reviews

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When the willfully unattached Iris Lockhart receives a call about a great aunt she never met, her loner lifestyle gets woven into a much larger family drama.

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The New York Times

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But Esme doesn’t seem very dangerous — or very crazy — and Iris slowly warms to her.

Nov 18 2007 | Read Full Review of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

The Guardian

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The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox Maggie O'Farrell Headline Review £14.99, pp245 India in the 1930s.

Aug 27 2006 | Read Full Review of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

The Guardian

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The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell 256pp, Headline Review, £14.99 Maggie O'Farrell's new novel is a short book about a long life and has the dream-like intensity of imagination and the gift of conveying pain, fear and sometimes rapture for which 0'Farrell is known.

Sep 02 2006 | Read Full Review of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

Publishers Weekly

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Layer upon layer of Lockhart family secrets are laid bare—the truth behind Esme's institutionalization, why her existence was kept a secret, and a twist involving Iris's parents—as Iris mulls over what to do with her new charge, and Esme and Kitty reconnect.

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The Independent

This triple-hander between Esme, Kitty and Iris's narratives could have become messy and confusing, but O'Farrell never relinquishes control, and her presentation of Kitty's voice, even more confused and fractured than that of Esme's, is a triumph.

Aug 27 2006 | Read Full Review of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

Suite 101

John Buchan wrote many novels dealing with the uncertain balance of powers, in a world which would be war torn for many decades.

Jun 03 2010 | Read Full Review of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

We Love This Book

Once I found out about Maggie O'Farrell, I raced through her books one after another, and The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox is the one that has stayed with me perhaps most strongly.

Jan 13 2007 | Read Full Review of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

New Zealand Woman's Weekly

It’s the captivating and beautifully told story of Iris Lockhart, who discovers one fateful day that she is the only remaining competent relative of Esme, who’s been incarcerated in a psychiatric unit for the past 60 years.

Feb 04 2012 | Read Full Review of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

Destination Wake Forest

Iris Lockhart receives a phone call from a psychiatric hospital informing her that she’s been given power of attorney over her great-aunt, Esme, who has been a “resident” of the hospital for 61 years.

Apr 13 2012 | Read Full Review of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

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