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Absent In The Spring

4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,453 Ratings  ·  134 Reviews
Returning from a visit to her daughter in Iraq, Joan Scudamore finds herself unexpectedly alone and stranded in an isolated rest house by flooding of the railway tracks. This sudden solitude compels Joan to assess her life for the first time ever and face up to many of the truths about herself. Looking back over the years, Joan painfully re-examines her attitudes, relation ...more
Paperback, 190 pages
Published 1997 by HarperCollins (first published August 1944)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Joca
May 16, 2016 Joca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gostei muito e não podia ter feito esta leitura em melhor altura! Mais tarde farei vídeo sobre ele e o livro de junho que lerei da autora ;)
Adrienne
Aug 15, 2011 Adrienne rated it really liked it
This book made me profoundly uncomfortable, which I believe was the whole point of it. Pick it up when you're in the mood for some self-reflection. It certainly made me want to be a kinder, more loving person & caused me to wonder, uneasily, how my actions and motives might appear to others.
BrokenTune
Dec 26, 2015 BrokenTune rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
"Joan felt a little gentle glow as she turned away from her image in the glass. She thought, Well, it’s nice to feel one’s been a success at one’s job. I never wanted a career, or anything of that kind. I was quite content to be a wife and mother. I married the man I loved, and he’s been a success at his job – and perhaps that’s owing to me a bit too. One can do so much by influence."

Absent in the Spring is the book that Agatha Christie describes as her favourite piece of work - not because it i
...more
Cristiana de Sousa
3.5
Gostei bastante deste livro. Não tinha expectativas nenhumas e acabei por me surpreender. Já sabia que seria uma leitura diferente do que a Agatha nos habituou na maior parte da sua obra. É um livro que nos faz pensar muito em quem somos e como as pessoas nos vêem. Pois existe uma diferença entre o que pensamos que as pessoas pensam sobre quem somos e o que o realmente as pessoas pensam sobre nós. E essa percepção por vezes é totalmente diferente. Apesar de ter gostado de todo o enredo, o fin
...more
Julissa
Jan 25, 2016 Julissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
¡Ah, si! Se había preguntado si no teniendo uno nada más que hacer que reflexionar durante días y días, no llegaría a descubrir cosas ignoradas sobre sí mismo.


Este libro es el retrato perfecto de por qué la gente le teme a la soledad y al silencio... Y es porque se tienen miedo a sí mismos! A descubrirse y entonces darse cuenta de todas las partes oscuras que uno tiene.

Porque entonces, ¿qué se hace después de este descubrimiento? ¿Cómo sigue uno su vida? ¿Se atrevería uno a hacer lo necesario
...more
Ali
Apr 11, 2010 Ali rated it really liked it
Having read so many Agatha Christie novels - I have not (untill now) read any of the Mary Westmacott books. I know from a biography I read recently that they are quite different, not featuring detectives and murders. Her Mary Westmacott novels (of which I believe there are 6) are about crimes of the heart. This one Absent in the spring, I found really good indeed. Middle aged Joan Scudamore is totally isolated, while stranded in a rest house in Iraq, her lonlieness playing on her mind, allows he ...more
Maureen
May 08, 2013 Maureen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Agatha Christie wrote six crime of the heart novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. Absent in the Spring is considered by many to be one of her quiet masterpiece novels. Joan Scudmore has it all; she looks good for her age, has a handsome husband with happy children, a respectable house and a good name, but when she is stuck at a desert outpost on the way back to England she is forced to retrace the past. As the past unravels, Joan feels the cracks in her life reveal themselves till she rea ...more
Kirsten
Apr 12, 2012 Kirsten rated it it was amazing
Shelves: inspirational
This novel has made me introspective. The main character is a smug woman who has detached herself from the realities in her life because she just doesn't want to deal with it.

Dame Agatha Christie, writing as Mary Westmacott, masterfully follows the unfolding of Joan Scudamore's self realization. Joan is stranded at a desert way station while on her way back from visiting her daughter in Baghdad. She runs out of reading materials, and has no diversions whatsoever, and thus is forced to spend some
...more
Anniebooks (Ana)
Acho que este livro acabou de mudar a minha vida.
Eu sabia, desde que comecei este projecto criado pela Joca, que iria adorar participar. Mas o que me está a surpreender mais é que, a cada livro que leio da autora, me apercebo do quanto eu me identifico com as suas personagens, com a sua escrita. Este livro mudou a minha vida, a minha perspectiva. Como as pessoas nos vêem e como nós nos vemos a nós próprios pode nem sempre coincidir. Pensamos sempre que somos pessoas que agradam aqueles que nos
...more
Carolyn
Apr 27, 2010 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: obsessive-reads
Are you who you think you are? This book delves into the life of Joan Scudmore who takes the time to rethink her life. She uncovers unfortunate truths about her perfect life and her own belief of her all-knowing perfection. This was an unsettling book when applied to my own life. Who am I, as others see me? Am I who I think I am?

A marvelous work of fiction from Agatha Christie. Prepare to have your life put under the microscope.
Lulu
Jun 04, 2014 Lulu rated it really liked it
This book was a little disturbing for me. It's about a rather smug woman who has to spend a few days at an isolated middle east desert outpost while waiting for a train, with no one to talk to and nothing to do. She starts reminiscing, and has something of a brief mental breakdown when coming to some conclusions about her life. Much of the writing is stream-of-consciousness style in this short book, easy to read, but powerful in it's effect.

In another review on goodreads, one reader described th
...more
Hayes
May 28, 2010 Hayes rated it really liked it
Very unexpectedly good. Agatha Christie writing as Mary Westmacott.

Nothing actually happens in this book; it's all about self-discovery:

A woman races off from England to the Middle East to help her ailing daughter, and along the way there and back learns about herself. She learns that she is controlling. That she controls others. That she controls herself. That others in her life are not happy. That she is not happy. Sounds dreadful, but somehow it all ties together and I liked Miss Christie's v
...more
Fatima
Oct 08, 2014 Fatima rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, 2014
2.5/5 demasiado introspección para mi.
Sheetal Dash
Sep 06, 2014 Sheetal Dash rated it really liked it
Wow. I listened to this book in a period of a few days while commuting, and couldn't take my mind off it after listening to a little bit each day. I was looking forward to hearing more each day. Although the book isn't a happy story, it is written in a way that makes you wonder what will be revealed next. The main character, Joan, is reflecting on conversations she's had during the course of her life, and it is quite a psychological study. Joan is ignorant about the unhappiness she's created for ...more
Sandhya
Aug 10, 2010 Sandhya rated it liked it
Agatha Christie we all know as the queen of mystery novels. However, the more unknown fact about her is that she wrote 6 novels on love and relationships under the pseudonym - Mary Westmacott. By that time, her reputation as a crime fiction writer was growing and both, the publishers and perhaps even Agatha didn't want to tamper with her set 'persona'. And hence, she took on a different name under which she published these books.

Absent In The Spring tells the story of a smug surburban housewife,
...more
Trudy Pomerantz
Jan 19, 2015 Trudy Pomerantz rated it it was amazing
In my view, this is the best and most personally challenging book that Agatha Christie wrote. Definitely a book worth reading several times and doing some self-examination.

“Shortly after that, I wrote the one book that has satisfied me completely. It was a new Mary Westmacott, the book that I had always wanted to write, that had been clear in my mind. It was the picture of a woman with a complete image of herself, of what she was, but about which she was completely mistaken. Through her own acti
...more
Adrian
Jun 18, 2012 Adrian rated it really liked it
Second in the anthology. Really, really, really excellent. It's the account of a woman who gets stuck somewhere during travel (the equivalent of a layover extended on account of bad weather, except that it's trains, not airplanes) who is given the opportunity for extended self-reflection. You see her flaws and her good points and get to hang out and see if she learns to see her flaws as well and what she chooses to do about it on her return home.

I found it absolutely gripping even though there w
...more
Bruce
Jul 06, 2012 Bruce rated it really liked it
This is a very good "straight" novel by the classic mystery writer. Those who maintain Christie is one of the best writers of the twentieth-century will find more evidence to back up their estimation in this trenchant portrait of a shallow woman suddenly forced to face herself. The story does degenerate somewhat towards the end, exhibiting a bit of the triteness of the typical romance novel (which is how it's sometimes classified), but the first two-thirds or so is a superbly told journey of sel ...more
Rishita
Mar 17, 2016 Rishita rated it liked it
Actual Rating: 3.5
Adriana
Jun 24, 2016 Adriana rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Agatha knows how to write and I find her writing style in this novel very therapeutic and soothing. The words just flow freely and connect with each other creating a very balanced story. What I liked the most about Absent in the Spring is what an amazing job the author did at making the reader doubt about who is telling the truth. Well done!
Trina Dutta
Jun 20, 2016 Trina Dutta rated it liked it
I read this book last month. I got this book as a birthday present from two of my best friends.They surprised me with this book after my exam. I was so surprised since I did not expect this gift. I was really glad that they decided to give me a Mary Westmacott novel.

I’ve read many of Christie’s novels but none by her pseudo name. I started reading this book thinking that it would be a thriller or as usual Christie style detective-crime. But gradually as I turned the pages I found out that this n
...more
Debbie Miller
Jul 06, 2013 Debbie Miller rated it it was amazing
Fascinating story of a middle-aged woman learning the truth about herself through a series of flashbacks. This is my all-time favorite book!
Pip
Jan 19, 2015 Pip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was fantastic and a bit disturbing. This was the first time I've read one of Agatha Christie's non-detective stories, but I will definitely be reading more after this one. It reminded me a bit of a Kazuo Ishiguro novel, as the protagonist looks back and slowly realises that their memories may not be an accurate reflection of how events really happened.

The ending was a bit bleak but not entirely unexpected, in fact it would probably feel unrealistic if it had gone in a different way. A good
...more
Nada
Jun 24, 2016 Nada rated it it was amazing
Oh, what shall I say about this one dear Agatha.. This is the first book I've read for Christie that is not Crime or Mystery-related, but it was still as spectacular as a Christie book should be, nonetheless.
It is not a novel about Crime as we know it but a far-more frightening crime; the crime commited against oneself.
I don't know the reason behind her writing it anonymously.. but the very fact gives me shivers. How close you are to your favorite author that you sometimes see yourself in them
...more
Maria
May 26, 2016 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
A minha estreia com Mary Westmacott

De um ritmo completamente diferente dos seus policiais, Agatha Christie debruça-se sobre a mente humana, de um modo tão compelling(desculpem, mas é a expressão que melhor descreve) que não queria largar o livro.

Esta é a história de Joan Scudamore, uma mulher de solicitador de província, bem inserida socialmente na sua pequena vila de Crayminster, sempre ocupada com as suas obras de beneficência, a casa, o marido Rodney e os seus 3 filhos. Estamos a beira da II
...more
Jane Hoppe
Oct 04, 2014 Jane Hoppe rated it really liked it
Curious to read Agatha Christie’s reputedly more autobiographical* novels, I began with Absent in the Spring, which she wrote in her nom de plume, Mary Westmacott. Since this 1944 novel was written after Christie had traveled to the Middle East, details of her protagonist Joan Scudamore’s arduous travel between England and Baghdad seemed realistic. Stranded at a desert rest house for nearly a week due to heavy rains delaying trains, Joan reflects on her family’s relationships and decisions. Init ...more
Arushi Bhaskar
Feb 10, 2013 Arushi Bhaskar rated it it was amazing
"From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud-pied April, dress'd in all his trim,
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,
That heavy Saturn laugh'd and leap'd with him."
-"Sonnet 98"- William Shakespeare

Poor, poor Joan Scudamore. For all her follies, you cannot help but pity her, not because her life is a lie, but because she will never, ever learn, despite a desert epiphany.

Dame Agatha Christie has said that this was one of the favourite book of hers that she'd written, and quite rig
...more
Chelsea Clark
Sep 19, 2014 Chelsea Clark rated it really liked it
I was strongly persuaded to give this book only two stars, but then I evaluated my feelings and found that the reason I disliked it so much is exactly the same reason it deserves more merit.

Human nature. Now, I know that's Miss Marple's tag, but Agatha Christie seems to be an expert as well. I hated being in Joan's head because it was unorganized and repetitive, and I had never been in the perspective of quite such an oblivious robot. Yet the character was so perfect, as was Rodney and the chil
...more
Haibar Zair
Jul 11, 2014 Haibar Zair rated it it was amazing
I was very young when I read this book, 6th or 7th grade I don't know. I know this is one of the very first books that made me cry. I had this thick sofa over which I used to lie down and dangle my long legs across one end every time I read and I remember curling up and sobbing into the cushions that day.

It makes you feel bad throughout. It makes you feel pathetic. The female character and her shadowed realizations about her failed marital life and everything just make you turn. And the fact th
...more
Eleonora
Leggendo questo libro non mi sono annoiata un attimo. Ho interrotto la lettura solo per mangiare e bere... è stato davvero un sabato pomeriggio interessante.
Siamo tutti un po' Joan, in un modo o nell'altro... E purtroppo.
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