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After You'd Gone
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After You'd Gone

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  4,846 ratings  ·  481 reviews
Maggie O'Farrell's groundbreaking debut: a stunning, best-selling story of wrenching love and grief. A distraught young woman boards a train at King's Cross to return to her family in Scotland. Six hours later, she catches sight of something so terrible in a mirror at Waverley Station that she gets on the next train back to London. AFTER YOU'D GONE follows Alice's mental j ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 1st 2001 by Headline Review (first published January 1st 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paul
NOT A REVIEW OF AFTER YOU'D GONE, WHICH WAS OKAY BUT WENT IN ONE EAR AND OUT THE OTHER

I realise goodreads is for books but I found a piece of beautiful writing about the vain search for modern romance in a movie called Kissing Jessica Stein. The first part of this movie is all about a thirty-ish woman in New York who can't meet the right guy, fairly usual but quite funny too. Then it takes off in a different direction, which I'll refrain from commenting on or you'll raise your eyebrows, I know y
...more
Sharlene
You know that rule some people have about reading 50 pages of a book and deciding whether to put it down or continue with it? Well I’m not sure if this would have made it if I were a stickler to that rule. Actually, writing that, I’m not sure exactly which page it was that made me realize I liked this book. But I do know that I mostly muddled my way through the first lot of pages. The narration confused me a little. Multiple points of view, different periods of time. It was as if the pieces of t ...more
Kris
This book would have gotten five stars if the author hadn't just stopped writing on the last page. It was as if she'd hit her desired word count & literally stopped typing.

This is the story of Alice Raikes who lives in London. She takes a spontaneous trip to Scotland to visit her sisters & is in a coma in the hospital later that day after being hit by a car. The two questions underlying the book are 1)what did she see in Scotland that caused her to leave so abruptly? and 2)was being hit
...more
M
Maggie O'Farrel is a great discovery - thanks Khay - this book was similar to Esme (which was both impressive and unimpressive - on the one hand, it's amazing to see how someone can be so crafty at developing multiple narratives and plot lines, but then when it happens twice you kind of feel like even something unique can be a formula) in that, without paining the reader (ie, Time Travlers Wife), the author delivers a story that is both captivating and mysterious, the pieces coming to light slow ...more
Cat
"Sliding between different levels of consciousness, Alice listens to the conversations around her, and begins sifting through recollections of her past, and of a recently curtailed love affair."

Alice is in a coma for most of the book, and you learn about her and her family and life through her recollections and various conversations. Sometimes it's out of chronological order but it never feels confusing or irritating. I had a tear in my eye at the end of this book. What a fantastic debut novel t
...more
JChipol
This book is one that was recommended to me, and one that ordinarily I may not have picked up from the bookshelves. It is sold as a weepy 'chick -lit' kind of book, and one that demands that you have the Kleenex on hand. It was a heart wrenching story, that's true, but written with sensitivity, beauty and unrelenting tragedy.

Ultimately the novel is about a young woman, Alice Raikes, who, after a short and mysterious visit to her hometown in Scotland, returns to London only to step out into traff
...more
Vero
Yo begin i must clarify that this is my favorite book of all. I read it the first time when i was in high school and have re read it a few times ever since. I just love the writing type of Maggie O'farrell and for a first novel this is amazing.

The book is about Alice a woman who at the beginning of the novel is hit by a car (which might be an accident or suicide attempt) and she is now in a coma. The book tells us about her life from childhood and about her family. You have parts from the past
...more
~~D✡ni ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~~
I almost gave up on this one. The first third of the book meanders so much, the effect is more irritation than confusion. The various scenes from Alice's childhood were unnecessary, as were the asides about how her parents met, her grandmother's boarding-school years, etc. The alternating points of view and shifts in time also created a jarring, schizophrenic narrative that reads like a series of vignettes vs. a unified narrative.

The book was redeemed only by the central plot point, which hinges
...more
K
Nov 24, 2008 K rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who are satisfied with a good read even if it isn't a great book
Recommended to K by: M
Shelves: marysues, chicklit
Authors who love their characters too much – on the next Oprah.

It happens to be a pet peeve of mine when authors seem to live out their narcissistic fantasies by creating mythically attractive characters who inspire desperate passion in all who see them. Aside from everything else, in my experience it’s completely unrealistic – women who are that universally attractive (and it’s a very narrow category) usually intimidate many, if not most, of the guys who would be chasing after them. Then there
...more
MK
Here is what you need to know about Maggie O'Farrell's After You'd Gone, it is a stunning novel that left my heart broken and my spirit stirred. O'Farrell exquisitely captures the essence of love and what it truly means to feel that emotion for another person.

Not only is her character development an A+, but the way in which she weaves this story in and out of past and present is the essential component to the bittersweet ending we are given. It has been a long while since an author has been able
...more
Stephanie Griffin
I made a huge mistake in choosing to read AFTER YOU'D GONE, by Maggie O'Farrell. I'm not a fan of family dramas and here we have not one, not two, but three generations of familial bickering. I was initially intrigued by the book description where Alice, the youngest of the generations, "witnesses something so shocking that she insists on returning to London immediately." I wanted to know what she saw. Unfortunately, we don't know what she saw even when she sees it. I read 165 pages before I gav ...more
Cara
4.5 stars.

I really, really liked this book... a lot! It was well written in a unique style and was very beautifully poetic at times (thought not cryptic and difficult to understand at all).

It moved a bit slow for me at first, but I think this was a result of it's structure. Since the author jumps around from past & present AND writes each chapter from a different character's perspective, it took me a a while to get used to it's story flow. It also made it more difficult to get a sense of th
...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘The day she tried to kill herself, she realized winter was coming again.’

Alice Raikes is a woman in love who has recently suffered a terrible tragedy. Alice travels to Scotland to see her sisters Kirsty and Beth, and almost immediately returns to London where she steps into the traffic and is taken to hospital in a coma.

‘Life’s cruel like that – it gives you no clues.’

What happened in Edinburgh that caused Alice to return to London? Was she hit by the car by accident, or was it a suicide attemp
...more
Valerie
My second read by Ms. O'Farrell (The Hand That First Held Mine being my first) and I just love her. Some might find parts of this book melo-dramatic, but I loved it. Granted, the description of the main character's relationship with her husband leaves out the "downs" that accompany the "ups", but you can't help but adore John. I don't know if it's because I'm single, tired, overworked or read it on a plane, but I wept like a baby during certain passages (and got a free vodka from the airline ste ...more
Rosamund
Sep 17, 2011 Rosamund is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I loved 'The Hand That First Held Mine' and this has many of the same qualities. Maggie O'Farrell is so assured and such a good story teller. .
Lindsey
This book was stupid. I couldn't finish it. It was a bad romance novel. That sucks, because I want to know how it ends, but I'm never going to know.
Anne
hmmm, really engaging. actually mentioned it to others as it manages shifts in voice and timeshifts without making it obvious to the reader. The reader has to "keep up" and it works. A little confusing at the beginning because of time shifts, a barrage of similarly named introduction of characters, similarly named through generations. Liked it due to writers ability to capture being different, her sense of loss (read it) and her reactions to all the above. If I had written it, I wouldn't have sp ...more
Zhi Xin Lee
AS I WAS SAYING, since I foolishly forgot to copy it before I pressed 'save' even though I was reminding myself beforehand as my internet was sucking, I cried a lot despite myself and despite recognising the same sort of thread in TTW. Now in the review that didn't get through I wrote stuff about timing and TTW's interesting premise, but since this is a rewrite I don't feel like going through that again. Anyhow, level of detail is superb as usual; plot is somewhat conventional, to the point wher ...more
Sandy
From the opening pages, it is clear that Alice is suffering from a double whammy of traumatic heartache but we don't know why. The novel unfolds in an interesting fashion of perspective changes and flashbacks, deftly handled, to reveal, piece by piece, the history, love story, secrets and tragedy that defines Alice and explains her emotional state and suicidal behaviour. O'Farrell's writing is superb. I was deeply drawn in. Alice is an intense, complex character that is rendered fully dimensiona ...more
Amy
I really enjoyed Maggie O'Farrell's newest release so I was interested in going back and reading some of her earlier novels. This was her first novel and, honestly, it read like a first novel. I thought that there were moments of brilliance in the newer novel but I never really connected with this one. I tried to love it. I wanted to love it. But, ultimately, it was just good. Certainly not great. The writing wasn't nearly as wonderful in this book. It was fine writing but not great writing. May ...more
Winna
After You'd Gone has been on my shelf for quite sometime, but I haven't really made time to read it until 3 days ago. The synopsis attracted me, and I got this from Bookmooch years ago.

It's one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. It's definitely unconventional, the story going back and forth in time, with no permanent narrators. The point of view switches from first and third person, and oddly I find that refreshing because that's also how I once wrote my novel drafts. It sometimes valid
...more
Tara
Mar 29, 2010 Tara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who are already fans of O'Farrell
If I could give this book 4.5 stars, I would. It was a poignant tale with some of the most realistic description of the human condition this reader has ever seen.

In O'Farrell's trademark style, the book jumps around in time and perspectives. In her other 2 novels (My Lover's Lover & The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox) the jumping around was not too distracting but in After You'd Gone I found myself having to read back sometimes to keep track of time frames and characters. It was a little more
...more
Katrina
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Charlotte E
I took this book with me to France and my God am I glad I did! Our plane on the way home got cancelled and I ended up stuck in a departure lounge with no shops/any entertain apart from this book for about 7 hours! This really was the perfect book to have with me! The writing was brilliant; at no point did I find it jarring like I sometimes do with certain authors. I'd never read anything by Maggie O'Farrell before and can't actually remember how the book came to be in my possession....possibly f ...more
Jillwilson
This is a better book than the other Maggie O’Farrell novel I read recently which is surprising as this is her first novel. She clearly likes to write about headstrong girls who are at odds with their family. And about family secrets. And people at the end of their tether. This novel is about grief. She does it well – it really made me think about the impact when you lose someone you love deeply, madly truly. Characters are a little one-dimensional but she uses structure well, effectively starti ...more
Janet Lynch
I really liked this book although it was pretty sad. It was a little confusing at times as it jumped between four time periods and the voices of four or five characters. There were a few times that I had to read a paragraph several times, trying to figure out which voice it was. Mostly though it flowed back and forth through time seamlessly. I think this book would lend itself well to a sequel....I would love to follow Alice for a bit longer!
Nicole
Having now finished my fourth Maggie O'Farrell book I can confidently say she is one of my favorite authors. I love the way her stories come together - how there are always different narratives and time sequences woven throughout the story. I have read plenty of books where this type of writing leaves you more confused than anything, but her writing pulls it together beautifully.

This particular story about Alice Raike was heartbreaking yet triumphant. The story unfolding like layers of an onion
...more
Laura
"She looks dead, Beth thinks, Alice looks dead." The next page: "'What's with the guy Mike?' Beth asks. ... "'Well, is he in love with her or something? Typical of Alice - people still falling in love with her despite the small fact that she's in a coma.'"

This book's protagonist, Alice, has the dubious honor of being the most Mary Sue-ish character, outside of bad fan fiction, that I've ever read.

The blurb on the dust jacket was extremely intriguing, but the book didn't live up to its promise. S
...more
Gerri Wayland
Oh my gosh! This was the best book. But someone else needs to tell me how they interpreted the ending!!! I have to go look if she's written other books.
Flo
This is a well-planned, beautifully written story of 2 people who meet and fall in love and how their families try to tear them apart. Alice Raikes has always been different from her 2 sisters and we learn why through a series of flashbacks and flashforwards of her life in Scotland. She meets John Friedman and they fall in love and despite the disappointment of her family and his--something that almost causes them to break up--make a life together. I liked the vignettes of Alice's life in Scotla ...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
What's The Name o...: SOLVED. Woman in coma, set in London or Edinburgh [s] 3 27 Apr 29, 2014 04:40PM  
Did Alice live or die? 28 256 Apr 29, 2014 05:08AM  
What did Alice see in the mirror in the train station? 4 84 Sep 03, 2013 01:48PM  
Bokt goodreads gr...: Maggie O'Farrel - Voorbij de liefde 1 9 Aug 05, 2011 06:16AM  
  • Four Letters of Love
  • The World of a Few Minutes Ago
  • Once in a House on Fire
  • The Physics of Imaginary Objects
  • Free-Falling
  • Swimming at Night
  • Web of Angels
  • 101 Poems That Could Save Your Life: An Anthology of Emotional First Aid
  • The Photograph
  • Brother of the More Famous Jack
  • Notes from an Exhibition
  • Волкодав (Волкодав, #1)
  • The Things We Never Said
  • The Protected
  • One-Hit Wonder
  • If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things
  • Emotional Geology
  • Original Bliss
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Maggie O'Farrell (born 1972, Coleraine Northern Ireland) is a British author of contemporary fiction, who features in Waterstones' 25 Authors for the Future. It is possible to identify several common themes in her novels - the relationship between sisters is one, another is loss and the psychological impact of those losses on the lives of her characters.
More about Maggie O'Farrell...
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox The Hand That First Held Mine Instructions for a Heatwave The Distance Between Us My Lover's Lover

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“What are you supposed to do with all the love you have for somebody if that person is no longer there? What happens to all that leftover love? Do you suppress it? Do you ignore it? Are you supposed to give it to someone else?” 63 likes
“I don't believe in fate. I don't believe in cushioning your insecurities with a system of belief that tells you 'Don't worry. This may be your life but you're not in control. There is something or someone looking out for you -- it's already organised.' It's all chance and choice, which is far more frightening.” 23 likes
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