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This Must Be the Place

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  14,423 ratings  ·  1,611 reviews
A dazzling novel from bestselling writer Maggie O'Farrell, winner of the Costa Novel Award—an irresistible love story that crisscrosses continents and time zones as it captures an extraordinary marriage, and an unforgettable family, with wit, humor, and deep affection.

Meet Daniel Sullivan, a man with a complicated life. A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has c
Kindle Edition, 496 pages
Published May 17th 2016 by Tinder Press
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Rose Ann I think she was just a device, a "McGuffin," if you will, to move the story along and show us that Daniel had visited that place with his son Niall. I…moreI think she was just a device, a "McGuffin," if you will, to move the story along and show us that Daniel had visited that place with his son Niall. I found her more interesting, at that point in the story, than Daniel. I found almost everyone in the story more interesting than Daniel and Claudette. Those to navel-gazers bored me silly by the end.

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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,423 ratings  ·  1,611 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book, which is kind of funny because when I first started reading it I wasn't sure if I would even like it. Oh, the writing was brilliant right from the start, but anyone reading my reviews knows how frustrating I find jumping timelines. This book does it alot, the past, the present, the future, sometimes skipping several years and introducing new characters. At the heart this is the story of Claudette and Daniel, fell in love with Daniel in all his maddening humanness, b ...more
Angela M
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I wish I could adequately describe how brilliantly Maggie O'Farrell portrays relationships - these love stories. I was first introduced to Maggie O'Farrell's writing in The Hand That First Held Mine and I was taken at first page and then all over again when I read The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox. There is something about how this woman open her novels , something about the writing that draws me in and then her characters and their stories take over my life for a few days.

What was different wit
Elyse Walters
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story starts off with a BANG....literally a ‘bang’! It was such a strong beginning— twice my cell phone went off - personal calls coming in - I seriously debated about answering. One of those calls - I didn’t pick up.

But then something happened to MY ENJOYMENT- I didn’t understand what was happening. The story changed on me so quickly - new characters were introduced and I found myself resisting reading about them. I was still back with the first story.

So....I did something that worked beau
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
I am a fan of Maggie O' Farrell's novels but this book was all over the place for me and I just didn't come to grips with any of the characters or the constant shifts in time and place.

I find O' Farrells writing normally quirky and engaging but this book left me feeling frustrated the further along I read. I found the story so disjointed that picking up the book felt like a chore and the only reason I did finish the book was because of the prose. I didn't engage with the plot or the characters
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Maggie O’Farrell is seriously talented. I recently read I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death and The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, and now I’ve just finished This Must Be the Place. Her two other books got 5 stars from me, and this one gets a high 4 stars.

The novel focuses on Daniel and Claudette, who are married and have two children together and each have children from prior relationships. Claudette is a former film star escaping her previous life and Daniel is troubled by a few ghos
She's got me in the palm of her hand....

Even though I didn’t grab my pogo stick this time, it was close. This Maggie O’Farrell, oh she’s got me in the palm of her hand. This is the third book of hers that I’ve read in the last couple of months, and it won’t be my last. I was all happy squirmy as I got tangled up in this love story of a linguistics professor, Daniel, and his wife Claudette, a reclusive ex-movie star. As seems to be O’Farrell’s signature, this story jumps back and forth in time, s
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Daniel and Claudette's love story is not an easy journey. He is charming, articulate, joyful and mercurial; she is enchanting, disarming, strong and steadfast, but one thing she is not is disloyal and she will not put up with a man who is. I found their story lovely and sad and heartbreaking.

Powerful emphasis on children and how their lives are effected by loving parents or their opposite is a major part of the author's theme as well. This is not just one love story, it is many, the love of a f
”To all appearances, I am a husband, a father, a teacher, a citizen, but when tilted toward the light I become a deserter, a sham, a killer, a thief. On the surface I am one thing, but underneath I am riddled with holes and caverns, like a limestone landscape.”

Told through multiple intertwined chains of stories that weave through the years 1944 to 2016, this takes you on a virtual tour of various locales on the planet. From Goa, India to Brooklyn, to a remote locale in Donegal, Ireland – which
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: public-library
Nuanced choices and working at cross-purposes.  The redemption of being loved - this is when a person is at his or her best.  The particular melancholy of reaching the end of a story . . . in life, with death, even with the closing of the cover of a book.  I wasn't ready to let these characters go.  Brava!
Dec 15, 2016 added it

An odd sort of book. It’s more like a collection of stories than your typical novel. Each chapter is told by a different character and from a different time period. The stories all tend to revolve around Daniel Sullivan, a linguistics professor living in Ireland with his second wife, an ex-actress in hiding. The stories coalesce to fill in Daniel’s story. The chapter titles keep you on track as to time and place, so you aren't confused.

Daniel is not a sympathetic character. He’s a womanizer, al
Helene Jeppesen
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful book about life and the struggles we all have to face. What I particularly liked about it is that it jumps in perspective, time and place. At one point, we're at a crossroads in rural Ireland, at another point, we find ourselves in America 20 years ago.
"This Must Be the Place" makes for a puzzling, however very much intriguing tale about a movie star who once disappeared, about marriage, and about identity, guilt, and doubt. I loved it a lot and I'm thrilled I decided to gi
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed-bookbag
Maggie O’Farrell’s globe-trotting seventh novel opens in 2010 with Daniel Sullivan, an American linguistics professor in Donegal. Spreading outward from Ireland and reaching into every character’s past and future, this has all O’Farrell’s trademark insight into family and romantic relationships, as well as her gorgeous prose and precise imagery. The disparate locations and the title suggest our nomadic modern condition. It’s the widest scope she has attempted yet; that’s both a good and a bad th ...more
Susan Johnson
May 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most thoughtful, literate books I've read in a long time. The story of a man, Daniel Sullivan, reveals both the good and the bad sides of him, the joys and sorrows and what motivates him. The story is divided into chapters narrated by many different people who have impacted his life in so many ways. The book also skips throughout time from 1944 to 2016 but is quite easy to follow. What emerges is a well developed story of a man.

When Daniel meets Claudette he has one major fai
Jul 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is above all a love story. Very heartwarming, and suspenseful and a story of family, secrets, and forgiveness... I just loved Daniel Sullivan even with all of his flaws, he still had a huge heart and sense of humor.
Betsy Robinson
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Maggie O’Farrell is addictive and with this, the second book I’ve read after her remarkable I Am, I AM, I Am, I’m happily so addicted that it is my intention to read every book she’s written and every future book she writes.

The writing is delectable, the craft impeccable, and what in other hands would be a women’s fiction relationship soap opera becomes in, O’Farrell’s elegant artistic fingers, a pitch-perfect human epic about love and loss and mistakes and trying.
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“She wasn’t going to look at him again, no, she wasn’t….. Then she did look and the same sensations hit again, like a row of dominoes toppling into each other: the towering sense of recognition, the disbelief that she doesn’t somehow know him, the ridiculousness that they do not know each other, the impossibility of them not seeing each other again”

This Must Be The Place is the seventh novel by British author, Maggie O’Farrell. Claudette Wells is Daniel Sullivan’s second wife. Even after several
4.25 Beautiful Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟.25

A fantastic book club read! Review to come ....
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book so wonderful that I have read it twice, literally, back to back. Taking us all over the world and over all different time periods into the random lives surrounding two particular people. Marvellous. Bloody marvellous. Read it.
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
Native New Yorker Daniel, married to eccentric, reclusive ex-film star Claudette, lives in the wilds of Ireland with their two young children. Daniel, however, has an ex-wife and two kids living in California, kids he hasn't seen since he walked out on them years ago. He decides to return to New York, his first visit for several years, to attend his father's 90th birthday party. He's doing this with a certain amount of reluctance, but whilst there, why not just nip across to California and meet ...more
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Maggie O’Farrell’s novels, so was thrilled to have the chance to read her latest. This novel encompasses several characters and various time periods and viewpoints. However, central to the book is Daniel Sullivan, a New Yorker transplanted to Donegal who teaches linguistics at the University of Belfast and lives with the reclusive actress Claudette Wells.

Daniel has already had two major failed relationships in his life by the time he meets Claudette; including a bitter divorce which sees
The latest book by Maggie O'Farrell, THIS MUST BE THE PLACE brings together a host of gorgeously imagined people, locations meticulously described and the interwoven stories of combustion and cooling, invincible hopes and forlorn fraying to deliver an exquisitely impassioned novel.

The characters are larger than life, and you cannot help but falling in love with their beauty and frailties. Claudette, the gamin and ethereal reclusive movie star; Daniel, a rumpled handsome linguist, oddly inarticu
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This Must Be the Place is so much more than a love story between two adults. Parental love, love of place, chance encounters, the corrosiveness of guilt, deceit. forgiveness and disappointment are elements found in varying degrees in the myriad characters. How all these players fit together in such a satisfying way is due only to the skillful writing of O'Farrell. Her command of the language, insightfulness, and wit left me awed and delighted. I was in the hands of a master!

Great writing is, for
Peter Boyle
A chance encounter. Orbits collide and you run into the most alluring stranger. A certain dizziness takes hold, a breathlessness. There is an instant connection - from their easy smile and twinkling eyes, they seem happy to be in your company too. You suddenly need to know everything about this person you've never met before, you want to tell them things you've never told anybody else. Your heart is pounding - are you brave enough to take things further? Or will you slouch away and spend the res ...more
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Surely this is the book Maggie O’Farrell was meant to write. I’ve read and enjoyed Instructions for a Heatwave, The Hand That First Held Mine, and The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox. But THIS book…oh, this book.

The hub of it is Daniel Sullivan, a damaged American linguist professor, who chances upon a reclusive film star Claudette Wells and her son – a stutterer – while collecting his grandfather’s ashes in Ireland. Not unlike the book Olive Kitteridge, the book proceeds in chapters of interlockin
K.D. Winchester
I can't even breathe right now. Will elaborate later. SOOOO GOOODDD..... *cries softly to self with joy*
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Maggie O'Farrell is such a good writer, she can get away with anything. I wrote a note when I was only 20% in to this novel that I loved the way O'Farrell was able to pull off going on tangents from the main narrative and circling back around again. Well, what I didn't know then was that the whole book would be not just occasional tangents but more like time travel with each chapter landing me in another year, decade and place. Not only that, but the narrator also changed with each chapter. I do ...more
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A magnificent story about reaching the crossroads and selecting your direction. Daniel and Claudette are a married couple - here they stand at a turning point. Their stories are told separately and then together, moving back and forth in time, bringing them to a place of decision making. Each time they choose a direction with mixed amounts of integrity and minimal foresight. Decisions are made at different stages of their lives with an understanding, at that exact moment, of who they are and wha ...more
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read and enjoyed other books by Maggie O’Farrell (previously my favourite being ‘The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox’) but This Must be the Place is something rather special. It might be a little discombobulating at first to be taken across different decades and continents within just a few pages but even though the characters and timelines seem random, there is a structure bonding the story together, like invisible glue, so that even though you may be in 1989 in one chapter and then in 2010 t ...more
For my seventh and final read of the 2018 'Reading Ireland' challenge, I thought I'd try an author I've heard a lot about.  I'd never read any of her work before, but after this one Maggie O'Farrell will be on my list of favourite authors.

First of all I'd like to warn potential readers that this is a novel that has many characters, all fully developed. It also has several time lines which jump back and forth.  Some will not care for this.  Although a few times I found it disconcerting, I found t
Cynthia Corral
Talk about difficult to rate.
It's well written, it grabbed me from the beginning, I was really excited about this book as I read more and more.
And then it all just started dragging for me.

I don't ever mind books that go back and forth in time, and I actually *love* books that switch narrators often. But switching narrators AND going back and forth and front and back and sideways in time, this was a little more difficult.

In the end, I don't understand the point of the time flipping. There were no
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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.
“What redemption there is in being loved: we are always our best selves when loved by another. Nothing can replace this.” 12 likes
“If she was liquid, she would drink her; if she was a gas, she would breathe her; if she was a pill, she would down her'; if she was a dress, she would wear her; a plate, she would lick her clean.” 6 likes
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