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After You'd Gone

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  10,700 ratings  ·  939 reviews
Alice Raikes takes a train from London to Scotland to visit her family, but when she gets there she witnesses something so shocking that she insists on returning to London immediately. A few hours later, Alice is lying in a coma after an accident that may or may not have been a suicide attempt. Alice's family gathers at her bedside and as they wait, argue, and remember, lo ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 26th 2002 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2000)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  10,700 ratings  ·  939 reviews

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Angela M
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
From the beginning I wanted to know what the awful thing was that Alice sees that causes her to leave Scotland so abruptly after just arriving for a family visit. She’s in a coma, after being hit by a car as she reflects back on her life, her loves, her family, as she grieves a loss. The narrative moves back and forth from past to present, from first to third person, and the reflections are not just Alice’s. Maggie O’Farrell does this phenomenal thing by moving back and forth between different p ...more
I could probably read O’Farrell’s grocery list and be mesmerized—I just can’t keep my eyes off her words. They make me relaxed and excited at the same time. This is the fourth book I’m read of hers in the past couple of months, which says something, because I like to sit down with a variety of writers. Once in a blue moon, I’ll read two books by the same author in a year, but no more.

In her other books, O’Farrell makes these gigantic, run-on lists telling us what’s happening. I just love that s
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xx2018-completed
In praise of this novel and writer, Colum McCann wrote: ”A psychological meditation on the issues of family and love . . . written in crisp, clear, unadorned prose. Maggie O’Farrell is certainly a voice to look out for.”

Prophetic words indeed, as we all now know. This was Maggie O’Farrell’s first novel, published in 2000. In the Author’s Notes at the end she describes how this book started with a couple of paragraphs, and was written piecemeal over a period of a few years while holding down
“Why isn't life better designed so it warns you when terrible things are about to happen? I saw something. Something awful.”

I didn’t realise this was Maggie O’Farrell’s debut until after I’d read it. I’ve enjoyed other books of hers and always wanted to read more. Her female characters are complex and flawed and believable. I don’t remember any of the men, but perhaps that’s just me.

Alice is in a coma after being hit by a car, with her mother Ann and devoted dad, Ben, at her bedside. We see a
Paul Bryant
Sep 28, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels

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
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun)
This book wrecked me. It follows a woman named Alice who’s in a coma after stepping into traffic, and her family doesn’t know whether or not it was a suicide attempt. The narrative jumps around to all different periods of her life, focusing on her relationship with her lover, John – a relationship that we learn has ended, but we don’t know why. We also get snippets of her mother and grandmother’s lives.
The writing overall wasn’t my favorite. Mostly I thought there were too many adjectives (she n
Oct 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, library
This is Maggie O’Farrell’s debut novel and the 4th I’ve read by her. I only read her for the first time last year, I don’t know why I’d never come across her before because she is a wonderful writer.
After you’d gone is about Alice, a young Scottish woman living in London. The story jumps backwards and forwards in time, through points of view, and Alice in first person. It could be confusing but somehow it isn’t, it just made me want to read quicker so I could join all the threads.
It’s main theme
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
I feel as though a cloud has been lifted, now that I've finished this book. That's not to say I didn't like it, but Maggie O'Farrell manages to create such an intense atmosphere, I felt almost exhausted reading it.
I feel i am giving an unfair impression of this book. It's a mix of mystery, thriller, romance... and I cannot possibly assign it to a single genre.
Alice, the central figure in this story, ends up in a coma after witnessing a mysterious incident when she goes to visit her family.
Tori Clare
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I didn't really have time to read this book. So I gobbled it up in two days! Isn't that the power of any great book - that reading becomes compulsive as you find yourself sucked into the story regardless of time constraints? It's testament to Maggie O'Farrell's skill as a writer. She cast a line and reeled me in during the opening paragraph. No hint of a dull start or laborious scene setting. The ride begins on line one. When I'd finished it last night, I glanced at the rating on Amazon, out of ...more
May 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
Sep 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This one was depressing. Accurate in its portrayal of grief. Above average wordcraft but this is the one book of hers that, to me, became a trudge read. Too much frenetic time and narrator hopping for my taste.

Despite all, she encapsulates emotional climates superbly here. Tense and stressful (eternally sad or depressed) over all possible types of happy or joyful states in an exhausting miasma!
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ 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
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: grief, ebooks
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 by a car
Liza Perrat
Aug 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'd forgotten I'd read this book years ago and bought it again, but enjoyed it just as much second time around. A page-turning read full of mystery, suspense, love and loss, in the most gorgeous, lyrical prose. This was Maggie O'Farrell's debut, and I can certainly see why she became a best-seller! ...more
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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. . ...more
Jan 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Stephanie Griffin
Feb 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
Apr 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
"After You'd Gone," is a gracefully written novel, fast-paced, yet contemplative - about love, and family and grief. I'm still thinking about the ending - I think it is hopeful. ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

The mystery around the storyline sounds so promising: MC sees something shocking and a few moments later she’s had an accident (which might’ve been a suicide attempt) that gets her in a coma. However, this book turned out to be more psychological novel/family drama than mystery/thriller. Although those kind of books can be very interesting, this one was rather boring. The author keeps switching from past to present and every moment in between, and although Alice is supposedly “drifting thro
Nov 19, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Jennifer (JC-S)
Jan 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
‘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
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
House of Books
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this years and years ago.
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm sad and shocked.It is that kind of thrillers with no happy end.It is a beautifully written book. ...more
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, family
Tremendous stuff as always by this author.
Jun 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2010
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
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Did Alice live or die? 31 455 Jan 21, 2020 06:02PM  
Beware spoiler ... 2 34 Mar 04, 2018 01:14AM  
What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Woman in coma, set in London or Edinburgh [s] 3 50 Apr 29, 2014 04:40PM  
What did Alice see in the mirror in the train station? 3 145 Sep 03, 2013 01:48PM  
Bokt goodreads gr...: Maggie O'Farrel - Voorbij de liefde 1 13 Aug 05, 2011 06:16AM  

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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

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