Book of the Week

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O'Farrell. Photo: PA Photo/Tinder Press.
This Must Be The Place by Maggie O'Farrell. Photo: PA Photo/Tinder Press.

This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell.

Northern Irish author Maggie O’Farrell has, since she wrote the heart-pulverizing After You’d Gone, revealed a knack for capturing the bald truths of marriage in all their spiky, broken, loving fragments.

This Must Be The Place is just as well executed, the story of alcoholic Daniel and his sprawling, fractured family, punctuated heavily by the pull of his enigmatic and reclusive former-movie star wife, Claudette.

It leaps from New York to Ireland to France and Scandinavia as Daniel’s world is shattered, first by an ex-girlfriend’s voice caught on the radio, and second, by a pitilessly fired bullet.

O’Farrell see-saws between the past and present, tugging on the strands that make up the weave of his whiskey-soaked predicament.

It is deeply affecting, most especially when exploring the meaning of fatherhood and the devastating fault lines caused by grief.

But it’s also glamorous, subtle, knowing, and stuffed to bursting with feeling.