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My Lover's Lover [Paperback]

Maggie O'Farrell
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

6 Jan 2003

Maggie O'Farrell's second novel is an intense, unnerving and passionate story of betrayal, loss and love, with all the frisson and psychological intensity of REBECCA.

When Lily moves into Marcus's flat and plunges headlong into a relationship, she must contend not merely with the disapproval of flatmate Aidan, but with a more intangible, hostile presence. Could it be that Sinead, Marcus's ex, is trying to communicate with her? When Lily begins to 'see' Sinead, first about the flat, and then on the streets of London, she must question not merely her sanity, but whether the man she loves is someone she can, or indeed ought, to live with at all.


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My Lover's Lover + The Distance Between Us + After You'd Gone
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Review; New Ed edition (6 Jan 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747268177
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747268178
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Maggie O'Farrell is the author of five novels, After You'd Gone, My Lover's Lover, The Distance Between Us, which won a Somerset Maugham Award, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox and The Hand That First Held Mine. Born in Northern Ireland, Maggie grew up in Wales and Scotland. She lives in London with her husband and two children.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Maggie O'Farrell was heralded as a major new writer with her debut novel, After You'd Gone. And here she is with My Lover's Lover, demonstrating again her extraordinary talent. The coda to the novel's final part is Evelyn Waugh's "To know and love one other human being is the root of all wisdom". It's the choices and chances, the compromises and delusions, made in the search for love that preoccupy O'Farrell's central characters. The setting is 30-something London, New York, and rural China. Lily and Marcus meet at a gallery opening; almost the day after, they're sharing his chic loft, and soon after that, his bed. But if this sounds like chick-lit, any similarities end here. Narrated in four parts, O'Farrell moves adeptly from third to first person, from present to past to future.

Through Lily's account in the first section, a claustrophobic fear pulsates: she is haunted by Marcus's previous lover, Sinead, who seems to be everywhere--"The flat seems sticky with Sinead's fingerprints. [Lily] doesn't know what to do." But according to Marcus, Sinead "is no longer with us". On every page, O'Farrell's transcription of the body as register of the emotions, of fear and desire, is breathtaking. Language dissects and insinuates; revelations unfurl and double back. Sinead's incredulity at Marcus's being "not exactly faithful" and Marcus's old friend Aidan's consternation at his own secret longings are described with such tactility, such spare suggestiveness that these lovers' tales take on a brooding, yet haphazard quality. O'Farrell is an insightful and passionate chronicler of human emotions. It's compulsive and thrilling stuff. --Ruth Petrie --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

A quietly dramatic dissection of the way past loves can haunt the present (The Daily Telegraph)

...an emotional whirlwind, all passionate yearnings, raw pain and messy truths; powerful in nailing the complications of love without missing it out the power of the emotions involved (The Scotsman)

This Rebecca-esque ghost story puts at its heart the gnawing insecurities that any act of intimacy soon invites (The Independent)

O'Farrell's writing has a crystalline precision of idiom - there isn't one image that fails to ignite recognition (Independent on Sunday)

O'Farrell has honourably equalled the success of her first novel, After You'd Gone, with a story that is certainly as absorbing - and just as beautifully written (Sunday Express)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good idea but a poor ending 11 May 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I loved 'After You'd Gone' and couldn't wait to read this one. The basic idea is good - the ex-lover who continues to haunt the present. However, it soon becomes clear that the main character has a very creative imagination and this central thread is left hanging at the end, leaving the reader with more questions than answers. Whereas 'After You'd Gone' caught the wrenching agony of loss, this novel merely describes it.
For all its weaknesses this is quite a good read and I suspect there is a lot better to come from this novelist.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I spent a lazy Sunday afternoon completely engrossed in this book, and must say I am surprised at some of the reviews on here as I thought it was fantastic!

The story begins with Lily moving in with a man called Marcus who is renting out a room in his converted flat. He is boyish and charming, but deeply affected by the break-up of his relationship with Sinead. Although Lily and Marcus become lovers, Lily cannot escape the presence of Sinead. It is so overpowering that Lily is able to 'see' her and smell her perfume, which makes Lily too nervous to be in the place alone. Although Marcus seems sincere, Lily finds that he is still obsessed by Sinead and this forces Lily's curiosity to grow into a an encompassing quest for the truth.

This is the first of Maggie O'Farrell's books that I have read and I found it to be an absorbing, haunting novel detailing the sometimes destructive power of love and the painful memories tied up with old relationships. Farrell's writing shows a great depth of knowledge into the human psyche. However, I like other readers did find Lily hard work to begin with, I couldn't empaphise with her and found her to be quite shallow and tactless and cringed when she kept putting her foot in it. I felt that Sinead was the most powerful character in the novel, she had real strength and power and I found myself empaphising with her more than Lily. Apart from that small niggle though the novel just kept unraveling in a dreamlike way consistently revealing more facets of this sparkling novel. It is full of twists and turns, many of which I saw coming and others were a surprise.

I cannot wait to buy Maggie O'Farrell's first novel as I have seen excellent reviews of that one...
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting 19 Mar 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I really can't agree with those reviwers who criticise this book because I loved it, even to the point of rushing home from work just to read a few more chapters! I have not, however, read the author's first novel, 'After You'd Gone' (which I understand is really good) and so perhaps, because I did not subconciously compare it with this one, I enjoyed for itself. I found the story not to be haunting in a creepy sort of way, but in the sense that it evoked the atmosphere of a love that lingers and refuses to leave, even after one of the lovers has left. Lily moves in with Marcus, who is boyish and irresistable, but he is still deeply affected by the break-up of his 5-year relationship with Sinead. Although Lily and Marcus become lovers, Lily cannot escape the presence of Sinead in the converted warehouse she shares with Marcus. Sinead's presence is so overpowering that Lily is able to 'see' her and smell her perfume, which makes Lily too nervous to be in the place alone. Although Marcus seems sincere, Lily finds that he is still obsessed by Sinead and constantly phones her, asking her to come back. Unable to stand the uncertainty, Lily tracks Sinead down and begs her to tell the truth about why she left Marcus. Upon hearing Sinead's story, Lily begins to see Marcus in a different light, until she is forced to face the truth about their own relationship. This is a story of love, betrayal, friendship and trust and (unlike a previous reviewer) I found the ending to be perfectly clear and also very satisfying. In all, I found this novel to be very tender and thought-provoking and it lingered in my mind for a long time after I had finished it.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars well written, keeps you guessing 7 Jan 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I really enjoyed this book and am surprised at the mixed reviews it has recieved. I have not read Maggie O Farrell's first book but after reading her second i will search out 'after you'd gone' as i feel hungry for more novels by this author. I admit it seemed a little strange to jump so suddenly half way through the book but i saw it as a chance to get to know the other characters a little more. Personaly i would recommend this book to others as i enjoyed it so much i couldnt put it down.
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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant, haunting follow-up 4 April 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I was almost too scared to read this book! I loved her first novel, After you'd Gone, so much I was worried I wouldn't like this one as much.
But it's another beautiful, heart-breaking, gut-wrnching read. It's not so similar to After You'd Gone that you miss the people in the first book, but it's similar enough to still love it.
It's in three parts. The first part centres around Lily and what starts out as a slightly unhealthy interest in her lover's ex, Sinead. O'Farrell builds up the idea that Sinead is haunting Lily and, just like After You'd Gone, she pulls the rug out from under your feet just as soon as you think you know what's happening.
It didn't make me cry, like the first novel did, but it scared me and gripped me and thrilled me. It's a fantastic read and if you've ever loved someone but felt a bit unsure of them - this is the book for you.
Hurry up with the next one, Maggie!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
This is the only book I have read by Maggie O'Farrell that disappointed. It failed to engage and the threads are never pulled together. By the end, I had stopped caring.
Published 1 month ago by Jo Peters
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and confusing
I have just read 'the hand that first held mine' - which was brilliant. so i was looking fwd to reading My lovers lover. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Susan Benjamin
3.0 out of 5 stars Love Maggie o Farrell but this wasn't great
I did enjoy this one but not as much as her other books. The ghostly presence wasn't convincing. I was not as impressed with it. I love the way she writes though
Published 5 months ago by Jackie Hughes
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good as her other books.
This was pretty good really, but after the excellence of the others it simply wasn't as good. A little too strange and mysterious with too many loopholes.
Published 6 months ago by Pastispast
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother
Read this for our book group and I while I wasn't rushing to read it I was not concerned as I had read another Maggie O'Farrell book (the hand that first held mine) and liked it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by C. Ronald
5.0 out of 5 stars my lover's lover
A very imaginative story and beautifully written, I love the way she describes every day things into moving images that you have felt yourself but have never thought you would read... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Gill Tree
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful
I have not read any of Maggie O'Farrell's other books and I won't be if this is anything to go by.
I really don't understand how this has so many good reviews. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Dilemma
2.0 out of 5 stars Too many questions!
I'm normally a fan, but this one just didn't work as well as usual. Although well written (as ever!) I just didn't get the story. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Bookworm
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
Another spellbinder. I have read most of this authors books. Slightly dissapointed that the theme at the beginning isnt really explained at the end?
Published 9 months ago by Purplecar
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Oh maggie! I loved "after you'd gone" th vanishing act of
Esme Lennox" and especially"the hand that first held mine" but the ending of this book was such a let down.
Published 11 months ago by lauren warner
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