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This Is How It Ends [Paperback]

Kathleen MacMahon
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

9 May 2013

This is when it begins

Autumn, 2008.

This is where it begins

The coast of Dublin.

This is why it begins

Bruno, an American, has come to Ireland to search for his roots. Addie, an out-of-work architect, is recovering from heartbreak while taking care of her infirm father. When their worlds collide, they experience a connection unlike any they've previously felt, but soon their newfound love will be tested in ways they never imagined possible.

This is how it ends . . .

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (9 May 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0751548359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751548358
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kathleen MacMahon is a former radio and television journalist with Ireland's national broadcaster, RTE. The grand-daughter of the distinguished short story writer Mary Lavin, Kathleen lives in Dublin with her husband and twin daughters. The hardback edition of This is How it Ends, her first novel, was a No.1 bestseller in Ireland for five consecutive weeks and spent nine weeks in the Top Ten bestseller list.

Product Description


It will leave you a weeping mess just as Em and Dex's story did. It will also leave you feeling utterly bereft to no longer be in its company (Observer)

Be warned. MacMahon subtly weaves her readers so tightly into her story that when she rolls out her shattering ending it's best to be alone. Stave off the tears if you can: I was a wreck (Sunday Times)

When you have long forgotten many other fictional lovers, there is something about Addie and Bruno, their past and their world, that will not go away (Maeve Binchy, The Irish Times)

This richly poetic first novel combines a strong contemporary feel with a sense of timelessness. MacMahon's prose fizzes from page one. As the title suggests this is a poignant book yet remarkably life-affirming thanks to the sheer quality of MacMahon's writing. Her characterisation is deft and believable. She has perfect control of tone and a gift for piercing metaphor. I predict a glittering future (Daily Express)

It has 'future classic' written all over it (Glamour)

An exceptional novel . . . It is truly a story for our time (Irish Independent)

Kathleen MacMahon's prose could not appear more effortless or beautiful . . . The twist in this tale is utterly unexpected and satisfyingly unpredictable . . . A bittersweet novel that will no doubt become a book-club darling (Sunday Independent)

A tender love story. A book about love, family, children and that glorious sense of being alive (Irish Examiner)

This is a love story like no other (Mirror)

An all-consuming love story . . . that can't fail to enchant you (Heat)

I found myself relating to every character, charmed into enjoying their world and not wanting it to end (Stylist)

This is an outstanding debut novel which will linger long in your mind (Red Magazine)

The force of it takes you by stealth until you realise you're swallowing furiously, to keep down the lump in your throat (Psychologies)

. . . crunchingly big finish which packs an undeniable punch (Daily Mail)

Is MacMahon the new Donoghue, capable of winning plaudits from critics and sales from readers eager to see their own lives reflected in fiction? (Sunday Business Post Ireland)

Summer 2012's One Day, this is a love story with an ominous feel that haunts from page one (Easy Living)

Sometimes you read a book that takes your breath away - this was the book . . . This Is How It Ends grabs you very gently at the beginning and urges you to continue, it wraps you up in its charm and leaves you bereft (in a good way). An emotional rollercoaster of two people thrown together, at a strange time in a less than ordinary way, I defy you not to be moved (Woman's Way)

Throughout the book, the narrative remains both beautiful and understated - and is perhaps all the more dramatic for it (Fabulous Magazine)

This wonderful new author is a force to be reckoned with (Dubray Books)

If you enjoyed One Day, you'll love this. Utterly charming and packed with humour, this novel is carried by its characters' charisma. Completely engrossing right up until the unbearably moving conclusion (Sunday Mirror)

This book is as powerful in the early, glorious unfurling of an unexpected, unlooked for love as it is in the build to the gut-wrenching finale (Star Magazine)

Wonderfully written, MacMahon creates characters that will linger long in your mind. Keep the tissues nearby, you will need them (Daily Express)

Book Description

A Richard and Judy Summer 2013 Book Club title.

Be moved, enchanted and shocked by this all-consuming tale of finding love when you least expect it, by the No.1 bestselling Irish author

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Are authors afraid to write about happiness? 7 Sep 2012
By Sue Kichenside TOP 500 REVIEWER
This is the story of late-developing love between a 38-year old Dublin woman, Addie and a 50-year old American, Bruno, who comes to Ireland to trace his roots. The year is 2008. Bruno has recently been sacked from Lehman's in the financial meltdown and is fervently hoping for Barack Obama to be elected in the US election. Addie is an out-of-work architect and daughter of a cantankerous doctor father. She is also the owner of a dog called Lola, a key character in the story and a delightful one. Addie and Bruno are not expecting to find love - indeed, they had both given up looking for it - and the scene in which they meet, courtesy of Lola the dog, is very well written and a delightful set piece. Other characters in the book are also well drawn: I particularly liked Addie's older sister Della though was less convinced by Addie's father, Hugh. Everyone walks on eggshells around him but his prickliness was not exactly terrifying and the side-plot of his big, dark secret petered out a bit. Other than that, the story-telling is good and the growing love between the two main characters genuinely heart-warming. It's clear fairly early on that something is going to go wrong. Without giving anything away, I would just say that I found this aspect of the book deeply disappointing. It is as though writers today have a real problem writing about happiness, as though it is not a "real story" unless there is conflict/tragedy/disaster, whatever.

Why is this? What actually is wrong with a happy story?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing end 21 Aug 2013
By Irena
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a good holiday read, I guess. I was expecting something with more weight and found some of the interactions between the characters unbelievable and not well developed. The subject matter is interesting but I'd like to have read something with more grit. I was disappointed at the end as it felt those serious issues were left hanging, and the author used the title to exit from her story which also gave a sense of artificiality to the story.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but a little obvious 2 July 2012
By Kim
Spoiler Alert. The advance for this book does seem excessive, and it may have something to do with the fact that the writer is 'well connected'. The book is enjoyable but it it all happens on one level and is lacking in nuance. Everything is a bit obvious. Compared to a writer like Curtis Sittenfeld who puts so much into every single sentence, McMahon can seem pedestrian sometimes. While some of the writing is a bit leaden other scenes are funny and well written, for example the visit to the relatives in Navan. Her observations are also very astute at times, although I can't believe anyone would be 'happy' about being diagnosed with terminal cancer. It makes Addie seem a bit saintlike and unreal. (Also Bruno was a bit of a caricature.) Like a lot of reviewers I sped read to the end. You are told early on that something awful happens and you keep reading to find out what it is, otherwise, I'm not sure I'd have finished. Much better than the usual chicklit fare though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay-ish but nothing special. 13 Mar 2014
I don't know quite what to make of this book as it is an apparently purposeless and not a very interesting tale. As a reflection of a portion of our modern society I can relate to it; the individual as a "social solitary" with familial and other acquaintances etc. However the initial relationship of the central characters appears "forced" and unconvincing given their background details though it does become more realistic in the latter stages. The peripheral characters are somewhat one-dimensional and the story-lines surrounding them tend to be left unresolved. Nothing really happens and all in all I felt as though I was being manipulated by the authors use of many standard literary devices.
It's okay as a light read to pass a few hours but it is unlikely to stay in the memory.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I cannot rave about it but it was ok 21 Feb 2014
By Trickle Tree VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I will not go into the story as that has been covered proficiently by other reviewers. I was attracted to a love story between characters that were older that your average M&B protagonists. The piece was well written and the characters were well rounded but I did find the story predictable and the ending annoyed me greatly. I was expecting something that went further into the themes of love in later life and the political background of ;the male's circumstances and this wasn't dealt with in the way I had imagined it would be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing book 17 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book took a lot of getting in to and when you eventually did it was so obvious what the conclusion would be !! Nearly gave up halfway through !!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The story explores difficulties in a family relationship between two very different sisters (Della and Adie) and their father. It also looks at how Adie falls in love during a mid-life crisis. This is Kathleen MacMahon's first published novel and it has been translated into twenty-five languages after a successful introduction at The London Book Fair 2011.

Della has four children so Adie, who is an out of work architect, ends up nursing their consultant father, Hugh, who has broken wrists and is awaiting the repercussions of a works tribunal. Hugh is unable to show his love for his Adie. Perhaps she reminds him of his deceased wife?
Bruno is from America and his life in finance has ground to an untimely halt when he arrives in the neighbourhood, following in his sister's footsteps looking to form some family bonds in Ireland. After he ends up in Adie's bed, regular updates on U.S. politics give the impression that Bruno is about to fly home any day if the right candidate wins the election.

Some members of our group really enjoyed the book. It offered them a pleasant distraction from real life. However even they agreed that it was an uninspired title to an uninspired book. It seems to offer little substance and no depth to most of the characters. Our main concern was whether Adie's dog had actually died. If you are looking for a cheerful read then this is not one for you and most of us hoped there will not be a sequel.

Our average mark was 4 out of 10
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars This is how it ends
a beautiful love story with a sad ending but there was no other way it could have ended really. will recommend to my daughter
Published 12 days ago by jane allison llewellyn
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, but...
Beautifully written, but it made me cry, even though the ending was expected. The description of Addie's return journey from the hospital on auto-pilot will haunt me forever.
Published 13 days ago by mabeeny
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy read
Predictable. Or so you think! Interesting with several stories within a story - Don't want to say anymore than that :)
Published 18 days ago by JulesMc
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I've never been prompted to write a book review before, but this book made me want to, because I found it so frustrating and manipulative. Read more
Published 28 days ago by LoganberryJohnson
3.0 out of 5 stars not a page turner
The actual content of this book was very small, a lot of padding and harking back to the past which made it disjointed in my opinion. Not a book I would recommend.
Published 1 month ago by Mrs S B Brialey
4.0 out of 5 stars A Page Turner
I loved this book, had trouble putting it down. Both the sisters were interesting characters & especially liked the grumpy father.
Published 2 months ago by Eve Harty
4.0 out of 5 stars Tragic and satisfying
A love story with some interesting twists and a sad and tragic ending. That is its strength plus the fact that it is set largely in Ireland. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Norman Bishop
5.0 out of 5 stars Based in Ireland
This is such a well written story with characters that you could really believe in. I wasn't expecting the ending but it was just as it should be. Would recommend the read
Published 4 months ago by Cottage Lady
4.0 out of 5 stars Sad and beautiful
This book was recommended by a friend. I like the way it describes how such a sad ending had a positive touch. Art of living and dying.
Published 5 months ago by Sidsel Bjorneby
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