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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Instructions for a Heatwave
This novel is set during the heatwave of 1976, which I remember very well. Oddly enough, I read the book during recent hot weather, and it made the heat feel even more tangible. The novel centres around the Riordan family. Gretta is the matriarch and, whatever the weather, she bakes soda bread three times a week. Her day starts as normal - she bakes and husband Robert...
Published 22 months ago by S Riaz

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bemused
As a rule, Maggie O'Farrell equals quality in my lexicon: I have devoured all of her novels and waited eagerly for the next. Very few contemporary authors have her command of language, in my opinion - she writes lucidly, often poetically, weaving stories of depth and subtlety with unforgettable characters. But, when I finished reading 'Instructions for a Heatwave', I...
Published 19 months ago by M. Brown


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive, 20 Aug. 2013
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Very good characterisation - deceptive, you learn about the characters slowly and by the end you want to know more about them as they are warm, funny and flawed in a very human way.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An engaging read with an eccentric family, 20 Aug. 2013
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Mrs. S. J. MacDonald "Sara MacDonald" (Penzance, Cornwall) - See all my reviews
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I took Instructions For A Heatwave on holiday to France. In the intense heat of August I lounged by a swimming pool against a backdrop of mountains and entered the lives of this eccentric Irish family with complete abandon.

The story begins with the disappearance of Robert, Gretta's husband, in the middle of the heatwave of 1976. In this complicated, eccentric, Catholic family nothing is quite what it seems on the surface.

Gretta is adept at hiding reality from herself and the rest of the family. This unravelling of the truth of Robert's disappearance against the background of melting heat seems less important as you near the end than what happens to Aoife, Gretta's youngest daughter, who leaps off the page. She is brought hauntingly alive by Maggie OFarrell's rather oblique style of writing and worthy of a book all to herself.

Monica, the elder daughter, left to look after difficult Aoife in childhood, was deftly drawn. Michael Francis, the eldest, did not quite come alive for me and Clare, his wife was a brushstroke. It did not matter or spoil the book as Aoife was the spark that kept the story alive for me, not the disappearance of Robert.

I read this book on a Kindle so was not aware I was reaching the end which seemed sudden and abrupt, but the fact I was disappointed to leave them all is a recommendation in itself.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read., 19 Aug. 2013
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I was disappointed by the ending but the journey was worthwhile. A compelling read about a family who find themselves bought back together when the father goes missing.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Instructions for a heatwave, 18 Aug. 2013
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interesting creation of all the charaters. Easy and enjoyable read. came to a bit of a sudden ending, but that did not spoil the story
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lovely tale of Secrets and lies, 9 Aug. 2013
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Enjoyed this more than I thought I would, an irish families secrets come to light when their father walks out.
Beautifully written.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 5 Aug. 2013
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I loved this book, both for the memory of the summer of 1976, but also because of the clever and touching story of a family finding its way through life. It was funny and clever and not sentimental at all. I loved it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling family drama, 29 July 2013
An absorbing family drama where the characters are interesting. I thought the character of Aoife, and the effect that being illiterate has on her life, was thought-provoking. She made me think of Hanna in "The Reader", for obvious reasons. A good holiday read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long hot summer, 24 July 2013
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Although I agree with some of the critisisms of this book, I find Maggie O'Farrell's style so readable and satisfying that I can forgive the slight faults. To me, it is Aoife's story, and it is all resolved nicely.
As it is set in the 70s and cuts to present day, I am comparing it to "Perfect" by Rachael Joyce, and Rachael wins hands down.
I hope that O'Farrell does not go down the road of Edna O'Brien and Maeve Binchy and over-do the Irish theme. Less is more.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing, a bit unsatisfying, 22 July 2013
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A. Alexander (Hertford, UK) - See all my reviews
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Lovely story, interesting characters, ends too soon, there was more to be learned about this family and it left me feeling frustrated that I didn't hear more.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My first Maggies O'Farrell, 9 July 2013
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A good storyline and interesting well drawn characters. I remember the 1976 heatwave well so this brought back some memories.
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Instructions for a Heatwave (Vintage Contemporaries)
Instructions for a Heatwave (Vintage Contemporaries) by Maggie O'Farrell (Paperback - 6 May 2014)
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