- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (2 Aug. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099507668
- ISBN-13: 978-0099507666
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.3 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 212,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Over Paperback – 2 Aug 2007
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"Forster's tightly-focused, first-person narrative is utterly compelling and painfully convincing" (Daily Mail)
"Forster's first person account of Lou's emotional exhaustion, her bleached anger at the ruthless egotism of her husband's grief, and her inability to discern the same essential failing in her own bitter self protectiveness is an impressive feat of observation and imagination" (The Times)
"Forster's scrupulous inspection of the clammy and repressive intricacies of domestic life is, as in so much of her discomforting fiction, a serious pleasure to read" (Sunday Times)
"Superb... Forster understands the power of that left unsaid... an ordinary woman's story is made heroic by a writer's art" (Sunday Express)
"Over is a relentless, exacting novel that pushes into the heart of grief and suggests some narrow routes to recovery" (Times Literary Supplement)
Margaret Forster writes fiction that is profoundlly real, rooted in the everyday experience of apparently ordinary lives that have been twisted out of shape by the messy business of living. Like Carol Shields' Unless, this novel takes a merciless, heartbreaking look at a mother's anguish.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It's a difficult question to answer, but I somehow had to force myself to read to the end. Maybe because it was so obvious what was going to happen the story lost that sense of anticipation, of wondering how the author would resolve the conflicts she had presented so fluently. I have only read one other novel by Margaret Forster and again I remember that feeling of something lacking, some intangible quality that would lift the story out of the mundane. It was well-written, true to life, and dealt with a heart-rending topic, but, as with 'Over', I felt I could 'take it or leave it'. And yet I love novels without a fast-moving plot that chart feelings and how people deal with them - 'The Other Side of You' by Salley Vickers, for instance.
I know Margaret Forster's fans rate her highly, so I shall not give up on her yet and am about to start 'Keeping the World Away'. Meanwhile, I imagine her fans will not want to miss 'Over'. For me, though, it didn't quite make it.
But what really impressed me was the depth and subtlety of Forster's characterisation, and the psychology behind her characters' relationships. There are no happy endings or easy exits, and she even gets away with a few red herrings - the mysterious anonymous phone calls - without leaving you feeling cheated at the end. Above all, her exploration of grief is so real and convincing that you can't help but feel she must have experienced it first hand. Yet somehow it never descends into hopelessness or bleakness. There is life after death, it seems, and Forster shows us just how it might be achieved.
Margaret Forster is defintely a writer I can rely on to lift me out of a reading rut.
The book is narrated by Louise, whose 18 year-old daughter, Miranda has drowned in a sailing accident. The whole family is devastated but each family member reacts differently. To my mind, Louise's reaction was the one I most related to, while her husband was driven to research parts of boats and engine mechanisms in a bid to find someone to blame. His extreme, obsessive reaction drives a wedge between himself and his family. Miranda's twin sister and their younger brother each deal with the loss individually, though I was surprised that the twin's reaction wasn't more extreme.
It is Margaret Forster's description of the emotions and psychology of loss that are the strength of the book. I loved her subtleties and perceptions:
"When Lynne left, her energy always left with her, and I collapsed again". (Pg 21)
Only the ending left me a little dissatisfied. As I had related to Louise, I felt the pressure she was under at the end, I'm not sure I'd have been so accommodating. I will say no more.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Bit scruffy but brilliant book - what do you expect for a penny these days!Published 7 months ago by Sue Keable
A story about grief at the loss of a daughter by drowning, the whole book is about a woman who cannot recover from her sadness. Read morePublished 15 months ago by feering
It became somewhat tedious and could have been shorter. I kept wondering if it was going anywhere. Glad it's finished!Published 15 months ago by paddiloo
I agree with Suzie's review. Not the most gripping MF story I've read.Published 18 months ago by Mrs. Penny Gibson
As described 'very good' for second hand, swift delivery and very pleasedPublished 22 months ago by cari
Beautifully written and observed. Reading this book made me want to read more of Margaret Forster's books.Published on 14 Sept. 2014 by venturaloverrabbit