Monday, September 28, 2009

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrel (Book Review)

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox is a sad, eloquent novel about Iris Lockhart, a young Scottish woman who learns suddenly that she's been granted the power of attorney for a family relation she never knew existed -- a great aunt (Esme Lennox) who has been in a mental institution for the past 60 years.

With this solid nouveau-Gothic premise, the novel proceeds by switching back and forth in time and alternating narrative points of view, between Iris and Esme. The story of both women is thus gradually revealed, and the ending, whether or not the reader guesses at the big surprise, is dramatic and powerful.

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