The Hand That First Held Mine – Maggie O’Farrell
Oh dear I just got my copy of this book and am so tempted to drop all yarn and hooks and dive in and devour. However when glancing over the back cover of the book I saw the warning – ‘Genuinely unputdownable’ Literary Review.
I have read and loved all of Maggie O’Farrell’s previous books but I also remember the unputdownable bit.
I have 100 crocheted biscuits all with 2 ends to be sewn in. I’m working on a new granny square scarf that necessitates the darning in of 180 ends. So if I pick up the book will these projects become temporary work’s in progress until the last page is read?
Ever since her early novels After You'd Gone and My Lover's Lover, Maggie O'Farrell's fiction has been touched by the otherworldly. Here she exchanges the more febrile expressions of romantic love for a haunting tale of the baby blues.
Told over two time frames, The Hand That First Held Mine opens as Lexie Sinclair, a bored young graduate, runs away from home to start a new life in 1950s Soho. Taken under the wing of Innes Kent, a magazine editor 13 years her senior, she finds herself at the heart of the post-war art scene, trading witticisms with the barflies of Dean Street and discovering the pleasures of Jackson Pollock and pink gin.
In present-day London, a Finnish artist, Elina, is recovering from the difficult birth of her first child. As Elina struggles to recall the details of a botched Caesarean, her partner Ted is hit by a series of blackouts. Memories from his own childhood seem to be crowding his vision, leaving him little time to shop for baby wipes or take care of the people who need him most. Just as Elina starts to surface from her post-partum nightmare and get back to her paints, Ted takes to lying down in a darkened room.
O'Farrell is an accomplished storyteller who keeps us guessing until the end. Read more here at The Independent.