1 response

  1. Sunanda Krishnamurty
    28 May, 2015

    THE HAND THAT FIRST HELD MINE – a critique.

    It is an unforgettable book that held my attention till the end. It is a moving story of relationships, deep love, family, bereavement, betrayal, and motherhood. I have never read any book that examines the life-changing event of motherhood so insightfully.

    Maggie O`Farrel is a brilliant writer. I admire the facility with which she alternates between past and present and uses the present tense for both. Past tense is used only when the principal characters think or talk about their past. The plot, situated mainly in England, covers many decades, and two generations of families (three including Jonah). It started out like two stories around two women and I wondered how the two would get connected. The connection, unexpected for me is revealed near the end very skillfully.

    The complicated characters, especially Lexie and Elina are portrayed with deep insight. These two women from two different era and temperamentally different are connected by art, love, motherhood. Both experience betrayal by men, Elina, before meeting Ted, her great love and father of her child, and Lexie after her life with Innes is over.

    I have two questions about the book:
    1.
    Was necessary to describe “Lagoon Café Bar” which was the “Elsewhere” office earlier? For instance on pp. 163-164 and on pp.290-292 (in the hardcover book). Ted often has coffee there. Did the writer wish to show continuity/ link, or to emphasize that things change? For me it was a break in the narrative style, as though she is trying to show a connection between past and present deliberately, which is not so in the rest of the book.
    2.
    The other thing I do not find convincing is why Felix marries Margot. He is a very successful and popular TV journalist, widely traveled, attractive to women. Why does he settle for someone like Margot?

    I am lucky that you chose this book Chouhrette, and that I could find it in Bethesda Public Library.

    Sunanda Krishnamurty, May,2015.

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