MY LOVER'S LOVER

Maggie O'Farrell, Author
Maggie O'Farrell, Author . Viking $24 (288p) ISBN 978-0-670-03215-0
Reviewed on: 06/02/2003
Release date: 05/01/2003
Hardcover - 322 pages - 978-0-7472-7111-6
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-14-200461-6
Hardcover - 395 pages - 978-0-7505-1964-9
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-101-64474-4
Hardcover - 322 pages - 978-0-7553-0540-7
Hardcover - 978-0-7553-0461-5
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British writer O'Farrell turns a deceptively simple romantic novel into an engrossing story of psychological suspense. Lily, a young Londoner, meets Marcus, an architect, at an art opening, and they fall for each other. Within a week, she's moved into his loft, which he also shares with Aidan, a film animator. Lily takes over a room once occupied by Marcus's ex-girlfriend, Sinead. Marcus says very little about Sinead, except that "she's no longer... with us," causing Lily to wonder if perhaps she's dead. As Lily and Marcus become more deeply involved, Lily becomes obsessed with Sinead's fate and thinks she sees her everywhere; especially disconcerting are Sinead's spectral appearances while Lily and Marcus are making love. Then one day, Lily stumbles across the real Sinead and attempts to question her about her relationship with Marcus. Sinead flees, but Lily tracks her down; she finds that Sinead is a lecturer in English literature, and finally gets her to tell why she broke up with Marcus. Sinead's story makes up the second part of the book, chronicling the onset and passionate height of their five-year affair and her discovery that he was an inveterate philanderer. Lily realizes that her relationship with Marcus has been unhealthy; now it's her turn to flee. In the book's final major section, Aidan falls in love with Sinead and a strange turn of events finds three of the characters in Australia. O'Farrell's premise—a woman's curiosity about her lover's former relationship—is somewhat commonplace. What makes her novel distinctive is the supernatural element, which she manages well, suggesting that Lily's subconscious will save her in the end. O'Farrell's debut, After You'd Gone, won a Betty Trask Award. (June)

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