BookBrowse Reviews Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell

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Instructions for a Heatwave

by Maggie O'Farrell

Instructions for a Heatwave
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2013, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2014, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker

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In Instructions for a Heatwave, a crisis forces a family's members to evaluate their interpersonal ties.

Maggie O'Farrell's novel Instructions for a Heatwave investigates family, lies, and the ways they intertwine. One morning, during England's record-breaking 1976 heat wave, Gretta Riordan sees her husband Robert off for his errands as she does most mornings since he retired. He does not return that day or the next. There is little preparation for his disappearance and the family is thrown into turmoil. Gretta and Robert's three children - Michael Francis, Monica, and Aoife (pronounced Ee-fuh) - are in their own tumultuous states and no one is prepared to search for Robert. Each of the siblings harbors a secret, and all of them struggle with the burden of being raised by Catholic parents with strict moral rules.

Michael Francis wonders if his wife Claire still loves him. His job as a high school history teacher is unfulfilling and a disappointment after his great plans of moving to ...

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