Maggie O'Farrell's captivating and critically acclaimed gothic tale of family secrets and the irrepressible freedom that truth brings
Chic and independent, Iris Lockhart is tending to her vintage-clothing shop in Edinburgh (and evading her married boyfriend) when she receives a stunning phone call: her great-aunt Esme whom she never knew existed is being released from Cauldstone Hospital, where she has been locked away for more than sixty years. Iris's grandmother Kitty always claimed to be an only child. But Esme's papers prove she is Kitty's sister, and Iris can see the shadow of her father in Esme's face. Esme has been labeled harmless sane enough to coexist with the rest of the world but she's still basically a stranger, a family member hidden away who will surely bring secrets with her when she leaves the ward. Moving expertly among the voices of Iris, Kitty, and Esme herself, Maggie O'Farrell reveals the story of Esme's tragic and haunting absence.
PRAISE FOR THE VANISHING ACT OF ESME LENNOX "I found this actually unputdownable, written with charge and energy and a kind of compelling drive, a clarity and a gripping dramatic insidiousness reminiscent of classic writers like Rebecca West and Daphne du Maurier." --Ali Smith
"Almost ridiculously pleasurable . . . shocking, heartbreaking, and fascinating." --The Times (London)