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13 April 2010

Book Review: Alexandra, Gone by Anna McPartlin

Title: Alexandra, Gone
Author: Anna McPartlin
Publisher: Downtown Press
Publication Date: April 13,2010
Paperback: 368 pages
ISBN: 978-1439123331
Genre: Fiction


From the Publisher:


Once, Jane Moore and Alexandra Walsh were inseparable, sharing secrets and stolen candy, plotting their futures together. But when Jane became pregnant at seventeen, they drifted slowly apart. Jane has spent the years since raising her son, now seventeen himself, on her own, running a gallery, managing her sister’s art career, and looking after their volatile mother—all the while trying not to resent the limited choices life has given her.

Then a quirk of fate and a faulty elevator bring Jane into contact with Tom, Alexandra’s husband, who has some shocking news. Alexandra disappeared from a south Dublin suburb months ago, and Tom has been searching fruitlessly for her. Jane offers to help, as do the elevator’s other passengers—Jane’s brilliant but self-absorbed sister, Elle, and Leslie Sheehan, a reclusive web designer who’s ready to step back into the world again. And as Jane quickly realizes, Tom isn’t the only one among them who’s looking for something . . . or traveling toward unexpected revelations about love, life, and what it means to let go, in every sense.

In this insightful and irresistible novel, by turns profound, poignant, and laugh- out-loud funny, acclaimed Irish writer Anna McPartlin tells a story of friendship and love, of the families we are born into and the ones we create for ourselves, and of the hope and strength that remain when we find the courage to leave the past behind at last.

My Review:

Alexandra, Gone is a brilliantly stunning novel that showcases the masterful storytelling of author Anna McPartlin where readers learn just enough about the key cast to have their interest piqued. The novel begins with Alexandra's narrative on 21 June 2007 in Dublin where she left a note for her husband Tom to head to the grocery when he returned home from work and said she would be out for a brief time while having drinks with her friend Sherri. Alexandra departed the train in Dalkey, and then she completely vanished. Back in 1989, then 8 year-old Elle Moore began a tradition of spending New Year's Eve writing a letter to the Universe. By May of 1990 we learn that Jane Moore, Elle's 17-year old sister is pregnant and she has turned to her friend Alexandra for help. Jane gave birth to a baby boy, Kurt, and 4 months later Alexandra was gone from the Moore girls lives. In 1996 Imelda writes a letter to her husband Jim, imploring him to look after Leslie when she is gone, for Leslie will be left with no family once she succumbs to cancer. Which brings the reader up to present day with Tom Kavanagh pleading on a radio station for any information or leads that may help find his wife. Jim decides to hand out leaflets at a concert and finds himself trapped in a lift with Elle and Jane Moore and Leslie Sheehan. Elle and Jane are shocked to see a picture of their friend all these years later and stunned to her of her disappearance. The four make a pact to find out the truth of Alexandra's disappearance. McPartlin tells the story through the different voices of Elle, Jane, Leslie, and Tom, each with their unique viewpoints. The characters in Alexandra, Gone are vibrant, flawed, dysfunctional and deal with very serious issues, yet the book does not come across as either too heavy or depressing, rather the story is quite cleverly interwoven. Ingeniously, McPartlin tells the story of not merely a missing woman, but of families, friends, and friends who become family. I recommend Alexandra, Gone with the highest of praise I am able to give.

About the Author:
Anna McPartlin, who was shortlisted for Newcomer of the Year in the 2007 Irish Book Awards, was formerly a stand-up comedian and a cabaret performer. She lives in Dublin with her husband, Donal.

I received a complimentary copy of Alexandra, Gone by Anna McPartlin from Simon & Schuster to review. Receiving a free copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.



Teresa said...

This looks like a good one. I'm adding it to my list now!

Audrey said...

I will have to write down the author - haven't read any books by her before.
Thanks so much for visiting my blog - I will be back to yours to see what else you have reviewed :)

The Westie Loving Therapist said...

This book looks like it would have been a great segway to the first message in the Fixable series at our church last Sunday titled When My Family is Dysfunctional.

Aleksandra said...

Great review!

Christina T said...

This sounds like a fantastic book. I enjoyed your review!

Shon said...

Nice review! I'll definitely add it to my list.