An unforgettable portrait of an Irish family in crisis in the legendary heatwave of 1976
A story of a dysfunctional but deeply loveable family reunited, INSTRUCTIONS FOR A HEATWAVE by Maggie O'Farrell already feels like a contemporary classic. It was shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Novel Award and was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller.
It's July 1976. In London, it hasn't rained for months, gardens are filled with aphids, water comes from a standpipe, and Robert Riordan tells his wife Gretta that he's going round the corner to buy a newspaper. He doesn't come back. The search for Robert brings Gretta's children - two estranged sisters and a brother on the brink of divorce - back home, each with different ideas as to where their father might have gone. None of them suspects that their mother might have an explanation that even now she cannot share.
The Riordans will stay in your mind long after you finish this book. They're funny, infuriating and impossible not to love. They feel like family — Irish Times
My favourite kind of novel: big-hearted, psychologically complex and utterly gripping — Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Unputdownable — Joanna Briscoe, Guardian
Instantly appealing...magical — Daily Telegraph
Masterful...holds you on an exquisite knife-edge — Marie Claire
An author at the top of her game — Sunday Express
O'Farrell's language is lissom, airborne, mostly seamless, her characters flawed, contradictory, aggravating and instantly knowable. This is a deceptively easy, effortlessly true-feeling novel; a total delight — Metro
A quite wonderful novel...at once enthralling, page turning and atmospheric — Irish Examiner