The Edinburgh Bookshop in Bruntsfield, Edinburgh, is hosting an event with Maggie O’Farrell at Summerhall to discuss her new work, I Am I Am I Am, title taken from the Sylvia Plath novel, The Bell Jar. After reading the memoir, it’s expected that O’Farrell’s event will sell out, in much the same way that the one in Charlotte Square did. It’s an astounding read, an affecting page-turner that often feels delicate and personal, concluding with tears shed.
I think we were all moved when we read that inimitable article in The Guardian last year, which allowed the public into a portion of author, Maggie O’Farrell’s personal life. Reading all about her daughter’s chronic eczema and heightened allergies, which I later discovered was a segment from her new, life-affirming memoir, was a poignant read, understanding the suffering both mother and daughter endure to simply see another day.
Her memoir, as aforementioned is now out, intended to make her daughter and others out there suffering similarly feel less alone, as she focuses on her seventeen near-death experiences, and has deservingly nailed the top non-fiction spot. An un-putdownable read, which engages with the reader through her stunning prose, beautifully conceivable and visually descriptive, I would advocate all add this to their book haul this month for a dose of inspiration, as it not only opens the door for you to question how so many obstacles have been overcome, and continue to do so, but also how O’Farrell determinedly finds the time to write novel after novel.
From the moment that she realises that her debilitating childhood suffering of encephalitis has more grave repercussions than she initially thought to that where she had a run-in with what was later to be discovered was a murderer, the pages of the memoir are filled with moments that remind us of what it is to be human, and to never take for granted every living day. Spine-tingling, this biography of O’Farrell’s pulls you in (that moment on the flight is vivid) and allows you to savour her words, as she heightens the reader’s awareness of near-death moments. “We are, all of us, wandering about in states of oblivion, borrowing our time, seizing our days, escaping our fates, slipping through loopholes, unaware of when the axe may fall, ” never a statement more true.
I Am I Am I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death was published by Tinder Press on 22nd August 2017. Her event with The Edinburgh Bookshop is on Thursday 14th September at Summerhall Main Hall, 7pm. Call 0131 447 1917 to book.