Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes

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Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Kerry King
Reviewed by Kerry King
Summary: Wonderful, well-written, poignant, witty and warm. Marian Keyes hits paydirt again. Anybody Out There? is another slice of life from the Walsh family that you won't forget.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 608 Date: February 2007
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 978-0141019376

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Anna Walsh is back in Dublin, battered, bruised and flattened both emotionally and physically. Wrapped in bandages, she cannot even begin to comprehend how she has ended up here, in her parents' Good Front Room. And so Anna spends her days healing and dreaming of going back to her New York home and to the apartment where she was living with her gorgeous husband, Aiden.

But her family have other ideas. And mysteriously, Aiden seems unwilling to get in touch. Anna is puzzled. What could have happened to her marriage to the man that she would do anything for, that he won't call her?

If you have never spent two days wrapped in the pages of a Marian Keyes book, then you have never felt the sun on your face after a month of rain. I don't know what it is that she does; I don't know the incantation that is invisibly carved into the pages of her books, spellbinding you by page one. All I can tell you is that without exception, Marian's stories capture your imagination and your heart and run away with them. And Anybody Out There? is no exception.

Marian welcomes us back into the Walsh fold for Anna's story. The Walshes are a family that I hold dear in my heart because they are such a disparate bunch (each having their own story, chronicled over the years by Ms. Keyes and Watermelon being my absolute favourite) all shepherded by the determined and slightly unhinged Mammy Walsh. Just knowing that I was going to revisit them all within these pages brought a smile to my face. Marian Keyes has many gifts although the one that I most enjoy is the easy way that she can keep a completely separate, clever, irrelevant and hilarious sub-plot going throughout the story. It is, in my humble opinion, genius at work. To have Anna's sister Helen as the pivotal character in said sub-plot puts her into Stephen Hawking territory. Helen is as crazy and comical as they come and perfect for the part.

Now, having told you how funny Marian Keyes books are, the Walsh Dynasty in particular, you should also know that not many books make me cry. I can count them on the fingers of one hand Charlotte's Web, The Green Mile, Pride and Prejudice and Anybody Out There? See? I didn't even use thumbs. Anybody Out There? made my throat ache with the upsweep of the tale, the seamless flow of prose and the joy of a satisfying and judicious ending.

I know it's chick lit. I know. I do, honest. I've just put Marian Keyes in my greatest tearjerker list with Jane Austen here, which is not something I undertake lightly. What I must impress upon you, if you do not read this kind of novel under ordinary circumstances (I know many of my fellow reviewers shy violently away from this kind of read), then give this a go. If you already love well-written Chick Lit (and I mean well-written and not the cookie-cutter garbage that gets churned out that has the word "shoe" in the title to ensure sales) then you won't be reading this review, you'll be reading Anybody Out There? and enjoying it as much as I did.

Try The Other Side of the Story or rather than taking the plunge straight away, you may want to get a feel for Marian Keyes and read a collection of her newspaper articles, in Under The Duvet. Otherwise you may enjoy Notting Hell by Rachel Johnson or The Nanny.

Go on, give it a go... . I promise your IQ won't drop if you do.

Booklists.jpg Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes is in the Bookbag's Chick Lit Picks.

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Buy Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes at


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