Magnified World

Magnified World

Book - 2012
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After her mother commits suicide Maggie starts having blackouts and receiving mysterious visits from a customer named 'Gil' who promises to help her investigate her mother's past in the American South in return for her help with his own 'research'.
Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, 2012.
ISBN: 9780307360373
Characteristics: 338 p. :,ill.


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ksoles Sep 06, 2012

3.5 stars...

In her debut novel, Grace O'Connell explores the effects of Carol Pierce's suicide. Profoundly troubled, Carol walks into the Don River with her pockets full of zircon from her New Age shop and leaves behind her husband and 23-year-old daughter, Maggie. Soon, Maggie begins to experience blackouts that signal the presence of an intruding, alternate reality.

The novel opens with Maggie’s first blackout and continues on to describe the ways in which she tries to regain control of her life. O'Connell moves seamlessly between the real world and Maggie's consciousness and introduces provocative characters who shift along with this movement: Gil, a man Maggie has never met, who nonetheless sends her sympathetic postcards and strikes an ominous deal with her; Maggie's boyfriend, Andrew, and best friend, Wendy, who appear one way to Maggie and another way to the reader; and the psychiatrists who have varying degrees of investment in Carol's past.

Some of O'Connell's descriptions become tedious and she gets bogged down with details without developing larger plot elements. A potentially horrendous car accident, for example, ends in no injuries, no emotional trauma and gets no further mention in the story. But ultimately, "Magnified World" has a pleasing style and elegantly strips away multiple layers of perception to try and find stability in an unstable world.

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