Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell

Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell

Set during the heatwave of July 1976 and over just three days, this story is about a dysfunctional family. All living their separate lives, in their separate ways, they are brought together when their father goes out for a newspaper and doesn’t come back. All three children fly back to the nest to help their mother, uncovering secrets and rediscovering their family. 

The heatwave and the disappearance acts as a pressure cooker, fuelling the drama. Despite the tragedy that brings them together and reasons that kept them apart, this is novel told with warmth and humour. The children are grown ups with families of their own, but put them together and they’re squabbling again. Their mother carries on as normal. It was almost fun to watch. Maggie writes these characters beautifully and complexly. An enjoyable summer read.