Instructions for a Heatwave

Editorial reviews

Instructions for a Heatwave

Instructions for a Heatwave is never dull, never unconvincing, proceeding at a stately and crisp speed through a fully rendered world, grappling at all times and in an original way with the fascinating problems of our time, rushing head-long — and yet staggering almost drunkenly when necessary — towards a stirring and wondrous conclusion.

“Instructions for a Heatwave” dutifully draws the reader through the keeping, and then the disclosure, of what has been concealed, but the novel’s pleasure and urgency lie in the indelibly familiar.

O’Farrell smartly avoids a tidy wrap-up, but I can tell you that each Riordan changes believably. She also gives insight into what damage can be done to families without some rational honesty, with or without a natural disaster.

A skillfully written novel of manners, with quiet domestic drama spiced with fine comic moments. The payoff is priceless, too.

What are O’Farrell’s instructions for a heatwave? In an emergency, step away from the heat, return to the source, and lay old bones to rest.