Anna Walsh is a wreck. Recuperating in Ireland following her
massive injuries from a car accident, she has been dubbed
"Frankenstein" by the local youth. Anna heals quickly in the bosom
of her large, quirky family, whom Marian Keyes fans will know well
--- this is the fourth book featuring a Walsh sister. She's eager,
but bordering on anxious, to get back to her real life in New York
City, to her "best job in the world" (PR rep for the hip cosmetics
brand Candy Grrrl) and to her beloved husband, Aidan.
Through flashbacks, we learn about Anna's past --- how she moved to
New York, how she landed her glamorous job, how she met Aidan and
married him following a whirlwind romance. Anna's history makes it
clear that she and Aidan are the real deal --- their love is as
true as it gets --- so why has Aidan mysteriously disappeared,
refusing to respond to Anna's email and voice mail messages?
Desperate to reconnect with Aidan, Anna goes to great lengths ---
consulting horoscopes, dubious fortunetellers, even the psychic to
the stars --- without much success. Only a letter from Aidan's
ex-girlfriend promises to bring Anna a different kind of connection
to her husband, one she wasn't looking for but that promises to
change her life forever.
As the extent of Anna's loss becomes clear to readers, Keyes's
novel develops an emotional depth that exceeds any of her books to
date. Keyes has always been known as an author whose novels surpass
the Chick Lit tag with which they are often labeled. The
heartbreaking story of grief and hesitant renewal in ANYBODY OUT
THERE? has few easy answers and happy endings; instead, Keyes
delivers a compelling, honest portrait of a woman who has lost
herself and isn't quite sure if she's ready to be found. "Would I
be holding my breath forever," Anna asks herself, "waiting for the
world to right itself?"
All this probably sounds like a bit of a downer, but rest assured
that Keyes's trademark collection of diverse, eccentric characters
is back, including Anna's busybody mother and private investigator
sister, both of whom correspond with Anna by means of hilarious
emails. Anna's job and the foibles of life in the Big Apple also
provide plenty of fodder for Keyes's observant humor. Fans of her
previous novels will find much to treasure here, while readers who
are being introduced to Keyes's talents for the first time will
rush to scoop up the other novels about the Walsh family
(WATERMELON, RACHEL'S HOLIDAY, and ANGELS).
Reviewed by Norah Piehl on December 22, 2010
Anybody Out There?