On her 40th birthday, Ophelia Dormandy - overworked barrister, guilt-ridden wife and mother - decides to make amends.
But Ophelia is in for a shock. After 20 years of marriage, her husband announces he's been having an affair, and leaves.
With her home life imploding, her work soon follows suit - threatening everything that she holds dear.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 304 pages
- Publisher: Short Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 02/06/2011
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781907595141
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by dsc73277
I notice I already have two books in my Librarything collection by authors whose first name is Ophelia. Having added this book that now makes a total of three Ophelia's in my collection, perhaps more unique mentions (i.e. excluding the repetition of the same author's name) than any other female forename. It would seem there is something about this name I rather like. Is it the Shakesperean reference or just the slightly exclusive, even posh, undertones that it carries? The heroine of this novel, Ophelia Dormandy, thinks she is actually quite ordinary, despite her surname hinting otherwise, and despite the fact that as a barrister she is likely to be regarded by many readers as part of the privileged elite. Clare Jacob has either corrected a misconception on my part or else, as a barrister herself, has shown that members of her profession are a little out of touch about what constitutes ordinariness. Royalty aside, perhaps we all inclined to think that others are doing better than us, however high we might climb? The Ophelia in this book is certainly struggling to make ends meet during a difficult period in her life, but it is her emotional struggles, along with her case load - or lack of - that takes centre stage here.My only significant reservation is that the domestic incident which set the drama in train did not seem terribly convincing: it seemed just a bit too calm and matter of fact. "Ophelia in Pieces" does not aspire to be high-end literature full of originality and multiple layers of meaning, but it represents an excellent piece of middlebrow fiction, and one that offers a window on the legal system and many useful reflections on the small but significant struggles of modern middle class British life. I found it an enjoyable read that became quite gripping in its final third. I would urge the jury to reach a positive verdict.
Review by shelleyraec
The break up of her long ailing marriage still comes as a shock to Ophelia Dormandy, a junior barrister, whose busy career unintentionally led to the neglect of her husband and son. Ophelia struggles to pick up the pieces of her shattered domesticity while balancing the demands of her job.It happens sometimes that you find it difficult to like the protagonist of a novel and unfortunately I struggled to connect to Ophelia. Mostly I thought her self absorbed and passive. The responsibility for the marital breakup seems to shared equally, while Ophelia appeared to have emotionally neglected her husband he responded in the manner of a spoilt toddler, however I didn't get a genuine sense of regret from Ophelia so I was fairly unmoved by the whole thing. What did affect me was the casual neglect of her son, I never felt as she was truly torn between the work/life balance. Her summer holiday with her son seemed to be less about connecting with him and more about self pity. Her angst at missing her son's plays/games is half hearted at best and her concerns for his well being are vague. As a junior barrister her naivety in dealing with her clients, particularly the adulterous businessman and the disgruntled client, seems incongruous. The only time I thought there may be more to Ophelia was during her interactions with her mentor.Technically I can't find fault the book but as this novel is Ophelia's story I lost interest in the plot quite quickly. Luckily , at less than 300 pages it's a reasonably quick read. Ophelia in Pieces wasn't the read for me but if you like British chick lit you may find differently.