3 Quotes Challenge & a Bookish Memory | After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell

To take part in the 3 Quotes Challenge all you have to do is thank the person who nominated you and link back to their post. Post a quote on your blog every day for three days. Nominate three other bloggers each day.

I was nominated to join in with this a really long time ago by the lovely ahouseofbooks and I just never got around to doing it. I keep seeing the tag around and really want to join in so thought I’d do it now.

I want to link my 3 Quotes Challenge to a series I started called Bookish Memories that I started when I first began my blog but have neglected for ages.

My first quote is from After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell


“What are you supposed to do with all the love you have for somebody if that person is no longer there? What happens to all that leftover love? Do you suppress it? Do you ignore it? Are you supposed to give it to someone else?” 

I lost my best friend in 2000 and I was heartbroken. I had gone through bereavement before but it was nothing like how this felt. We were only a few months apart in age and the idea of someone my own age and so full of life dying at the age of 20 was beyond my comprehension. I couldn’t focus on anything, I couldn’t read and I was in a really bad place.

One day I was flicking through a magazine my mum had given me and I saw a tiny review for a book called After You’d Gone. I’d never heard of the novel or the author but in the review was the above quote and it just made me want this book like I’d never wanted to get hold of a book before! I just felt that this book would help me, the quote just got to me so much because those were the questions I needed answers to.

I immediately rang my local book shop to ask if they had it in stock but they told me it wasn’t released for another few days. So, I pre-ordered a copy and on release day I waited outside the shop for it to open. The very second I got the book I started reading – I literally walked to the bus stop while reading, I carried on reading on the bus journey home (even though reading on moving vehicles makes me feel very sick). I finished the book in three hours and in that time I cried and cried but by the end I felt soothed. Even though the loss in After You’d Gone is a different loss to the one I was going through, the emotions and reactions were so similar and I connected with this book so strongly.

I started reading After You’d Gone again that night but this time around I read it slowly, I savoured it and I had a pack of post-it notes next to me so I could mark all my favourite paragraphs (there were a lot!). It’s honestly not overstating to say that After You’d Gone saved me.

I’ve treasured my copy of this book for all these years since and it’s one of very few books that I re-read every couple of years. It’s my go-to book when I need to be consoled and comforted.

I’ve pre-ordered every single Maggie O’Farrell book since then, I never need to read the synopsis because I trust her – I know that her writing will never let me down and it never, ever has. Just last week I read her latest book, and it’s a masterpiece (my review is here if you’d like to read it. I love all of her books – particularly The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox and her new one, This Must Be The Place – Maggie O’Farrell started off her career as a novellist with an incredible book and then somehow has got better with every book that follows but I will always say that After You’d Gone is my favourite book by her because of my strong emotional attachment to it.

About the Book

The groundbreaking debut novel from Maggie O’Farrell, After You’d Goneis a stunning, best-selling story of wrenching love and grief.

A distraught young woman boards a train at King’s Cross to return to her family in Scotland. Six hours later, she catches sight of something so terrible in a mirror at Waverley Station that she gets on the next train back to London.

After You’d Gone follows Alice’s mental journey through her own past, after a traffic accident has left her in a coma. A love story that is also a story of absence, and of how our choices can reverberate through the generations, it slowly draws us closer to a dark secret at a family’s heart.


Do you have a strong emotional attachment to a book? Please tell me your story in the comments, I’d love to hear.


I nominate any who’d like to take part in this challenge. Please note that the challenge it just to share a favourite quote every day for three days, everything else in this post was just what I chose to add.




18 thoughts on “3 Quotes Challenge & a Bookish Memory | After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell

  1. Thank you for sharing such a difficult moment of your life with us. The quote you chose is beautiful, and I am sure it resonates in everyone of us who has lost someone. There are a book and a movie I am emotionally connected to. When I was younger, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. My parents were divorced and I had been acquainted with my latest stepmom. I came across Stepmom. First the movie, then the book. While there were many differences with my situation, I just connected to the story and cried my heart out every time I read or watched it. Now I try not to go back to it too often, as it is a sensitive subject and time in my life. But now and then I grab the book and it makes me feel closer to my mother.
    I hope to get a chance to read After You’d Gone soon, thank you for bringing it to my attention.

    • Thank you for taking the time to write such a lovely reply to my post. I’m so sorry for all that you’ve been through, life can be so hard at times. It’s amazing how books can be such a comfort at these times though, isn’t it? I’ve often said that I don’t know how I would have got through some things without my books. I also have books that I know I’ll never be able to read again because of what happened when I was reading them last but I keep them because I like having them close. I hope you get to read After You’d Gone and that you get something out of it. xx

  2. I was feeling sniffly as I read your story. I don’t think I can say that I have that strong of an attachment to a book. Thanks for sharing. You’ve made me want to read After You’d Gone even more than before. Also a beautiful quote.

    • Thank you for commenting on my post and sorry for my slow reply. I hope you get a chance to read After You’d Gone and that you enjoy it. It was one of those perfect moments of fate, or coincidence, that the book was released at that time in my life and that I happened to see the review with the quote in it. It is such a beautiful quote.

  3. What a lovely post Hayley. I loved After You’d Gone when I first read it but I don’t think I could reread it as I have lost my parents since then and it might be too much.

    • Thank you so much. It’s strange how some books become a comfort and others become too painful to re-read because of what has happened in the intervening years. I think because I read After You’d Gone right after losing my best friend and felt comforted by it, it’s one I always seek out when going through a difficult time. I also have books that I’ve loved but know that I’ll probably never feel able to read again because of what has happened in my life since. I’m so sorry that you’ve lost both of your parents, life can be so hard. x

    • Thank you, I’m so sorry that it took me such a long time but better late than never. I enjoyed putting my posts together for it so thanks again for tagging me. 🙂 I got to read a review copy of This Must Be The Place and it’s incredible. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  4. Thank you for sharing your experience with us, and for choosing that beautiful quote. I have a strong emotional attachment to The End of the Affair by Graham Greene. It was the book I was reading when my heart was broken many, many years ago…

    • Thank you, it’s such a beautiful quote, isn’t it? I love how the books we’re reading at particular times in our lives get woven into the memories of what was happening. It can be tough when they’re mixed with sad memories though. x

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