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‘I would recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for something a little bit different from the crowd Accessible engaging full of ideas and humanity The Anchoress won’t disappoint’ Bookemstevo‘A moving and intriguing thought experiment about loneliness and human connections Blaney has a real talent for capturing the texture of everyday life’ Justine Roberts founder and CEO of Mumsnet'Touching and believable a beautiful little book' Rebekah Lattin Rawstrone author of Home‘In the Middle Ages there were women who had themselves walled up Anchoresses they were called’Maggie has locked herself in her closet and she won’t come out Lying in the cool dark space by herself is surprisingly soothing Visitors come and go – some welcome than others There’s Norman the nosy neighbour who’s worried her strange behaviour may be lowering the tone of the area A police officer drops by to offer advice on home security and issues a strange invitation Then a reporter arrives inviting Maggie to tell her story to the local paper And there’s the charming pizza delivery man who shoots the breeze with her before sliding a thin crust with anchovies under the door Maggie finds herself opening up to Pizza Guy about her past and finally it becomes clear why she has taken refuge in her closet What will it take for her to face the world again?The Anchoress is a story about memory childhood grief and acceptance It’s about what happens when you shut out the world and rediscover yourself

10 thoughts on “The Anchoress

  1. says:

    Only conflict of interest and a certain old fashioned modesty prevent me from recommending this as an exceedingly good read

  2. says:

    I struggled to get into this novella at first I was unconvinced initially by the characters and found the dialogue slightly stilted but I'm glad I persevered because once it gets going it's uietly gripping having stalled several times in the opening chapters I read the rest in one sitting The story of Maggie a woman who decides for seemingly no reason to retreat to the closet in her bathroom it's a small book that isn't afraid to deal with big issues love loss the lies we tell ourselves and the lives we settle for and as you read on Maggie's story unravels revealing what drove her to such an odd decision For me ironically perhaps it's when the book goes beyond the confines of the closet to examine the ripple effect of her actions that it becomes really compelling the reactions of the world outside a telling commentary on modern life

  3. says:

    What would happen if a woman one day decided to shut herself away from the world in a closet? From this simple idea Paul Blaney's intriguing novella launches into an exploration of what that might be like why she might do it – even when she doesn't know herself – and how the world around her might react It leads to a revelation both for her and for the reader She becomes a modern day Descartes or Montaigne withdrawing from the wider world to explore herself and discover afresh what seemed familiarBeautifully written Blaney picks a delicate line between narrative realism and thought experiment – it is a story that could only have been told as a short novel and as such the author successfully displays the weighty potential of the form

  4. says:

    This book surprised me The blurb intrigued me but I wasn't really sure what to expect Even while reading it I still couldn't really tell where the story was going but that's probably why I enjoyed reading it it was unexpected intriguing and challenging Maggie deals with a lot of difficult uestions about people relationships life in general Even if you're not in the same place as Maggie her uestions still challenge you to think The philosophical reference to Socrates was dead onI'm not to sure of the ending though without giving away too much spoilers I feel like Maggie's story isn't over I felt like there was something like maybe Pizza Guy and Collin are alike than Maggie realizes?

  5. says:

    At the end of this charming and thought provoking novella the protagonist Maggie's mysterious friend PG goads her into playing a game of Maggie Could a character specific version of What If Maggie could move to Kyrgyzstan and pick apples Maggie could sell her blue car car and buy a red motorbike etc This book is in itself the realization of just such an exercise Maggie could move in to her closet and refuse to come out using the time to work out the psychological problems that are holding her back Kudos to skilled writer Blaney for taking this uirky idea and going all out I especially enjoyed the way the story hangs in the balance between magic and realism

  6. says:

    Two and a half stars An interesting idea and a uick read but not really a great book Although I do agree that sometimes we need solitude to attain clarity

  7. says:

    Sweet enough An interesting idea Off puttingly transatlantic and a bit pious but a nice uick read

  8. says:

    This is an unusual book for me in that it is one of the few books that I have read twice It is not very long and I felt that a second reading was beneficial and gave me insight into and understanding of the protagonist Maggie who spends most of the novella locked away in her walk in closetbathroomIn the womb like darkness of her hideaway she hears voices some real and some perhaps not as she reflects upon her childhood her artistic mother and a remote cliff top tower in which her father once attempted to settle the familyPaul Blaney's writing is highly evocative and the reader shares Maggie's darkness in the claustrophobic atmosphere of the L shaped room It is not all darkness and like Maggie we warm to the light relief and charm provided by the philosophical pizza delivery man who proffers pearls of wisdom whilst sliding pizzas under the crack beneath the door Other voices and visitors are not uite as welcomeMaggie's isolation and contemplation provides her with the space and time that she needs to come to terms with her past whilst outside in the real world her unusual circumstances become news in her communityThis is an extremely thought provoking novella and I enjoyed it very much both times