Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive – but not how to live.
Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life.She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.
Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself.
Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.
Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?
An astonishing story that powerfully depicts the loneliness of life, and the simple power of a little kindness.
‘A truly original literary creation: funny, touching and unpredictable. Her journey out of the shadows is expertly woven and absolutely gripping’
Jenny Colgan, GUARDIAN
‘A narrative full of quiet warmth and deep and unspoken sadness… Wonderful and joyful’
Wendy Holden, DAILY MAIL
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‘Unforgettable, brilliant, funny and life-affirming’
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Spring Chicken’s review
by Tony Gregory
ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE
A very good start for debutante author, Gail Honeyman.
She has created a quirky misfit who for reasons that are slowly revealed, has built a wall around herself, to protect herself from the dangers of mixing with other human beings on anything other than a routine basis.
Much of her early life has been spent in care and she was moved from foster home to foster home.
She is clearly an intelligent woman who has worked for the same firm for many years doing a job which does not test her at all. Her time away from work is spent in a limited routine, with the drinking of two bottles of vodka each weekend.
The metaphorical wall around her works very well. She is not unhappy and has a view of society which she expresses in a very amusing style.
It becomes clear that she suffered at the hands of her mother, the full extent of which becomes clearer as the story unfolds. It is this that has caused her to become so insular.
As the story unfolds, Eleanor is dragged into the outside world. It causes her to meet decent, kind, loving people who bring her into their lives. This change in lifestyle persuades her to confront her demons and reappraise her approach to life.
There are frequent laughs to be had in this book, sitting alongside a backdrop of sadness, but the overall feeling one is left with is pleasurable.
There seems to be an opportunity for the author to bring us further tales about Miss Oliphant.
Gail Honeyman’s debut novel, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, won the Costa First Novel Award 2017. As a work in progress, it was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize.
Since publication, translation rights have sold to over thirty territories worldwide, Reese Witherspoon has optioned it for film and it was chosen as one of the Observer’s Debuts of the Year for 2017.
Gail was also awarded the Scottish Book Trust’s Next Chapter Award in 2014, and has been longlisted for BBC Radio 4’s Opening Lines and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize.
Gail lives in Glasgow.