A forgotten childhood. A discovered life.
What if you only had one day to find out who you really were?
When Sabrina Boggs stumbles upon a mysterious collection of her father’s possessions, she discovers a truth where she never knew there was a lie. The familiar man she grew up with is suddenly a stranger to her.
The Marble Collector is the latest adult fiction novel from Cecilia Ahern, with lyrical prose and seamlessly woven transitions between past and present that is reminiscent of some of her earlier work.
The Marble Collector follows Sabrina Boggs, a young woman who discovers a box of marbles that belonged to her father Fergus. Both she and her mother, who has been divorced from her father for over a decade, didn’t even know that Fergus played marbles. A few of the expensive marbles from the box are missing, and so begins a quest for Sabrina to uncover information about Fergus’ past and track down the missing marbles. She uncovers stories, people and memories from his past and learns things about him that she never knew and doesn’t understand.
The chapters in the novel alternate between Sabrina’s present and Fergus’ past. Cecilia explores Fergus’ childhood, his discovery of marbles, his love for the game, his heartbreaking childhood, and his need to hide his hobby from his wife and child.
Through the two parallel storylines, Cecilia explores the doubts and heartbreak that plagues not only Sabrina’s life but also casts a shadow on her father’s life. The Marble Collector is thought-provoking and beautifully written and illustrates that shining a light on someone else can help you truly understand yourself. Sabrina begins to confront her own doubts and her own marital issues only after discovering that her father had similar problems when he was younger.
This book had a certain type of melancholic atmosphere to it – Sabrina’s frayed disconnect with both of her parents is jolting but a little devastating. And her father’s childhood is filled with guilt and mistakes but also innocence and naivety. The relationship between Fergus and his siblings allows the reader to reminisce about their own childhood and their own relationship with their family.
This isn’t a fast-paced book – it progresses gradually. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The book is wonderfully written and should be savoured and not rushed. I recommend this to readers both young and old. The parallel timelines allow readers to relate to different characters in the book, whilst also being intrigued and interested in the different storylines.
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