I admire Ms. Atkinson's ability to weave a simple sentence into a beautiful tapistry. She writes beatifully. But, I found this book difficult to keep up with. It jumped from one scene to another, from one time to another, and often seemed to have missed entire scenes until they appeared suddenly much later. At first, it felt like a series of exercises in a class for descriptive writing. The stories seemed totally disjointed and I found myself wondering if I even wanted to continue. But threads became evident, and eventually the connections were made. By the last 3rd of the book, I was no longer interested enough to care and when I fell asleep, I didn't bother to back it up to replay it. I, personally, was disappointed in it overall, but I must say again, the author has a beautiful technique and talent for description. Couple that with the voice of Susan Jameson, and the issues I found with the structure become tolerable.
I am always slightly puzzled by the mixed reviews on various books, and realize that everyone has different tastes. Having said that. however, I am a loss to understand why this book did not captivate everyone who read it. As other reviewers have stated, the structure of the book is ingenious. The characters are fascinating, and the ending has some surprises. Jackson Brody is not a typical hero, and the people who populate the book are eccentric and unpredictable. The narrator was flawless, and I was disappointed to discover that she only narrates one other Kate Atkinson book, and that only five of her books are even available on audio. One of them (the next book in this series) is only available in an abridged form. I've already bought the book in print form (well, actually for my Kindle - so Amazon gets my money in either case) and will hope for more Kate Atkinson books on audio, hopefully read by Susan Jameson.
I'll start with the positive -- on a sentence-by-sentence level, Atkinson is a solid writer. Nothing particularly spectacular, but nothing wince-worthy either.
Unfortunately, at any higher level than that, this book is awful.
* There are coincidences at a level to make Dickens blush.
* There are plot points that come out of nowhere (Brody's inheritance, for example).
* There are wild events that are more appropriate to a Tom Clancy novel or a Roadrunner cartoon (does anybody except Wile E. Coyote attempt to kill someone by dynamiting his house?)
* The detective does virtually no detecting -- probably just as well, because by the time the third case comes his way, we're almost 2/3 through the novel. One of the cases is solved by one phone-call.
* The stories are resolved with the kind of magical wand-waving that I associate with Victorian literature, not modern serious writing.
I was pre-disposed to give this novel a lot of leeway -- as I wrote above, Atkinson's writing is very solid, which is a nice thing. But I just don't even begin to understand the glowing reviews this book is getting.
It is unusual in some ways, although not a unique format. It took me a bit to get into the book, but I am glad I stuck with it. I very much enjoyed the book, although I agree with some of the other reviews, the ending is a bit of a disappointment. The performance is outstanding and the book is a worthwhile listen. I would read other books by this author.
An avid reader who cherishes my time with a good book!
I had reservations about the way the book was structured at first but the author does a good job at tying it all together and delivering an interesting story overall. It was a little slow in parts but in general this is a good read.
While the story is read beautifully, in the end it is quite disappointing. Four disappearances/murders are carefully described. A hero appears who is determined to find the villains who did them, and the writeup promises that they will all be surprisingly related. But by the end of the book only one case is resolved, and no relationship is shown with any of the other cases. Basically, the writing just peters out, giving a very blah impression.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
It took me a while to get the hang of Atkinson's writing. The story line meanders a bit but is eventually - and artfully - brought back in line. The characters are quirky, flawed and very real. As with her other books, this one felt complete. The ending isn't rushed, but is paced exactly like the rest of the book. It all adds up to one terrific listen.
I really enjoy the accent used by the narrator for the characters, I could see myself in Cambridge. The unspoken thoughts were funny. I love the way each case intertwined with the other.
Finely written and wonderfully delivered by Jameson. Disappointed in the resolution however, making me think I missed something.... But the journey was awfully good indeed.
I like books that have interesting characters and easy to follow plots. For example, Cormoran Strike, is a great character for me.
When I read the great reviews about this book, I was really looking forward to the listen. I was terribly disappointed. The author was trying to be creative in her approach to writing a mystery novel. However, she failed terribly. This was more a sociological study than a mystery. I think the author fell in love with her own words at the expense of the plot which was confusing and, even more disappointingly, unsuspenseful. The reader was terrible. Why do readers of English novels have to make their English accent so overly English? Could Susan Jameson have rolled her "R's" any longer.The plot was confusing and the ending like a limp rag. I couldn't wait for the book to be done. If you're looking for a good well written mystery novel, try anything by James Lee Burke or Henning Mankell.