Rowling's first book for adults paints nuanced and elegant portraits of a panoply of characters, shedding light on the ugly and untold corners of the human mind, while invoking a universal empathy for even the most seemingly unpleasant characters. Her uncanny ability to capture the angst and anguish of teenagers is most memorable--she flexes her Harry Potter muscles in this way, but with more freedom to explore body images issues, sexual awakenings, and adolescent self-loathing.
The whole thing feels at times Dickensian--with small-town intimacy, Rowling's distinctly-drawn characters meet their daily lives and disappointments. The death of one man on the parish council sends ripples that amplify throughout the community. But it also resembles a classic Greek tragedy, as our unexpected heroes and loathsome villains crawl forward on an unbreakable, pre-determined path, bound by destiny, unable to wiggle free from the constraints of race, class, and social status.
It's not an uplifting book, but it's fine storytelling, and Rowling's picture of an English town and its immensely complex inhabitants is a hard one to put down. Perhaps because Rowling's attempt to unearth the shame they all carry deep within is so poignant and easy to identify with. Tom Hollander's performance is lovely. Overall, magical in its own way.
As a huge fan of J.K Rowling’s writing from the Harry Potter books, I must say I was a little bit disappointed in this book.
I knew it would be very different than the HP books, but I was struggling to find the J.K. Rowling I know and love in this.
I may have to read/listen a second time to get a more full comprehension, but upon first reading I was really confused. The gallery of characters in this story is huge and it took me a long time to figure out who was who, who was related and friends with whom. So many characters and storylines to keep up with and sort out.
When I finally managed to get a good overview of the characters and their relation to each other, I am (upon first reading/listen) confused about what I am supposed to take away from this story.
Which confuses me even more because I usually really enjoy stories like this in film form.
I usually enjoy movies where nothing much really happens, but we see the characters face something and develop and their relationships.
But with this one, I am really unsure of what the “message” is supposed to be, what are we supposed to feel after reading this?...
Is it that everyone has secrets? Is it that even a tragic event like a small child dying and his sister’s subsequent suicide does not change people’s opinions and outlooks on the world?
I am just not sure…
Tom Hollander did a very good job on this though. I know him from other roles and really enjoy him as an actor and narrator. He did a very good job of differentiating between characters using his voice and accents. Well done Tom.
Being a huge fan of the Harry Potter series, I was very excited to read this book. From the start I was not impressed, but I wanted to finish it since I did have an interest in the characters and seeing what happened to them. The story was somewhat boring and the ending was also a disappointment. I really thought it would be a lot better.
If J K Rowling had deleted this book before publishing it.
Why would anyone write or read this book? This one is only for someone who is so irrepressibly happy and cheerful they can't stand themselves. This book will bring you down. There is no redeeming social value in a story that causes so much sorrow.
The story is a real downer. That said it's very well written with a complex cast of characters. Because of the subject matter I would not have read the book because it's so negative. Good thing for Audible and a couple of long auto trips I managed to get through it. Glad I did because the ending is both tragic and revealing.
Of all the 20 some books I have listened to on Audible this one rises to the very top. The story , the narration, the sentiments contained within are a profoundly moving work of the highest caliber. It is no wonder that J.K. Rowling is considered a, if not the, best writer in the English language to come along in decades. Her insight into the minds and hearts of people, especially Pagford's teenagers is so honest it is nearly shocking. In this novel she has woven together an entire town's inner workings in all its humorous twists and its shattering tragedies. Tom Hollander's adroit narration was perfect. I can't recommend this book enough and I await Rowling's next masterpiece.
it was dispiriting. The dark overtones worked for Harry Potter, but in this book just caused me to lose interest ...everyone was a downer
could not finish the book, just too boring and uninteresting.
I have listened to this book more than a dozen times. The first listen was amazing and each time I hear it again I love it more. The character development is perfect and the story enthralling. The narration elevates that perfection to another level. I want more novels from JK Rowling and more performances from Tom Hollander.
I quit listening to this book about 1/3 in. The characters were all so depressing and dysfunctional I just couldn't listen anymore. I read for pleasure, so when a book doesn't fit the bill I move on to other books.