It's among the best.
It would be hard to pick a favourite among half a dozen sympathetic characters. I think perhaps the old priest, because he is so clever, kind and flawed.
In the dialogue, he differentiated among the various characters without caricaturing them. His reading was very sensitive and seemed to reveal things about the story and characters I had missed when I read the book myself a few years ago.
Alchemy meets Catholicism in the north of England ... but I don't think that would sell the movie very well.
Hilary Mantel is a wonderful writer.
I've read and listened to several novels by Muriel Spark in the past, and have always enjoyed them. This is the best yet, and in fact I don't know how a novel could be any better. As soon as I finished listening to it, I went back to the beginning and started again, and loved it just as much the second time, It is quite a short book but it's amazing how leisurely it feels. Scenes are described in meticulous and vivid detail. Even the most mundane interactions, viewed through Spark's eyes, are fascinating - whether funny or horrifying, or both.
Nadia May's reading is also perfect. She gives each character a distinctive and appropriate voice, and her narration is cool and insouciant, which captures the author's tone wonderfully.
Yes, I'd recommend it to someone who likes stylish funny unsentimental British fiction. The meticulously rendered seedy London mid-twentieth century setting and the many diverse characters make it a joy to listen to.
The characters, and the way they were portrayed by the narrator. Some are sympathetic, most are funny, at least one is really quite awful!
I've listened to several others. They're always good, including this one.
Yes, it was hard to put it aside.
I would probably not try another book by Murakami. This one had a certain weird appeal but I found it long, wordy, and slow. I will certainly avoid anything narrated by Rupert Degas, unless I'm sure that there are no female characters, because he adopts an unconvincing falsetto when voicing females. They all sound exactly alike - like a man trying and failing to sound like a woman. And much of the book - at least as far as I got - consists of the main character (a man) repeating long stories told to him by female characters. I found it very distracting, then infuriating, and eventually stopped listening.
I haven't tried any others.
I don't know. He would have been okay except for the strange quirk of putting on a fake high voice for female characters. Good narrators (David Aaron Baker, Andrew Sachs etc.) don't do that.
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