Certainly an absorbing story imbued with period verisimilitude, even some clever twists. However, only a male writer (and dare I say a baby-boomer-age one at that) would write such cringe-inducingly bad sex scenes from the P.O.V. of a young woman. If you could edit those eye-rollingly self-indulgent paragraphs out I'd give it a higher rating. Seriously though McEwan seems to have finished exploring the "privileged middle aged professionals meet at funeral and have angst-ey love triangle" genre and finally got inspired again with something halfway decent.
I'm still undecided whether it was the perfect brilliance of Stevenson's reading that made the story so refreshingly interesting, or indeed the book itself. All I know for sure is that I certainly would not have read the printed version, let alone bought it as I've been so put off McEwan for so long now. The choice of Juliet Stevenson certainly sold this to me so well done clever producers.
What a beautiful piece of writing. The title is only slightly, wryly ironic as I found this to be a Rite Of Passage story, and a beautifully evoked one at that. To say that the bulk of the story is told in flashback would be to put it too crudely but technically speaking I suppose it it. It's as much about the excruciating nuances of the English class system, the general awkwardness of youth and the fallibility of memory itself as it is about the events themselves (a particular summer of WW2 era suburban England) , as observed once through the prism of the young Stephen and then again through the older, more bittersweet prism of the older Stephen. But this is no Waugh-esque cloying nostalgia, but something much more honest and real.
I would listen to Martin Jarvis read the telephone book.
(Do we even have telephone books anymore?)
I'm a big Audio-book fan of Alexander McCall Smith (love the Corduroy Mansions series in particular) but this one is far from his best work. The central character -Isabel Dalhousie- becomes annoying after a while, falling into the McCall Smith cliches; just too comfortably smug middle class Edinburgh, with a mystery tied up too conveniently in a neat bow at the end.
Yes absolutely, I would listen to the Corduroy Mansions series again rather than the Isabel Dalhousie series though...ANY day!
Nothing, Phyllis Logan's reading is the best thing about this book, she has a very pleasing
I would cut all of the moral philosophising monologues, I found them rather laboured.
Acerbic. Witty. Amusing.
I'm sure anyone familiar with the absurdities of the life of an Academic will find this hilarious. McCall-Smith's invention of the von Igelfeld character is truly inspired; one of my favourites!
Hugh Laurie's outrageously silly German accent as von Igelfeld absolutely adds to the humour, he has great fun with the nuances.
Highly recommended, McCall Smith fans won't be disappointed with these charming stories
I would recommend this if you're after a short, dependable story of the Classic variety.
Obviously this story has to be viewed in the context of the era in which it was written as the slightly class-ist and racist views of Sherlock Holmes don't translate that well to the modern era. Very much
Timson (narrator) does a reasonable job of distinguishing the different characters in his performance and captures the slight pomposity of Holmes quite well.
Overall an undemanding diversion with no surprises.
If you're after an absorbing story and feel like being transported to another time and place (in this case early '60s Arctic-Circle Norway against a backdrop of the Cold War and NATO politics) I highly recommend this. I particularly loved the evocative descriptions of place (and Francis has mercifully avoided cliched similes for this!) , it has a gripping story-line that kept me listening almost non-stop through the second half. The narrator does a great job of bringing the characters and story to life. I even learnt something about Lapp (Sami) geo-politics and what more could you ask for out of a novel?
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