The author should have taken more risk - and used more of her personal experience.
She seemed to match her delivery to the writing style, which meant to me it remained primarily the author's work - thanks to Ms Hicks.
The policeman; a rubber duck with a hole in it would have more personality.
I don't think the author knows much about police procedure, nor violence, neither depraved nor overt; her steamy sex came across as a dying snail she was keeping good distance from by poking at it with a long stick.
I understand that the golden rule in writing fiction is to write about things you know about. The author, I firmly believe, does have real talent but, please! Write about something that has meaning for you and which you really love.
a woman contemplating reasons for divorce
Ms McMahon was excellent all round, it would be churlish to pick any one particular character
in the final analysis, boredom
I am not one of those admirable readers who read/listen to a book to the end, regardless. If I get anything more than whiff that I am not enjoying the book, gets binned. I listened this book to the end and did so without hesitation (oh, all right, a slight hesitation).
When I decided to write reviews I made a few rules for myself. The golden one was, no spoilers. This makes for a difficulty for me in reviewing this book because, to explain why two/three stars rather than my original inclination to give three/four star s would entail disclosing a spoiler.
Just about every character in the novel is unpleasant, not hugely so perhaps, but nonetheless, unpleasant. Those few who are not unpleasant compensate by leading unpleasant lives. The unpleasant attributes of the players are never leavened with some more positive strain of human behaviour, the misanthropy is total . This makes for depressing reading. The subject matter, bullying and the deliberate acts willingly undertaken in order to inflict misery on another person is a behaviour that, like death, diminishes us all.
Consequently, the combination of unlikeable characters wandering in and out of a glum narrative of distress demands a writing style that is clean and sharp in order to keep the reader engaged. This the writer does not achieve. The writing has real quality but there are puzzling positions... The main character tells us how attractive, physically attuned(for sport) and successful an all-round wife (if unhappy) and mother she is and yet, is simply baffled as to handle a life problem of no great dimension (at least for someone as gifted as she is) . As the novel proceeds, the writing softens with the accumulation damp padding, resulting in the burden becoming too great, and so it sags and is finally overwhelmed.
The quality of Ms MacMahon's reading, almost rescues the story; indeed ,for me, she kept it sufficiently alive to help convince me to stay with it to the end.
As to the spoiler conflict. If you write a tale in the first person in which the teller is also a character (in this case the main character) you are limited in your view of the novel's landscape. You are unable to reveal to the reader as to what Paul and Betty wossname get up to in bed every Wednesday afternoon because you weren't there and can't know.
Equally, if you are present during, actions/behaviours that effect the mind set of you, the teller of the tale, it is not credible for you the author, to conceal that knowledge from the reader simply to enhance the dramatic effect. You can't go through a novel as the first person character, constantly saying no-one loves you because you never give people big hugs and leave it at that until the last page, when you reveal that you lost both arms at the last battle of Ypres.
On occasion, UK TV puts out the film 'Mary Poppins'. Fresh as Lenin in his tomb, the showing may still provide a frisson of pleasure to Londoners of a certain age, as they once more have the opportunity to experience the dire misery of Dick Van Dyke's ludicrous attempts at a cockney accent. Down the entertaining years, on this or that side of the Atlantic, each side has put up a champion to wrestle with the other way to pronounce the English language (I make no reference to the Antipodes; even I can spot a lost cause). For example, I am told by American friends that Mr. H. Laurie's attempts, in a major TV role, are most worthy - but no cigar. For my own part, Renee Zellweger, in the first of the 'B. Jones' films is spot on, and there are of course, many more instances of success and failure. Until now I have only been aware of such elocutional jousting within mainstream entertainment, but here, it is in "Teasing the Devil" and "Three in a Bed" two pretty examples of obscene, back-alley tosh. We have an awfulness in the execution of 'the other' accent - in this case an American(?) 'doing' an English accent - which fully grants Ms. Jilian Powers the right to carry the torch first lit by Mr. Van Dyke and to carry it high. Even before telling the stories (I use the term loosely) she betrays the fun to come when claiming the them to be "narra-ted" as opposed to "na-RATE-ted" One of the delights of Ms. Monika Belle's pornography is that it is to be told with a home counties' accent from an erstwhile pupil of Cheltenham Ladies college. Instead, where there should have been lasciviousness, Ms. Powers' hollowed out 'English' vowels stapled across an, oh, so American delivery , has managed to create bathos. Alas, for poor Ms. Belle, all that effort at intellectual endeavour - treated with the same, indifference by Audible.com as that company has, in this instance, shown to its customers. As to the actual content...When the main character is an English girl named 'Paige'...well, I should have been warned ' im Voraus' - as might have been said by that other cockney - Karl Marx.
Mr. Lesser is a servant to the story, his gift is to provide without being 'seen' to provide.
" What made the experience... the most enjoyable?"
Who wrote that?
Were these questions put together by someone from one of those off-shore call centres?
The most gratifying aspect was - for Dickens anyway - the story's lightness of touch; in contrast to the schmaltz smeared on by several modern interpretations. This is specially true with reference to Tiny Tim.
Incidentally, surely it is either, 'the most' or, 'one of the more'? I mean, it is Eng. Lit. we are discussing after all...
A Christmas Carol is, in truth, a short story and therefore to compare it with the longer - much longer - novels of Mr. D. is not to compare like with like. I have listened to several of this writer's novels narrated by Mr. Lesser and I can say with emphasis that the freshness of his multi- faceted interpretation is unobtrusive - yet never slackens.
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