Corduroy Mansions is a fun, rewarding story--humorous, but not laugh-out-loud funny. It's comfort food in literary form. We look forward to every book in every one of his Alexander McCall Smith's series, but this series, his newest, is one of our favorites. Set in an apartment house in London, it's a contemporary soap opera with a low level of angst and a high level of pleasant personal intrigue. Life feels kinder and gentler for the hours spent with Corduroy Mansions. Could listen to Simon Prebble all day--soothing and skillful reader.
We enjoyed every moment of this witty farce. It was well written, skillfully read by Frances McDormand, and fresh and fun from start to finish--while still having the quality of literary fiction. If you want a book that will lighten the cares of the day while keeping your rapt interest, this is the one. A treasure.
It pains me to write a negative review. I just don't like to. But this was an unforgivably bad book, and I feel a responsibility to warn others. I am frankly puzzled by the positive reviews. In the years that I taught creative writing, I don't think any college student ever turned in anything this bad. The writing is painfully trite, the characters are stereotypes, the plot is predictable, and there are more cliches per square inch than I have ever seen on a printed page. I am so sorry I wasted a credit when I have a wish list a mile long. Worst book ever downloaded...or read in any form.
To be honest, I'm floored by the positive reviews for this book. I have a pretty high tolerance for "slow" and for books without action. But if this book is a crashing bore, it's not because it's slow or without action, although it is. The book is a bore because we never learn enough about any one character--the narrator included--to care about him or her. The writing is good, but unexceptional. I was left in the final analysis to say, "Who cares about any of this?" Especially coming off Galsworthy's riveting Forsyte Saga, this was a big disappointment.
My wife and I are audiobook addicts and have read dozens. This one ranks as our favorite, far and above all others. The prose is exquisite...so much so that we downloaded the book to our iPads so that we can revel in favorite passages later. The reader may strike the listener as crochety at the outset, but within the first two hours I guarantee you could not imagine anyone doing a better job. By the 10-hour mark, in fact, he was blowing us away. If you want an extraordinarily compelling story read by a powerful narrator, this is it. In our book, it's the best of the best. By the way, Galsworthy won the Nobel Prize for literature, and as you read this masterpiece, you will find yourself applauding the choice of the committee.
A cliched romance narrated painfully by an unsuitable reader. Couldn't wait for it to end. Not for those expecting literary fiction.
Stephen Fry is a man of extraordinary oratory gifts and they are evident in this reading. Montmorency is not just for kids. In fact, my husband and I just finished it and were surprised that it was tagged as part of a "young readers" series. Suspenseful, witty, fun.
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