I once read some of this book aloud to friends on a long car trip. Many of the sentences are a joy ride on their own--you don't know where the sentence will take you, and what the journey will be like. Such was this reading of the book--only far better to hear this exquisite narrator revel in the delight of the sentence structure. The story is great in its own right--a mystery novel that fully holds its own--but the plot pales compared to the joy expressed by the narrator in the reading of it.
The narrator really brought down the calibre of the piece. His own accent was fine when speaking first person, but he could not make me feel that this story took place in Dublin. Any of his accents of other characters—all Irish—still sounded British, and his voices for women, no matter the age of the character, sounded old, feeble, and rather pathetic. Still the story kept me engaged in spite of that sad mismatch. That speaks to the writing.
Perfect combination of story and reader. The writing is so simple, sentences so chopped, it required an actor's reading. Donald Sutherland doesn't rush a word or a sentence. It's rivetting each moment, ironically in a story where time passes so slowly. I felt that I was in the presence of masters, both writer and reader. The few obvious times where there was an edit and the volume changed were the only times I had a jolt into reality.
I had tears in my eyes when it ended, simply to have to leave the harsh and tender beauty of the fiction.
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