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?)
This novel reads like a work created as part of a Creative Writing course; pretentious and self-conscious.
Reams and reams of "what it's *really* like to have a mental illness" stream-of-consciousness style.
Perhaps if you're an avid reader of Nexus magazine, or if you're really into mediocre Symbolist Art, or perhaps even enjoy obsessive tangental list-making, you may find this riveting.
I only kept listening out of a perverse interest to see if it could get any worse;
As an Australian accustomed to English pronunciation of words I found some American pronunciations particularly jarring, and her characterisation of the girlfriend was just woeful.
Now I'm wise to the fact that an imprimatur from Neil Gaiman is no guarantee of quality!
There are some wonderful character studies in Freddy Perfect, Zainab and her gloriously pompous and lovelorn 'fiance' Morton Fibling, and Nigel Anthony's acting brings them all to life in a very entertaining way. Provides excellent comic relief to the backdrop of a more sinister and disturbing story.
Morton Fibling without doubt.
Enjoyed every moment; highly recommended.
Discerning readers may anticipate the ending; in which case why bother? All the groundwork of the writing - a narrative in reverse- for what? A flimsy "Poor Little Rich Girl Revenge Fantasy". Boo-hoo, spare me. File under Airport Fiction
Lindy Nettleton, who narrates the part of Eve (the eponymous girl's mother) is just awful, so amateurish and annoying, especially when she starts to really emote in the more 'dramatic' paragraphs. I started to turn the volume down during those parts as it was like fingernails down a blackboard for me; just unbearable.
the entire Epilogue. I think leaving it as a mystery rather than devolving into poor little rich girl revenge fantasy would actually improve the whole novel. The aforementioned 'dramatic' paragraphs.
David Pittu's narration. He was quite brilliant at giving voices to each character and thereby giving life to the story.
Well I've actually read both of Tartt's earlier books (old school!). For me the last chapter breaking from the established style and delving into philosophical soliloquizing was a device that just didn't work. I don't remember this being an aspect of the earlier novels which I remember being all character and plot.
James Hobart, or "Hobie"; main character's mentor
Absolutely. A real "page-turner" if you can call an audio-book by that term.
Intriguing novel; I was completely drawn into the world of Theo for the first 3/4 of the novel. By the final quarter however I found myself somewhat alienated by the increasing preposterousness of the plot and repetitive ruminations of Boris (Pittu's narration saved the day there in my opinion), and I've already talked about the unsatisfying nature of the 'philosophical reflection' of the last chapter
I very rarely re-read books so no, I wouldn't listen again however that's not to diminish from this book.
Absurd. Relentless. Dark. Scatological. Hilarious. Surreal in the best possible way
I do feel that this novel and the narration (or acting really as he lends superb characterisation to all the voices) are a marriage made in heaven.
Absolutely laugh-out-loud funny. Occasionally I had to pause so I could recover from a fit of giggles.
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.
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.
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