Mr Polly is an ordinary middle-aged man who is tired of his wife's nagging and his dreary job as a gentleman's outfitter in a small town. Faced with the threat of bankruptcy, he concludes that the only way to escape his frustrating existence is by burning his shop to the ground and killing himself. Unexpected events, however, conspire at the last moment to lead the bewildered Mr Polly to a bright new future - after he saves a life, fakes his death, and escapes to a world of heroism, hope, and ultimate happiness.
Public Domain ©2012 The Estate of H. G. Wells (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
Paul Shelley is one if those "I could listen to him read the phone book" narrators as far as I'm concerned, and a good thing, too, as the story itself never got any traction. I've read other reviews that there's lots of humor here; I think I laughed once, perhaps twice. Also, there's mention of a theme of redemption, or not giving up when things seem hopeless. Well, that's true in a sense, but not really as far as I'm concerned, as Polly's ability to "start over" came through less-than-honest means. As far as what to expect specifically, the first part of the story opens with a miserable protagonist at middle age, and then flashes back to his childhood and youth, not as grim as David Copperfield's, but I saw echoes of that novel in it. Once we return to the starting point, Polly contemplates doing himself in, that plan goes awry, with him leaving his unhappy home to seek new adventures. Ho Hum.
"Character-led novel of escaping a hopeless life"
Not at all what I was expecting, but I'm glad I chose this audiobook nonetheless. It's a fairly gentle tale of one man's experience of letting life pass him by, how he finally attempts to change his circumstances, and the aftermath of this attempt. Wells is a classic author for good reason and his characterisations are very real throughout. I found this book particularly relevant for my life right now, albeit not quite so drastically, and this added to my enjoyment of the novel.
Beautifully crafted story, gently amusing and professionally read. Well drawn characters and a charming tale.
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