The unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Dawn Frenchs’ second brilliant novel, Oh Dear Silvia, featuring a full cast of readers including Gareth Armstrong, Jane Collingwood, Beattie Edmondson, James Fleet, Llewella Gideon, Jack Lowden, James McArdle, Pauline McLynn, Patrice Naiambana, Celine Rosa Tan, Maggie Steed, Ruby Turner, and Dawn herself.
Who is in Coma Suite Number 5? A matchless lover? A supreme egotist? A selfless martyr? A bad mother? A cherished sister? A selfish wife? All of these. For this is Silvia Shute, who has always done exactly what she wants. Until now, when her life suddenly, shockingly stops. Her past holds a terrible secret, and now that she is unconscious in a hospital bed, her constant stream of visitors are set to uncover the mystery of her broken life. Meanwhile she must lie there, victim of the beloveds, the borings, the babblings and the plain bonkers. Like it or not, the truth is about to pay Silvia a visit. Again, and again and again...
©2012 Dawn French (P)2012 Penguin Books Ltd
Julie Adelaide :)
The voice of the sister drove me nuts!
Read the whole thing :)
Over acting sister.
Not my cup of tea. A bit slow and depressing sorry.
Yes...we studied this book for our Book Club. I was the only one to listen to it...everyone else read it. The narrators bring each character to life in such a way that I felt I knew them all personally. At our Book Club meeting I played some of the audio so that my fellow readers could enjoy some of the characters for themselves.
The narration was wonderful.
Each character was memorable in this book...no-one stood out more than another...they were all fabulous.
This is an audible experience which moved me through the gambit of emotions from laughter and tears and everywhere in between. Brilliant concept in which the characters develop with each page. Thoroughly enjoyable! Great Job Dawn!
After a slow and slightly grating beginning, I really became involved in the story and all it's characters. The contrast between personalities and perspectives, was enjoyable and the plot was engaging if not completely flawless (some characters over do it at times). I enjoy much of Dawn French's work, this is no different, fun, thought provoking and a good listen.
As a ICU nurse I have witnessed these scenarios. I found it fascinating to imagine Silvia hearing all of this twisting quirky and yet familiar portrait of a family.
I loved it!!
This book is witty, sad in places but absolutely hilarious! I was laughing out loud, only Dawn French could write something so funny so eloquently.
This is very well read by several people, including Dawn French. They all do a great job. In some places I was laughing so much I had to rewind and listen again. All the characters are believable and the book is very well written. I was left wanting more.
"Utterly Brilliant - now one of my top 5 ever!"
Dawn French has pulled out all the stops in the totally amazing story - I loved every single word!
Really well written; great idea; fabulously read by the author in her own inimitable style with nuances where only she would know they were needed; and guest narrators for each characters making everything easy to follow and totally believable.
I didn't see any of the twists and turns coming which was fantastic - loved every one!
I've encouraged all my friends to get on board with this story, I really can't praise it enough.
I loved Tiny Bit Marvellous but this is in a league of its own.
One of my Top 5 ever - definitely!
I really enjoyed this book - Dawn French's characterisations are just masterly! I simply didn't want to put it down. I usually prefer a single reader and dislike dramatisations, but the different (excellent) actors voicing the characters was wonderful bringing each person to life. I thought the premise intriguing - getting to know a person simply by the recollections of others - and this over-delivered on what I was expecting. The characters were just perfect, complex in some ways and simple in others, just as we all are.
"*oh Dear Silvia *"
Silvia is in a coma. I found it interesting that a person, and her relationships, could be 'brought to life' by her visitors and their one sided conversations.
Silvia's foreign cleaner who spoke to her in 'English' (as taught by her sons!)
I have not heard any other performances by Dawn French, but after listening to 'Oh Dear Silvia', I look forward to hearing more!
Despite the serious nature of the story, parts of the book made me smile, or even laugh out loud. The lasting feeling I got was the fact that we don't always know people as well as we think we do.
Oh Dear Silvia is so well written. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
"Great idea but..."
Used a different narrative structure. Delivery is monologues, no dialogue.
Her failure to execute a brilliant idea to perfection.
It was occasionally dull and sometimes difficult to both understand and follow
Keep the characters, but change how they worked into the narrative.
I've worked hard to enjoy this book, but overall, I'm disappointed by poor delivery of a good idea. Dawn French is an acute observer of human foibles. She knows how to extend the 'ordinary' to a side splitting 'extraordinary'. She can exploit every ounce of potential humour from any situation and her quick wit and ready repartee is a singular strength. So what happened here?
In this tale about a comatose Sylvia, somewhere along the way, much of the humour and potential poignancy was lost. I liked the idea of an individual's life being perceived and dissected from various viewpoints. But the chosen narrative format, for me, was too restricted and resulted in a string of monologue deliveries with no opportunity for dialogue exchanges. The fact that some were in patois should have added a different and engaging dimension but ended up being sometimes difficult to understand and rather stereotyped. The parade of visitors and their role in Sylvia's life was occasionally confusing. I lost interest in most of the individuals because they failed to engage as characters in their own right. Whilst there were moments of both humour and compassion, this story lacked cohesion. Parts could work well as short sketches, but the idea is overextended for novel format. Although I got through to the end, I was tempted more than once to abandon it.
This review is from the audible version narrated by Dawn French (and others). I also tried a sample download to see if reading the narrative improved the experience. It didn't.
When I started this book I regretted choosing it, as it was very slow, the characters didn't interest me, and I found it irritating.
It got better - and the plot developed, but I probably won't listen to it again. It's an interesting subject to write a book about, but it seemed a bit contrived. The characters were either all good, or all bad ... Except Silvia, who remained an enigma....
"Funny, poignant and seriously good"
I loved this book, read by the author and a cast of actors. More than a book, for me this felt more like a play. Great characters and a very clever storyline. Would definitely recommend, makes you laugh out loud and shocks you too. Excellent.
I was so excited when I saw a new Dawn French novel as I love A Tiny Bit Marvellous. Oh Dear Sylvia just didn't live up to my high hopes at all. I don't know if it was the radio play feel of it with a full cast reading their own lines that I didn't like...maybe I will try reading the book to see if that makes a difference...I don't know, i already feel let down. Full cast might have worked better for A Tiny Bit Marvellous as that was broken in to sections narrated by the different characters.
I should really have read a synopsis for this - I assumed because D French wrote it, it would be all warm and bubbly like her - error!
This was a really grim wee book. Sylvia is in a coma and we are introduced to those who visit her and her caregivers. None of them have a happy background, so the interactions are very depressing. I also found that the sound quality wasn't that great, it was like they were mumbling and I had to put the volume up quite high.
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