©2002 Michael Frayn; (P)2002, 2004 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
"A compelling story about secrecy and betrayal." (Booklist)"As it plays out to a surprising denouement, this enigmatic melodrama will keep readers' attention firmly in hand." (Publishers Weekly)
"Martin Jarvis's performance is intelligent, precise, and brilliantly nuanced. He captures all of Frayn's sardonic humor, as well as his more serious moments of philosophizing." (AudioFile)
This is no Copenhagen, the brillant play by Frayn. The two boys are impossibly, endlessly and tediously credulous, while one of them, the narrator, is at the same time unbelievably perceptive about the little village (wonderfully depicted -- but the book needs more than that) and its humdrum people. Not much seemed to be happening half way through, though one see where it is all leading, and no children's imagination could be that overheated. The reader, however, kept me going that far; he is wonderful. But I still gave up.
This story is intelligent, suspenseful, poignant and told from one of the most genuine "child's points-of-view" I've ever read. The reader is terrific and his ability to differentiate the characters is amazing. He never sounds childish but invests the reading with a child's determination and earnestness. I loved it.
This is a wonderful story, very well read.
It is the book that Ian McEwen wished he wrote!
Touching story, mostly recommended for listeners who appreciate plots surrounding civil life during World War II.
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?)
Just finished this and not what I had expected.
A very different book, gripping in a funny sort of way, enjoyed it and got totally engrossed in the plot.
The world as seen by a child's mind in the last war, difficult to explain without saying too much about the plot.
Would not suit everyone, as at times it requires patience, but recommended non the less.
"A great yarn - Boys!"
I enjoyed listening to this book (it was for book club) and whilst I would never have chosen it, I enjoyed it.
The smell of the hedge - I remember it well from my own childhood and knew what it was straight away.
He has a great storytelling voice.
I think it ended well enough - I think all the ends were tied up so that a follow up would not be needed.
I would never have chosen this book and am glad that I got to it through a book club - a good way to discover new areas of interest.
"not my cup of tea"
I found this tedious. I pushed on to the end and finished with relief. I bought this as. I loved one of his other book, skios. Funny as I notice a review of skios has said the exact opposite and preferred spies!
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