©1978 Penelope Fitzgerald; (P)2001 Houghton Mifflin Company
"A little gem." (The New York Times Book Review)
"This is not just a gallery of quirky still lives; these people appear in vignettes, wryly, even comically animated....On any reckoning, a marvelously piercing fiction." (Times Literary Supplement)
"Pitch-perfect in every tone, note, and detail: unflinching, humane, and wonderful." (Kirkus Reviews)
This book did not have the expected ending, where things get wound up and a kind of justice is established for the bookshop and its owner. The novel unfolds more as life does, disappointing us on many levels, but we manage. An absorbing story, yet without any shattering events. A town is created that might exist, although we book-lovers hope it does not. Highlights the little life-changing setbacks of characters in its landscape, and the small tragedies that are depressing on the whole, while the current of life in the town does go onward into the future--but a less life-affirming future--without the bookstore and its plucky owner.
Lively and clear voice; most enjoyable to listen to, and does dialect well.
This is a nicely understated work, finely etched characters, crisp dialogue, oblique humor with a gentle satiric edge. British rural life, well done.
It was a short listen but it was a very fun read just not my overall favorite. It falls somewhere in the middle of all my listens so far. There are some very funny parts in this audio that definitely made it worthwhile for me.
I was disappointed by the author's inability to fully develop these characters. She only partially captured the feel of an English village which was crucial to the plot. I also did not expect the ending to be so abrupt.
I guess I just don't "get" Penelope Fitzgerald. I'm a huge fan of Barbara Pym, Elizabeth Bowen, Olivia Manning, Muriel Spark, Elizabeth Jolley, Molly Keane and others of their ilk, but I find Fitzgerald relatively superficial. On the plus side, this is very short, amusing, and pleasantly entertaining. Perhaps that was all Ms. Fitzgerald intended.
The author had good characters , but the story started slow and ended worse. I felt the easy road was taken with storyline and was disappointed with the ending, equivalent to..."and everyone died."
I had really high expectations since this was recommended by Phi Beta Kappa's American Scholar book reviews. Also the very positive reviews here on Audible. The supernatural element is very slight and completely irrelevant. The ending is abrupt and depressing. The writing style was rather old-fashioned describing more than showing. I got bored quickly and cannot recommend this.
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