From the best-selling author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, a ghost story, a psychological thriller and a tale of love rediscovered.
Elizabeth has been married to Michael for ten years. She has adjusted to a fairly monotonous routine with her wealthy, decent but boring husband. Part of this routine involves occasional visits to Beinn Caorrun, the dank and gloomy house in a Scottish glen that Michael inherited. There are memories there that Michael will not share with her.
But then Michael begins to change. It starts when he thinks he sees, in a picture, the figure of a girl on a landing. As he changes, life becomes so much more fun and Elizabeth sees glimpses of a man she can fall in love with at last. But who - or what - is changing Michael....
©2009 Paul Torday (P)2013 Orion Publishing Group
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I read this as a print book first and couldn't put it down. The people I was on holiday with thought I was very rude. This audiobook is excellent too. The story is gripping and the narration very good. It's quite spooky and disturbing.
How sad that Paul Torday died recently and not very old - I would have hoped for more books from him.
"Gripped from start to finish"
The story centres on a couple who are in a dull but servicable marriage. Michael spends his time in his gentleman's club mixing with a bunch of buffoons and with few interests apart from shooting and fishing. These are not shared by Elizabeth, his brittle wife who is in a stressful job and resentful of having to socialise with Michael's friends. They have put up with eachother for ten years but appear to be on the brink of separation. Then things mysteriously change when they take a trip to Ireland and Michael sees a ghostly figure in a painting. Elizabeth begins to see her husband in a completely new light and realises he is completely different from the man she thought he was.
This is a truly original spooky tale weaving in themes of racism, mental illness, national identity and love within a marriage in ways I did not expect. I loved the characters and really cared about what happened to them. The story is unpredictable and densely atmospheric and it is brilliantly read by the narrators.
If you are looking for a fresh take on the ghost story genre, then I thoroughly recommend this book to you.
"Eerie and haunting"
I thought this was an enjoyable psychological thriller, eerie and haunting rather than being bogged down with police procedures . It's a page turner and easy listening too. Unusual.
The story has very little to do with a girl on a landing and is not a ghost story. It doesn't seem sure what it is. I didn't like the characters, but in all honesty that may be because i found them difficult to relate to. This is most evident in the epilogue, I won't give anything away but it is almost comical. Would be bizarre if it wasn't so boring.
"Reader spoilt it for me"
Female reader was great but started to dread the male taking over so gave up
"better than girl on the train"
Far more realistic plot and character interaction than the girl on the train. Was left a little puzzled by the picture, the linen press and the landing but otherwise really well done. Interesting themes as well.
"a fallen angel of sorts"
Apparitions and mental conditions, inventions and creations of the mind
This story is about letting go, returning to a more wild state, a place before nations and nationalities a place where legends, sensual, sexual passions and the true savage live, a place where you follow your instincts till you howl at the moon. Commune with the goddess and hunt animal all animals, till you disappear into the primordial forest in your mind.
A marriage of convenience between two strangers, and old fashion life where modernity is intruding into the set British ways of doing things, old gentleman's clubs, fishing trips, boring social dinners, a boring boring life, where Michael unbenounced to everyone has began a plan of escape, a transformation into a past where there were only primordial men and forests. The first glimmer is a girl in a painting, followed by her ever growing reality that awakens in him a surprising Michael, that sparks passion in his wife, even love, controversy in social circles and a dislocation of reality, that seeps like blood into every cranny of their lives.
Very well written, full of atmosphere and contradictory feelings for the reader, the characters are well written and the settings feel real and full of life. Avery different thriller that is not about capture but scape and there is where this book will have some detractors, it is not conclusive but open ended and even allegorical in its ending like the feelings it awakens in Michael; that like his namesake is a fallen angel of sorts.
Both readers are very good and make a good story better.
The mystery in this tale kept me hooked. Both narrators matched the characters and the whole thing was very enjoyable.. If a bit dark at times.
"Couldn't put it down!"
I loved this audio book and found it hard to pause. The narrators were perfect. Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys a story with what I would consider a supernatural theme
The characters in this book are difficult to empathise with subsequently I found myself indifferent to their fates so it wasn't a tense read.
The narrator was very prim and proper, enunciated well and I suppose was a good fit for the characters since they are all high class, country houses and hunting. The narration meant it felt a bit like being spoken to by a school mistress or an episode of watch with mother though.
The story was very boring and disappointing. I kept waiting for it to build into an exciting thriller but no such moment came. As I mentioned I felt no affinity with the characters so their fate really didn't matter to me.
I'll be returning this book. So t waste your credit, there are far better reads out there.
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