The year is 1967. Thirteen-year-old Maisie is at her decaying family home, once a medieval abbey. Lucas, an artist and friend, is painting a portrait of Maisie and her sisters. Maisie embarks on a portrait of her own: telling the story of herself, her sisters and their lovers, and of her friend, Daniel Nunn.
Twenty-three years later, Lucas's now-famous portrait features in a retrospective of his work. Daniel, obsessed by the sisters and determined to understand what happened that last summer at the abbey, pursues the answers to the past.
©2005 Sally Beauman (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
Robert Glenister is so relaxing to listen to. This was the main reason I first picked this to listen to, he is one of my favorite television actors and I had previously enjoyed another narration by him. The story had me intruiged from the star and I enjoyed the slow reveal as we gradually grew to understand the complexities of the relationships in this story.
Had I been familiar with Sally Beauman's later writing, I would never have chosen to listen to this audible offering- I would have read it. I listen to books while carrying out mindless tasks and was annoyed at having to drop the broom to rewind some exquisite prose passages. Worse yet, just under two thirds of 'The Landscape of Love' is a stream of consciousness style telling of the story of the sisters Mortland by Daniel, one of the most richly imagined * characters I've ever encountered and not a fit diversion for the half mind I used to listen while cleaning up the detritus of an encounter with the edge of tropical storm Erika.
Robert Glenister's Dan demands and commands your attention from the beginning of his narrative, just as Beauman wrote him. Had I read this book, I would not have understood Dan's intimate narrative tone until well into the story, then been forced to revise my understanding of the narrative. While there are a few mysteries in this novel, gradual revelation of Daniel's character is not one of them.
Be aware this is no romance- the (unfortunately retitled) 'Landscape of Love' is, at it's heart, about the small and large, intentional and accidental ways we hurt and diminish those we love. It's about the way we fool ourselves, justify our actions and diminish our own lives.The original title 'Sisters Mortland' was just about perfect- pretty much covered it all. Listening to it was an immersive, sobering and unforgettable experience.
*(okay, fine- it's a cliche, but there are no other words for it- think of the depth and completeness of Humbert Humbert.)
"A great listen"
I've greatly enjoyed listening to this and although the plot is sometimes predictable, I was hooked into listening as soon as I started. Great literature it isn't, but it's well enough written and very well read by both readers. I enjoyed the shifts between the 'Summer of Love', 1967, and the 1980s and 90s and the evocation of both of these times. I recognised references in the plot to several movies (I think) - the main protagonist Dan is a film buff - but I may be wrong. Anyway that isn't something that is blunt in the novel. The story is told through the eyes of 3 different characters - Dan and 2 of the sisters - and as the layers of deceit are revealed, people and events shift and change in their nature and things are not as they seemed to be. Thoroughly absorbing and highly recommended.
I loved this book great story telling full of love passion and twists and turns don't want to speak about the content and spoil it for other I will just say this is a great book a must read. this book would make a great film or TV drama
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