Exclusive to Audible! Listen to the author talk about the inspiration behind the book at the end of this recording.
England,1976. Mrs Creasy is missing, and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, 10-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands. And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined....
©2015 Joanna Cannon (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
"Part whodunnit, part coming of age, this is a gripping debut about the secrets behind every door." (Rachel Joyce)
"An utter delight. Perceptive, funny, dark, moving. And so beautifully written. I loved it." (Sarah Winman)
"A haunting, perceptive novel about the price of belonging. It's a treasure chest of a novel and I loved it very much." (Julie Cohen)
"A captivating new voice in British fiction. Not since Nathan Filer's The Shock of the Fall has a debut novel held the promise of such an exciting career ahead. One of the standout novels of the year." (Hannah Beckerman)
"Cannon's interrogation of hypocrisy and prejudice is insightful and compassionate...I didn't want the book to end." (Carys Bray)
"An excellent debut. This cautionary tale of a suburban power struggle is charming and truthful, at once ambitious and intimate, with playful prose that reveals an intriguing mind at work." (James Hannah)
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"1976 - long, hot and a wonderful experience"
Despite the searing heat and water shortages, the long hot summer of 1976 was a magical experience for the young and Joanna Cannon has done an incredible job in conjuring this era back for us to enjoy once again. I well remember complaining about the heat (!), the stifling houses with carpet the colour of cough medicine and long evenings pouring over the Kay's catalogue trying to work out if I could afford the 48 weekly payments of 25p for a pair of dream shoes. This is a story set in an ordinary UK town and follows two little girls and their wry observations of the adults in their locality. One man is treated as a rank outsider by the rest of the community and their struggle to understand why he is treated this way makes a very moving and poignant story. There is the mystery of a disappeared woman, an arson attack and a kidnapped baby all woven into a tale of everyday life filled with believable characters. This is peppered with very frequent laughs and the odd teary moment and is an overall triumph of unashamed nostalgia and humanity.
Paula Wilcox does a lovely job of bringing this book to life and handles the male and female characters with equal aplomb. After this impressive debut I am really looking forward to reading more from this talented author.
"Quite possibly the best book I've ever dived into"
The best audiobook I've ever heard. I'm still not entirely sure of the difference between Goats and Sheep, but I do know now it doesnt matter. As long as we always remember that unbelonging is a belonging all of its own.
The way the author literally made you smell, hear and taste the story. I moved into the lane along with everyone else. Just brilliant.
Clear, flowing, and completely believable.
Jesus is a drainepipe.
I cannot wait until she write another book. I hated it ending and not entirely sure if any other book will ever live up to this. So I've just started listening to it again.
Definitely. A joy to listen to, Paula Wilcox is fabulous as narrator but this is obviously because she's a very good actress. A very well crafted story, I had no inkling of where it was going to end, cleverly constructed.
I was born in the early 1970's and was just a few years younger than the girls. So much detail about the small things I had forgotten just made me smile. I was paying attention to the story as it unfolded but then little pockets of cultural reference would pop out. The detail of each character and their back story was excellent.
She did all of them so well and so differently I couldn't single one out.
A riveting story so well researched and written that it felt almost like time travel. I cannot praise this audio book highly enough, with the very talented Paula Wilcox it was pure joy to listen to.
"Why goats are better than sheep."
A study if why Goats and children are better than sheep. Really good characters who feel just like people you know in real life and an interesting story mostly about conformity and fitting in
"Funny, sad and beautifully told story"
Joanna Cannon weaves together a hilarious mystery full of incredibly well drawn characters. I genuinely loved this book as it was so warm, witty and well written. It might not be as highbrow as the likes of Kate Atkinson's more recent work but it stands shoulder to shoulder with such novels as its use of language is spellbinding.
"This is an outstanding book, beautifully recorded."
That hot summer.
She made you love the characters, I did not even recognise her voice initially. She did a great job.
Tilly and Gracie, what a team. I had a best friend when I was 10, and this book took me back to that uncomplicated relationship, in a good way.
I have recommended this recording to so many friends. I will listen again.
Yes probably, I loved the style of writing and the descriptions used that made even the most mundane things seem almost magical. I also loved the nostalgia about 1976, it reminded me of so much like the pips while making a call from a phone box. The detail was incredible.
The part when Tilly was sick and how it impacted on Grace was very moving
I though she was ace! Her narration was so spot on it helped me create the characters in my head.
It did both on many occasions.
"Remember the Long Hot Summer of 76?"
This book is a great listen on many levels....firstly, the nostalgia. Joanna Cannon captures the time so well; I remember the hose pipe ban, the unrelenting heat, Jackie magazine,the summer that seemed to go on forever - I was back there as my 13 year old self. It's an entertaining story about two friends who are on a mission in the school summer holidays.They meet all the residents of The Avenue, including the one who is shunned, and I really enjoyed meeting them too. It showed me that no one is as they seem and we all have secrets to keep.Their youth enables them to question adults and the world in general in a direct and innocent way - often with hilarious results.I loved that through their eyes, it made me challenge my own perceptions and prejudices and to think about the pack mentality. One great scene involves the two girls having a discussion with an elderly widower about whether a plant is a weed or not. It's a great new way of looking at the world. The mystery continues until the end of the book - and there are a few surprises.
To enhance the whole experience, Paula Wilcox is without doubt the best reader so far of all the audio books I've had. She's got a great voice, and unlike other female readers, doesn't do that annoying thing of trying to sound like a man when men are talking, or like a baby when it's a young person.She's got a really lively style and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Highly recommended - you won't want to turn it off.
"70s relived with goats and sheep"
I loved all the memories of the 70's it was the era of my childhood, and we can all (if your old enough) recall the long hot summer of 1976.
Ms Cannon brought back Tiswas, ponchos, brotherhood of man, stylophone, angel delight , blackjack and flying saucers as well as Jackie magazine.
I loved and laugh at the descriptions The carpet was the colour of cough medicine,
He was pale and shiny like the cod at the fish counter,
Her mouth was having an argument with her face,
The kind of cold that whispers into your bones.
However despite all of the above I just did not feel a connection to the story, the characters were believable but I feel the memories and funny anecdotes are the only things keeping this ok story together.
The narrator Paula Wilcox was great and did the young girls voices very well without being soprano-esque.
May be it's just me but I will not be dashing back for more.
I bought this because of the title. Wasn't expecting what I found. Wonderful descriptive language that sometimes just grabs you. The story draws you in and turns you one way then another.
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