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The Watchmaker of Filigree Street Audiobook

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

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Publisher's Summary

It's 1883. Thaniel Steepleton returns home to his tiny London apartment to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow. Six months later the mysterious timepiece saves his life, drawing him away from a blast that destroys Scotland Yard. At last he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori, a kind, lonely immigrant from Japan. Although Mori seems harmless, a chain of unexplainable events soon suggests he must be hiding something. When Grace Carrow, an Oxford physicist, unwittingly interferes, Thaniel is torn between opposing loyalties.

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is a sweeping, atmospheric narrative that takes the listener on an unexpected journey through Victorian London, Japan as its civil war crumbles longstanding traditions, and beyond. Blending historical events with dazzling flights of fancy, it opens doors to a strange and magical past.

©2015 Natasha Pulley (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

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  •  
    Invested Ivana 09-05-15 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beautiful Story"

    There is so much going on in this book that it’s hard to isolate just a few things I liked. I’ll talk about a couple here, but there are so many great parts in this book.

    The Watchmaker of Filigree Street sets a touching love story against a historic time of social and political unrest — Irish terrorists are bombing London in protest of British rule; women in England and other parts of the world are dissatisfied with their inability to vote and restricted independence; and Japan’s feudal and agrarian society is fighting a losing battle against the influence of Western culture and technology. After doing a little web surfing, I discovered that a lot of the history relayed in the book is accurate, including the bombings that are central to the story. I find historical fiction much more impressive when it can deliver a mostly-accurate history lesson at the same time it’s entertaining.

    Another part of this story I appreciated was the subtle descriptions of what true love really looks like. In one part of the story, Mori encourages Thaniel, who has synesthesia, to draw and paint when he sees when he listens to music. Mori insists on hanging the drawings on the wall, even though Thaniel believes they are worthless. Mori describes Thaniel’s drawings as much more interesting than the paintings he just bought by that depressed Dutchmen (referring to, I’m assuming, Van Gogh).

    In another part of the book, when Mori visits Grace and Thaniel’s new home, he is obviously unhappy that the music room is unfinished and there is no piano, though Grace’s laboratory in the basement is completely finished. Later, the reader learns that Mori sees Thaniel as a pianist while Grace sees him as an ordinary man who occasionally plays the piano. This makes a difference to Thaniel and affects his future choices. These are subtle parts of the story, but they say quite a lot about the relationships between the characters.

    The narrator, Thomas Judd, did a great job with the voices. As I was listening, I didn’t think there was a lot of obvious variations in voice; but in hindsight, I never had any trouble distinguishing between characters. In particular, Thaniel’s, Mori’s, and Grace’s voices were perfect for their characters.

    There is also the sock-stealing clockwork octopus, the cheeky workhouse orphan, the way clairvoyance is imagined, the wide range of diversity in the story, and the scientific cleverness displayed at the end. I can’t say more without giving too much away, but you’ll know what I mean when you read it. :)

    This is just a fraction of what is so fascinating about The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. There are layers and layers of personal and social commentary in this book that, though presented in a historical setting, are so appropriate for today’s culture.

    Really there isn’t much about this story I didn’t like. I only want to note that it is a slow, quiet story. For some people, slow and quiet stories can be hard to read and even harder to hear. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed this story, I found my attention wandering at times. But if you like the slow and quiet story, then give this book a try. It’s pretty impressive.

    Copy provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. Review courtesy of One Book Two book review blog.

    19 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deliah the Space Rigger 08-26-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Steam punk multi-verse with Japanese flair"

    The book starts off slowly and I found myself put it aside from time to time. But it gradually built to a great pace and narrative, with a surprising ending that was delightful and touching. Worth sticking through to the end.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorfet 04-29-16
    Lorfet 04-29-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "A Thinking Story"

    I went back and re-read others' reviews to see what was liked and disliked about this book so that I could see how my review might stack up. I must say that I enjoyed the book and did not agree with most of the negatives listed by audible reviewers. I thought the story was fascinating and the ideas and suppositions that were generated within the story about pre-determination and whether one is able to change their destiny were fascinating.

    I liked Mori and Thaniel a great deal; however, I did not find Grace to be a very charming or personable character. She was very distant and academic. She was obviously intelligent but her inability to connect with most people was disconcerting. She was openly hateful and dismissive to her own parents and acted very narcissistically. I am glad she had some measure of happiness at the end of the story, but I felt she still had a looooong way to go before redemption.

    To the reviewer who was angry with the homosexual story line. I am sorry if you were put off by this, but it was handled exceedingly well and there were no over-the-top displays of affection to deal with or even a large part of the story that spoke of this. But it was very integral to the story and if you had not determined that this is where the story was heading, then I fear you were not paying a lot of attention in the first place.

    One must listen closely to this story or you might miss small clues that will become important later in the book. I liked the way the story went back and forth in the timeline as a device to explain Mori.

    Thomas Judd was AWESOME with the narration of this story. Bravo!

    I would recommend this book as an awesome book when you are wanting to hear something intriguing and thought-provoking but not action-packed or vulgar. It was quite humorous at times and the descriptions of the clockwork items Mori designed were imaginative and made me wish for a clockwork Octopus. I will be watching for more from this author.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kayla.the.librarian 09-22-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Victorian Steampunk Mystery that Wasn't for Me"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I never really connected with the characters, but I detested the ones that I liked by the end. I liked Grace enough, but I was put off by some of her behavior toward the end of the book. I did NOT like Mori, though I can't really say way. Thaniel was too wishy-washy for my taste.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Natasha Pulley again?

    Just because The Watchmaker of Filigree Street did not work for me does not mean that I would avoid her writing in the future. This was her first novel, and I'm sure that her future work will only improve.


    What about Thomas Judd’s performance did you like?

    Thomas Judd did a great job of keeping all of the characters from different cultures distinct. He was able to mimic other accents without making them cartoonish.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The book started off swimmingly, but it started to drag with the flashbacks (which didn't translate to audio very well). I loved the descriptions of all the locations, and Katsu, the clockwork octopus, was adorable.


    Any additional comments?

    The Watchmaker of Filigree Street reminded me of The Night Circus, and I think TNC's fans would really enjoy this book.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Kraus Kingston, PA, United States 03-02-16
    Joe Kraus Kingston, PA, United States 03-02-16 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Murakami without the Lightness, and with Confusion"
    Any additional comments?

    I probably needed to spend more time on this intriguing book. On the plus side, it reminds me a bit of Haruki Murakami’s work. It reminds me as well that, while Murakami makes that blend of magic, science, and self-discovery look easy, it’s actually very difficult to pull off.

    In this one, we have a trio of central characters. Thaniel and Grace are Londoners with assorted family issues, and Mori is a master clockmaker (and more) with strange powers for influencing others.

    At its best, the book raises striking questions about the nature of time and the capacity for an individual to make choices in a world that may be predetermined. The late touch that calls for a series of coin tosses as a means of escaping apparent predestination is really striking, both as a plot device and as a philosophical idea.

    The uncertainty at the heart of those questions is hard-wired into the story, though, and a chief result is that the often out-of-sequence narrative calls for real care in reading it. I don’t mind having to work my way through a book, but this one has an odd habit of seeming to say, “You should have been paying closer attention a chapter ago when things seemed light-hearted or concerned with detail.” As someone reading it quickly, I kept missing those details, and I often found myself bewildered. If I’d realized the book was expecting me to read in such a different fashion, I might have been more taken with its striking irregular rhythms.

    On the plus side, this held my interest even as I discovered there were huge parts I’d simply missed. Pulley has a capacity for strong detail to go along with the philosophical questions she raises, so I held on through my frequent confusion to see how it all wraps up.

    I have to agree with others who have complained that the start is simply too slow. I’d add as well that I found the conclusion confusing, but that may well be my fault since I allowed my confusion to grow as fully as I did.

    Bottom line: there seem to be real virtues here, but don’t underestimate it as you go in. It has the tone of a light read, but it demands your attention throughout. It’s a compliment to compare this to Murakami, but if it has some of the impressive weight of Murakami’s questions, it lacks the powerful lightness that Murakami manages to maintain through so much of what he does.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    virginia United States 11-02-15
    virginia United States 11-02-15 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wildly Creative and well written"
    What made the experience of listening to The Watchmaker of Filigree Street the most enjoyable?

    It's creative story telling and imaginative and inventive sense of time and space and mix
    of cultures. The addition of Gilbert and Sullivan into the plot, as I am a big fan of G&S.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    My criticism is not of the ending but of the authors view of women. I don't think
    he trusts women to be straight forward and compassionate. I was a bit disappointed
    in his treatment of the female character.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Many scenes were colorful and magical. It is hard to pick one scene, but the development
    of plot was engaging


    If you could rename The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, what would you call it?

    I like the name


    Any additional comments?

    Alternate realities and relative time create intriguing themes.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kimberly 02-11-16
    kimberly 02-11-16
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    "A bit odd..."

    And not easily followed. Not sure what the point of all of it was. Interesting enough, but odd.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Too Happy 08-20-16
    Too Happy 08-20-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The narration is as good as the book.
    "

    Or is it the other way around. Couldn't have known the ending. Took quite a turn. Had to reverse it. Very few books hide the ending from me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill L. 08-04-15
    Bill L. 08-04-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A great read"

    Highly recommended! Interesting characters and setting. Well plotted. I loved it. Fifteen words required. Here are more.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer United States 12-01-16
    Amazon Customer United States 12-01-16 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    30
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    Story
    "ok"

    somewhat hard to follow sometimes in the story . Things would change and you would think what happened. Did I miss something

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Wras
    Kildonan
    7/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Random gears makes it unpredictable, free."

    If you remember the future and control it through what appears to be serendipity, could you be trusted not to change every event to suit you?
    This is one of the many questions that arise from the peculiar world of Keita Mori and his creations, mechanical and otherwise. Thaniel Steepleton will become his best friend 1883 and his entire life will change through an act of terrorism, and a miracle of horology.
    This is a beautifully written book that is magical and atmospheric, with a thriller at its heart that for me detracted from the magic and atmosphere the character and the period created with so much depth.
    Natasha pulley is very good writer, and a creator of worlds that become real and palpable like the creations of Mr Mori.
    Entertaining brimming with fresh ideas and a confidence in the writing that compels you find out and stay in movements of this story.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • anne
    Bedford, United Kingdom
    8/15/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An enchanting read"

    What a lovely gentle book. Not my usual kind of book so the author and narrator were new to me. However I will definitely look out for them again! The characters were well drawn and engaging. The narrator voiced them all beautifully and the story was fairy tail perfect.

    23 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen
    Radstock, United Kingdom
    8/3/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A little gem"
    What made the experience of listening to The Watchmaker of Filigree Street the most enjoyable?

    The story is very good, but flags in places and the ending very very rushed - but I found the performance by Thomas Judd to be excellent - much more subtle accents than usually provided which underlined a key plot-line - very well done indeed.


    What other book might you compare The Watchmaker of Filigree Street to, and why?

    The premise is a bit science-fiction, but because of the West to Japanese cultural exploration, the 1000 Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    I liked the relationship between Grace Carrow and Matsumoto, particularly the early scenes in Oxford.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The sadness of Grace when she realised her hopes and dreams may get dashed.


    Any additional comments?

    Can't believe it's a debut novel!

    15 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • A. E. Wright
    Liverpool UK
    9/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unexpected pleasure."

    A confident first novel, and excellent narration. Well written apart from a couple of historical mistakes. Unusual topic, good character development and good plotting. I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to more from this author.

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Georgia
    8/27/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slow to start but totally worth it"

    It took me about 6 chapters or so to get into this however it is mysterious in all the right ways and has some massive unseen plot twists that left me reeling. Utterly fantastic!

    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Penny M.
    8/16/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really enjoyable book"

    Excellently woven story that keeps you guessing. Complex characters too. Couldn't stop listening. Would highly recommend to anyone who enjoyed Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

    23 of 28 people found this review helpful
  • J. PERROTT
    Surrey
    7/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent story, good performance"

    This story is full of twists and turns and is definitely for anyone who enjoyed books like His Dark Materials or Harry Potter. I hope Pulley writes more.

    The narration is marred a little by a repetitive tone in the actor's voice which grates after a while. I did manage to relax and enjoy it, however, and his characterisation is very good, indeed.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Chris
    Manchester, United Kingdom
    10/13/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Pleasantly unexpected"

    I like a story that contains the unexpected and there was plenty of it in this story. There were points which felt like they were rushed for the sake of tying up plot lines, perhaps the results of editing down but they did not detract too much from a thoroughly enjoyable read.

    I liked the narrator's handling of the material. His accents were nicely understated.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Justine
    Bulls, New Zealand
    10/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This was a fascinating book"

    As soon as I finished it I went looking for another book by Natasha Pulley but unfortunately there are no more (hopefully in the future as this was her first book).
    This is an amazing book and I really enjoyed it. The story line kept my interest right through, and the ending was excellent.
    A suggestion to audible listeners - make sure you listen to the date at the beginning of the chapters - I missed a couple and got really confused and had to go back to the beginning of the chapter to listen for the date!
    I enjoyed Thomas Judd's reading as well.
    I thoroughly recommend this book if the summary appeals to you.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Tales of a Librarian
    10/4/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Clever as Clockwork"
    Where does The Watchmaker of Filigree Street rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Ranks within the top twenty audiobooks I've listened to.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street?

    The explosion during the operetta was one of the more memorable moments.


    Which character – as performed by Thomas Judd – was your favourite?

    Thaniel Steepleton


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Loved the moment when Mori and Thaniel called each other by their first names.


    Any additional comments?

    This book has a very slow start. You need to be a good third of the way into it before the pieces start to fit together, so if you are someone who isn't bewitched by prose for its own sake or you need dropping in the middle of the action, then this is probably not for you. That coupled with Thomas Judd's peculiar way of half swallowing words during the first third of the book is a bit off-putting. However, persevere and you will be rewarded. On the surface this appears to be a straight forward tale but it is multi-layered, shifting and ultimately very satisfying. What is truth? Well in the end you'll find yourself doing as Thaniel did and making up your own mind. Aside from the richly depicted historical setting, the political intrigues of both England, Ireland and Japan, this is an unusual and gorgeously woven love story.

    Part of it's charm for me was that you can only really be sure of Thaniel throughout the entire story. Any of the other characters might be lying or giving abbreviated accounts of the truth. You come to feel as torn as Thaniel over Grace and Mori, which is where the slow build up pays off with an explosive finale. This is one of the best books I've read this year. As fiendishly clever as clockwork and quietly encompassing some big ideas on cause and effect, probability and remembered futures - look back and marvel where a different decision was nearly made each time. Definitely one to bring your brain for but still fascinating, entertaining and haunting. Highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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