Fifteen years ago, Susan Morrow left her first husband Edward Sheffield. One day, comfortable in her home and her second marriage, she receives - entirely out of the blue - a parcel containing the manuscript of her ex-husband's first novel. He writes asking her to read the book; she was always his best critic, he says. As Susan reads, she is drawn into the fictional life of Tony Hastings, a maths professor driving his family to their summer house in Maine. And as we read along with her, so are we. As the Hastings' ordinary, civilized lives veer disastrously, violently off course, Susan is plunged back into the past, forced to confront the darkness that inhabits her, and driven to name the fear that gnaws at her future.
Tony and Susan is a dazzling achievement: simultaneously a riveting portrayal of the experience of reading and an engrossing thriller, written in startlingly arresting prose. It is also a novel about fear and regret, revenge and aging, marriage and creativity. Absolutely not to be missed.
©1993 Austin Wright (P)2011 Audible Ltd
“Absorbing, terrifying, beautiful and appalling. I loved Tony and Susan and became intensely involved in it. Parts of it shocked me and I am not easily shocked. It is easy to say that something one has read is unforgettable, but this novel I know I never shall forget.” (Ruth Rendell)
“A f***king masterpiece. I wish that Wright was still alive so that I could tell him so.... It's going to become a living, breathing, knock-out classic. Astonishing.” (M J Hyland)
This is a well written book, but the subject matter is far darker than what it appears. I wouldn't recommend it for late night listening.
This is a book within a book. The primary story is of Susan a woman who on the face of things has a good life. The secondary story is one you read along with Susan as she reads a manuscript sent to her by her ex husdand. If the author had just stuck to this secondary story expanding it here and there I think he might have had a decent book but he chose to pad it out with Susan's story instead boo hiss! In any book you have to like the characters and the big revelation about Susan is she's thoughourly unlikeable........that's it. She's a cowardly cheat who would rather live with another cowardly cheat than shift for herself. God I loathed this woman and feel robbed of the time I had to spend listening to her whine.
I thought this was going to be profound etc. but slow
and very uninspiring? listened to the end waiting for
this to pick up.
"Tries too hard"
The author attempts to create a relationship between the narrative of the main book, Tony's story, and the reader of the book, Susan. Susan is the ex wife of the author of the book within the book and perhaps regrets her divorce from that author. The book Susan is supposedly reading is moderately interesting - but never really touches our emotions. When the main story gets more interesting, the author deliberately pulls away from the main narrative to explain Susan's relationship with her ex husband (the author) and with her current husband. Austin clearly tried to create a tension between the main narrative which is a thriller and the secondary narrative which is a story of a long term and perhaps unsatisfactory marriage. They are, I think, deliberately unrelated. But because we are constantly being moved from one story to the other, we never care about any of the characters. The experimental aspect of the book is obviously an attempt to create two parallel stories which are completely unrelated - and the author may simply be playing with narrative styles. But the result is boring and terribly unsatisfactory.
"What were they called?"
Those sweets with the menthol centre? Lockets? Soothers? Yes that’s it. Hard on the out side and a soft soothing nectar released as the exterior melted away. That’s what this story reminded me of in two ways. Firstly, it is a story within a story and what a story. A great narrative aligns you with its characters to the point where you believe you know these people, the point where you feel their pain and know their thoughts. This is such a book. Secondly, Lorelei King (Susan) narrates hard and bitter while Peter Marinker’s voice gently caresses the ear like honey over fresh toast. So moved by his voice, in future I will be searching for books narrated by him as the number one reason to buy them.
"Clever Idea but ...."
Not sure if it really worked and the ending was a bit of a let down to say the least.
Almost like the entire book was ruined by the author running out of ideas rather than waiting to see if he could think of something a bit more meaty.
"Writers and partners don't mix!"
Susan and Edward were divorced a long time ago. Out of the blue, Edward asks Susan to critique his manuscript about Tony, a man driving to Maine with his wife and daughter, who meets tragedy on the lonely night drive there.
The narrators were great, particularly King, who is a favourite of mine anyway! My only gripe is that I didn't really understand the end, so if anybody does, please let me know!
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