©1950 Elizabeth Jane Howard; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
I've always liked this narrator, which is why I gave this a try. Mistake. I listened to over half of it expecting something to catch on but finally skipped to the end to see if there was any kind of ending. I just don't get what the author was aiming for. The central character's life is so joyless and hopeless. Her way of resolving this is to take a big risk on something and then the book ends. All I could think is, I hope that works out for her.
Well, first of all I refuse to "sum up" this book in three words. That really is ridiculous. Any work deserves more respect than that.
This is really what I call a "vertical" novel. There is relatively little horizontal or chronological "action" that propels the plot. It's not that kind of book. The development goes downwards, (or upwards, depending on your perspective) deeper into the people and places that inhabit the story. Think Graham Greene. Think Gaskell.
Howard is fantastic with character and place. I love her people. I care about them and even the enigmatic, keep me interested.
Well, she is, hands down, THE BEST. I would listen to anything she cared to read.
I don't think this is for everyone. Certainly not for those who must have something "happen" every moment. There are relatively few "dramatic" instances. Like Gaskell, she often examines quiet lives/
This is not for people who love action packed narrative, but if you enjoy deepening your knowledge and understanding of the human condition, come to this book. The narrator is The Best. No contest.
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