©2008 Robert Goddard; (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd.
"Written in clear, resonant prose, Goddard's first novel, nominated for the Booker prize, is a poised telling of a complex tale....In one sense a historical thriller, and in another a romantic novel of a love affair gone disastrously wrong, this is, in any case, a wonderful read." (Publishers Weekly)
"Psychological drama and intricate plot will entice readers." (Library Journal)
What a great find. Highly recommend to anyone. The story is well thought out and crafted to keep you wanting more. The narration was excellent and complemented the story line and characters. I wish Goddard had more books of this length as options at Audible. This is one of the few books I have listened to that has little to no filler. A great balance of setting the scene, the environment, the characters and always emphasizing the intricate plot contained within the book. 6 stars if I could give it.
So you don't agree with my review...? That's the grown up thing to do...tell me it's unhelpful. LOL. You people crack me up with your petty insecurities.
After this paragraph, spoilers abound, but right now you’re safe. If you’ve never read a Goddard novel, do it. His stories are long, complex and wholly satisfying if not entirely original. I read a lot of thrillers and mysteries, so quite often I can predict how a plot point is going to turn. The thing of it is, Goddard binds his readers to the story with this knowledge not by astounding you every five minutes with some fantastical twist. He doesn’t need smoke and mirrors to keep a reader going. He does it by knowing how to set tension, creating interesting characters that still have surprises up their sleeves and by helping you get ahead of the story and urging the protagonist to catch up. I’ve read his first novel (this one) and his latest (Long Time Coming) and both are equally good; quality, long-arc thrillers spiced with historical detail and real-life characters. I will definitely read more.
Spoilers set to kill.
While only my second Goddard novel, I’m not surprised at how he weaves his tales. This one is long and complex with lots of players, but I loved every minute of it. Edwin’s memoir is so tantalizing as a device and for itself and so was the search for the post-script. As soon as its existence was revealed I knew where it had to be hidden and silently urged Martin to think and could hardly bear his fumbling when I knew where it was all along! It takes a deft hand to tie a reader to the story so completely. The current trend seems to want to only do this with unknowable and unforeseeable twists in the story, but Goddard does it with knowledge, binding you to his protagonists through mutual desire for success.
From Martin’s dissipated self-interest to Eve’s two-faced game playing and Edwin’s ineffectual victimhood the story never felt slack or stale even though I could guess a lot of it. What else but a secret marriage would be Edwin’s undoing? What else could have been Martin’s undoing? Of course Eve was not as she seemed. Alex was on shaky ground to begin with. And of course Elizabeth would always be the long-suffering innocent. The only thing that threw me was Leo’s ultimate purpose. It seemed really strange to me that he’d take out his vitriol and long-distilled hatred on an innocent old woman who had nothing to do with his circumstances. Strange, but the way he morphed from kindly patron to vicious criminal mastermind was very well done. Sure he was a bit of a cliché and the whole gun incident set up the penultimate ending, with Martin’s reward at the end being the capper. Satisfying if not wholly original. I’ll definitely read more of Goddard in future.
Love having someone read me a story. Fires in the hearth, rain on the roof, sunny days and surf. Good friends, good food and J S Bach.
After I had finished listening I found that I was puzzling over a decision made by one of the characters. At odd times. In the house, driving, doing normal things..the questions would pop up. It does not seem to fit the character. Then that leads on to thinking about the decisions real people make sometimes, human frailty or inconsistency.
Goddard doesn't even ask the reader to suspend disbelief. The choice, the decision is made. Then at the end of the story another dilemma. Even though the book is finished, the story goes on and "No", we the reader do not feel compelled to learn what happens next.
I think that is clever. It is at the last Goddard allows us / urges us, to use our imagination.
And just maybe we are quite content to be ignorant. In that there is a kind of dialogue between the author, the story and the reader.
Paul Shelly reads "Past Caring " well.
Beautifully written story with characters that really come alive. The flawed nature of many of these characters gives them and the book an authenticity way beyond normal fiction. The author has an ability to lead you to guess (correctly!) at certain outcomes before they occur in the story which I found very unusual but satisfying when the tale reached that point. To find out if your guess was right makes the book unputdownable.
I hesitated so long whether to get this book.. It had relatively few reviews despite being out for 2 years and the cover artwork and publisher's summary are bland. I eventually took the plunge and glad I did! I highly recommend it.
There are 2 main characters that contribute to telling the story. A man about 30 in early 1970's is hired to find out what happened to a man who was an English Cabinet Minister (at about 1930, if I remember correctly). That sounds kind of boring, but there is quite a robust plot with a couple of unexpected revelations and some duplicitous characters. Even though there are 2 stories with a fair amt of characters, the book is not overly complex to be thoroughly entertaining. Narrator was good, not great, but I would listen to other books narrated by him. I will look for more from this author.
I really enjoyed this book. The story was well paced, with tantalizing clues promising revelations just around the corner. Even though it was long-ish, I listened though it faster than usual. Like a lot of other books by the author, there were parallel stories progressing in the past and in the present, however this one the time gap between the two stories was within the lifetime of some of the main characters, which made things interesting. At first I though the opening scene was going to be the "past" part of this story, until I realized that this was his first novel, written a couple of decades ago.
The narrator was excellent, with the local accents being recognizable but not annoying.
Love a good mystery or thriller.
It was a complex story but had so many twists and turns you just had to keep listening.
I don't think I have heard or read a book quite like this one.
This master story teller is a master at accents and different voices.
My favourite character was the narator, despite his flawed character and bad past.
Mom, married, website designer, portfolio manager in self-imposed exile (yeah Greg Smith!!), former California native, Episcopalian.
This is the third Goddard book I've listened to and I found it to be quite engrossing. The plot has plenty of good twists, some which can be foreseen. However, even when a revelation was expected, I still was eager to see how Goddard would present it. The narrator was excellent. I particularly enjoyed his Churchill. It has been lots of fun and I'm sorry to find I'm in the last hour of listening.
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