• A Very Nice Girl

  • A Novel
  • By: Imogen Crimp
  • Narrated by: Olivia Forrest
  • Length: 11 hrs and 49 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (52 ratings)

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A Very Nice Girl

By: Imogen Crimp
Narrated by: Olivia Forrest
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Publisher's Summary

"Tender, devastating, witty. And deeply true. Sweetbitter meets Normal People.” (Meg Mason, author of Sorrow and Bliss)

For listeners of Sweetbitter and Luster, a razor-sharp debut novel about an ambitious young opera singer caught between devotion to her craft and an all-consuming affair with an older man

Anna knows she has talent, but she’s always felt out of place in the world of opera. A first-year student at a prestigious London conservatoire, she lives in a grim series of rented rooms with her friend Laurie, a sharp-tongued waitress and aspiring writer. Her days are devoted to highly competitive auditions and long, straining rehearsals. At night, she sings jazz in an expensive bar, relying on her popularity with the inebriated businessmen to make rent and stay afloat alongside her wealthy peers.

It’s there that Anna meets Max, a charismatic financier in the midst of a divorce who, at 38, is 14 years Anna’s senior. Reluctantly impressed by Max - his stillness, his careful detachment - Anna soon finds herself desperate to hold his attention. As winter pervades the city, Anna begins a dangerous oscillation between hard-won moments on stage, where she can zip herself into the skin of her characters, and nightly stays at Max’s glass-walled flat. But as Anna’s fledgling career begins to demand her undivided attention, so too does Max, a situation that dangerously compounds until Anna must decide who - or what - she wants.

Intoxicatingly propulsive and written with lacerating precision, Imogen Crimp’s A Very Nice Girl is a clever, sexually charged portrait of a young woman on the teetering edge of adulthood. With heartrending authenticity and an arresting voice, it lays bare how we consciously shape our identities in the pursuit of power, desire, and a place to belong. 

A Macmillan Audio production from Henry Holt and Company.

©2022 Imogen Crimp (P)2022 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about A Very Nice Girl

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Plausible.

The narrator was soothing and really didn’t overdue the male part which is nice. Anna is how I *cringe* imagine I was at that age; restless, insecure, dependent on approval from others. It’s a shame we don’t learn more about Max to better understand him. Overall, it’s messy and not tied into a perfect bow at the end which feels authentic. I enjoyed it.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Strong Writing and Flawless Narration

An interesting take on the current state of relationships between men and women. Is Max the undercutting, emotionally abusive older lover Anna (the narrator) at times thinks he is, or is her point of view skewed by personal insecurity, input from jealous and unreliable friends, and the current atmosphere of uneasiness about "the male gaze," gender roles, and economic imbalance? Crimp leaves open both possibilities and ends on a note of satisfying ambiguity.

Anna is a frustrating character--intentionally so, I believe--and developed with real depth. You want her to wake up and focus, but you understand why she seems incapable of doing so. She's a talented singer, and the sections of the novel devoted to the world of opera, singing lessons, rehearsals, and performance set the novel apart from the more generic "university" settings of some writers to whom she's been compared.

Olivia Forrest gives a flawless reading/performance of Anna's voice, capturing her youth and emotional fragility perfectly.

I did find the book longer than it needed to be to tell what is, in the end, a fairly simple story of a relationship. The writing is admirably vivd and detailed, but some scenes repeat information we already know or take too long to make their point. Even so, Crimp is one to watch, and I was happy to have read this.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Meh...

Lots of filler to get to each point. Ending was blunt, did not answer any of the questions (accidentally) posed in the lengthy hours of the story. I wasted my time and credit, thinking it HAD to get better. Spoiler Alert - it didn't 😐