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Publisher's Summary

What would happen if a tycoon decided to turn England into a theme park? Before anyone could say "Windsor Castle," replicas of all of the kingdom's great landmarks - from the Tower of London and Westminister Abbey to the National Gallery and everything in between - all turn up in one place. And what if credit-worthy tourists could escape to this island that permits vast expense accounts and prohibits paparazzi?
Copyright ©1999 by Julian Barnes; Copyright (P)1999 NewStar Media Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • Booker Prize Finalist
"A treasure chest of wordplays, ironic imagery and gemlike phrasing that's sure to amuse." (The Wall Street Journal)
"A brilliant, Swiftian fantasy: a virtual England." (The Economist)
"...an uproarious farce that mocks both our postmodernist suspicion of the authentic and our Disney-like willingness to turn that embrace of the ersatz into a money-making machine." (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • EpsomUnited Kingdom
  • 02-26-04

Amusing and very familiar!

This is one of the first audio books I have ever bought and, based on this, I will be buying many more. The writing is quirky and witty, the subject matter intriguing and all too familiar - it rang bells with me all the way through (but hey, maybe that's because I'm a 'Brit').

The narration was pefect and easy to listen to - ease of listening is a problem I have found with other books but not the case here.

If you are English and want a laugh, or not English and want a challenge, then this is the book for you.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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

Loved the narration but it skips some sections

The narration was great. But if you’re following along with the book be alert for several missing sections. It sometimes skipped two sections at a time.

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

Good Book, Not-so-good Audiobook.

The story itself is good. It's interesting and poignant, a little weird, but it has some human universals that anyone can connect to. It's painfully literary in a lot of ways—"progressive" male author "explores" female sexuality with a female main character who likes sex, the narrative uses "fuck" a lot, etc.

This audio recorded, though, is pretty bad. The performer does not pause when the chapter is over. It makes this book really quite useless for a student—which I am—who needs to read a certain number of chapters by a certain date. The chapters it's divided into are different from the book, so that's useless. In the audiobook, I'm on Chapter Six, but in the actual book, I'm on Chapter Two. It's somewhat infuriating. The recording itself is poor quality and a little painful with headphones. The use of voices for different characters is okay, and the tone the performer uses is alright. The quality and lack of chapter divisions are the real problems that made really took away from the experience of this audiobook.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Fran
  • Northridge, CA USA
  • 02-23-04

Not for the Average Yank

Unless you're a complete Anglophile, knowlegeable with Brittish slang, colloquialism, geography, culture, and comedic nuance, you will have a difficult time getting into this story. Half the time, I had no idea what they were talking about and I consider myself to be well above the literacy line. I could not force myself to hear more than two hours worth and that's rare for me since I love audiobooks. I found the narration one-dimensional and the voice of the narrator seemed to be a monotone.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-02-18

Incomplete audiobook

The narrator is lovely and her voice and diction are wonderful. Overall, I had a nice experience with this audiobook. I disagree with the intonation of some of the parts, but even that I could have overlooked. However, what I cannot overlook is the fact that entire sections of the book were skipped. One time over 10 pages at once! I am glad I was listening and reading at the same time because I would have missed several important moments of the novel. You see, I read this novel to write an essay on it and the theme I chose to focus on was precisely the question of authenticity and culture as merchandise and some of the bits that were skipped had precisely to do with that. I don't understand why those parts were omitted but I do hope that this review is published and that other people will be aware of this if they decide to purchase this audiobook.