Seventeen and sure of nothing, Maria has left her parents’ small-town grocery for university life in Dublin. An ad in the Student Union – “2 females seek flatmate. No bigots” – leads Maria to a home with warm Ruth and wickedly funny Jael, students who are older and more fascinating that she’d expected.
But one day something Maria glimpses by accident blows her mind open, and she is forced to question everything she thought she knew about sexuality. A poignant, funny, and sharply insightful coming-of-age story, Stir-Fry is a lesbian novel that explores the conundrum of desire arising in the midst of friendship and probes feminist ideas of sisterhood and non-possessiveness.
The prose is artful and crafted, but what is painted is a field with some trees, with a glimmer that once traversed to is cant be explored.
Okay so I listen to this, thinking, great writing, maybe over the top in places, each gap filled with witticisms and observations, and I really don’t like being negative, particularly of someone so talented, but where was the story? The romance, the drama, and the ending? I think it could have worked as a short. Maybe even as a bbc TV drama.
I’m more disappointed for the novelist then myself, who is obviously very skilled and has a lot to offer. But there are three main problems. First there is no really story, second the protagonist who is seventeen is characterized far beyond her years. And when finally the ending is five words (it would be like an epic adventure tale ending with, “and they found it.”)
In order for me to get closure on this, I'll have to add my own words, so I know Maria found the person she loved (even a hug would have done).
Sorry, I just gobsmacked at how abruptly it ended. It was obvious she liked Ruth, but not enough to conclude the story which did not indicate how much. I feel more effort needed to be put into building the affection between these two. Its a story untold now.
It’s possible I’m too sentimental, but please check out reviews on goodreads, etc. and others rather the just judging based on my own emotional skewed view.. It’s possible for others the weight of the prose will be more significant part.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed the story but not as much as the other books by this author. The storyline was good but dragged on a bit at the end, nevertheless a good book.
This is a lovely story about 17 year old Maria who leaves home to go and study in Dublin. The book centres around her discovering who she is, who she really wants to be and finding her sexuality along the way.
I read this book years ago on first going to university and many of Mariah's thoughts and experiences resonated with me. However, revisiting this as an older (although maybe not wiser!) listener has not diminished it at all.
I particularly like books that captivate not necessarily by their exotic storyline but by making the everyday enthralling. This relies on good dialogue. I always think of it as being like the kind of banter I have when out with friends where the deep and insightful ricochets off on farcical random tangents. In other words, how people actually speak.
Emma Donoghue is supremely good at portraying people and makes this simple story far greater than the sum of its parts.
The narrator is perfect and I could happily listen to her reading the phone book. Luckily she has something better to get her teeth into!
What did you like most about Stir-Fry?
Not my usual style of audiobook - sometimes it is time for a change. I found myself drawn into this novel, engaged by the characters, the storyline held my interest and the narration was excellent. Fortunately I had the time, through illness, to listen in long spans, which grew longer as I sought to find out how the story ended.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Rachel, I think. Not the heroine but the star. Rachel was not the central figure but was such a sympathetic creation.
What about Caroline Lennon’s performance did you like?
Pacing is first class, clarity of diction and the right accent. I have heard Ms Lennon read a number of stories; in this case, unlike the others, she was on home territory and added to my enjoyment. That said, this was a happy coincidence. Ms Lennon is a most accomplished reader, regardless of where the book is set. She draws out the story in a most engaging way.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes - it took just two days as I was unwell. I can think of some audiobooks (no names, no pack-drill) that would have sent me to sleep - I am not a good patient. Stir Fry, and its narration held my interest and involved me in the story telling. It is the involvement that is important.
Any additional comments?
Highly recommended - I shall look forward to listening to it again. So, I know the ending (no spoilers from me) but that means I can concentrate on the language, the details of the plot and a lovely reading.