Prospero is the mayor of a small town that has escaped the attention of the modern world. In Tapoli, news still travels by word of mouth - and it travels fast, since everyone knows everyone else in the town’s latticework of narrow streets. We first encounter Prospero at a local summer festival, where his attention is caught by a visiting Englishwoman who seems oddly familiar. As the couple embark on a curious friendship, and then an even more curious love affair, Prospero discovers the woman’s connections with his own past. As his personal life grows complicated, so does his role as the town’s mayor - especially when strangers arrive, rubbing up against the entrenched local community and against local traditions. Prospero’s own role as mayor comes under growing public scrutiny as he struggles with the conflicting advice of his head and his heart.
About the audiobook
Carr’s portrait of life in Tapoli is bewitching. He captures the personal and public tides of a parochial town with subtle dexterity; listeners will be transported to the medieval streets and basking heat of this Portuguese summer. Modern technology has barely made a dent in Tapoli, and traditional sentiments still prevail, making Prospero’s efforts to steer the town to prosperity and peace all the more challenging. With all the leadership qualities of a local statesman, the mayor nonetheless has to solve problems in a town so remote and untouched that its news hub is the local bakery. The humour of Simon Carr’s storytelling is twinned with an engrossing narrative, one that provides poignancy and pathos as well as entertainment.
About the narrator
Steven Pacey needs little introduction. A star from our screens, radios and audiobooks, he has played and read an extraordinary number of parts. You may know him for his roles in musical theatre - such as La Cage Aux Folles (2009) or Spamalot (2012/13) - or from his appearances in shows such as King Lear (2013/14) and Peter Pan (2011). More recently, he has become a prodigious narrator, turning his voice to an array of books across genres: fiction, children’s novels and more. In his own words, the great joy of audiobooks is ‘that you get to play all the parts that you wouldn’t possibly be considered for visually’. He does so here with characteristic vivacity and verve.
About the author
Simon Carr was for a dozen years the parliamentary sketch writer of the UK national newspaper the Independent. His retirement - earlier than expected - ultimately led to an abandoned smallholding in the depth of central Portugal. With the help of a digger, a tractor and with the long-suffering support of the Medelim community, he developed the wild, bramble-covered property into an idyllic little domain.