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The Long Room

Narrated by: Michael Healy
Length: 9 hrs and 47 mins
3 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

London. December 1981. The IRA is on the attack, a cold war is being waged, another war is just over the horizon, and Stephen Donaldson spends his days listening. When he first joined the Institute, he expected to encounter glamorous, high-risk espionage. Instead he gets the tape-recorded conversations of ancient Communists and ineffectual revolutionaries - until the day he is assigned a new case: the ultra-secret PHOENIX, a suspected internal leak.

The monotony of Stephen's routine is broken, but it's not PHOENIX who captures his imagination. It's the target's wife, Helen. Beset by isolation and loneliness, Stephen becomes dangerously obsessed with Helen, risking his job to keep his fragile connection to her and inadvertently setting himself up for a fall that will forever change his life.

With compassion and tenderness and moments of unexpected humor, Francesca Kay charts the way in which imagination, projection, and desire overwhelm the paucity of Stephen's life and identity. As beautiful as it is intense, The Long Room explores a mind under pressure and the wilder cravings of the heart.

©2016 Francesca Kay (P)2016 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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

Dull Spy Novel?

I just could not get into this glacially slow novel. The main character is dull and can't intact normally with people so he develops a fantasy about one of the women he has been spying on. Just didn't care.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Disappointed

I’d expected to enjoy this, but after two hours couldn’t wait to finish. I can’t help thinking a different narrator would’ve brought the Long Room to life; alas, the voice chosen for this novel is better suited for fairy-tales, as that is what it seemed I was listening to.
I’d read in a review that Stephen’s character is unbelievable, being that he is very sensitive, but I disagree; some of the most beautiful sonnets written by men. Stephen, though he has many endearing inner qualities, is sorely lacking as a romantic interest; the sort of man who creeps around, but never makes a move. I wanted to like him, but couldn’t. I could not like anyone in this book, though I tried. I have nothing against the quiet novel about ordinary people, but this is like a plain bowl of oatmeal and nothing in the cupboard to flavor it.
I paid meticulous attention throughout, but lost track during the last few chapters and now have no idea what exactly happened, nor do I care to go back and find out.
If I were the novelist, would be furious that something I’d made an effort at is reduced by the voice; such beautiful writing deserves a narrator with more panache; near painful to listen to.

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  • MCC
  • California
  • 12-07-16

Beautifully written!

Francesca Kay is an exquisite writer, her descriptions are stunning and her characterizations deeply complex. A wonderful book.

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I've Started This Over Five Times Now

And still cannot stay focused on this spectacularly unsuited for audio novel. The narrator's voice is that of a supercilious old man that grates like coarse sandpaper. Sorry, i am returning this one.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful