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The Wall

Narrated by: Will Poulter
Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
4 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2019

Narrated by BAFTA-winning actor Will Poulter.  

Kavanagh begins his life patrolling the Wall. If he's lucky, if nothing goes wrong, he only has two years of this, 729 more nights. 

The best thing that can happen is that he survives and gets off the Wall and never has to spend another day of his life anywhere near it. He longs for this to be over; longs to be somewhere else. 

He will soon find out what Defenders do and who the Others are. Along with the rest of his squad, he will endure cold and fear day after day, night after night. But somewhere, in the dark cave of his mind, he thinks: wouldn't it be interesting if something did happen, if they came, if you had to fight for your life? 

John Lanchester's thrilling, hypnotic new novel is about why the young are right to hate the old. It's about a broken world you will recognise as your own-and about what might be found when all is lost.   

©2019 Orlando Books Limited (P)2019 W.F. Howes Ltd

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wow, just wow

I have no doubt the end would have been less powerful had I known it was about to end but yeah. Amazing book that has an interesting structure or evolution of the world and characters. For example initially you don’t know it is Britain, but toward the end they refer to locations and eventually use the name, but it builds a sense of the unknown in the world.

Not a book for those that want to discuss how the distopia arose but then few titles do that. Less 1984 and more ... hmm ... Anthem, in that it deals with the daily life seen through the eyes of the narrator, without explaining the government or many of the why. (So, not that aspect of Anthem then).

It’s slow but constantly builds, it’s predictable but still surprising and yeah ... the climax and ending is something else.

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  • Miko
  • 01-20-19

Good listen, but lacking subtlety

Set in the not too distant future, The Wall takes place in a dystopian version of the UK where the populace is conscripted into service on the The National Coastal Defence Structure, colloquially known as ‘The Wall’. It takes current-day issues—climate change, immigration/asylum, nationalism—and presents them to us through a protagonist whose world is just different enough from ours that you can understand how he grew up to accept the defects of his world without question. In this, Lanchester works the magic of speculative fiction, giving us the cautionary tale, allowing us to glimpse a slightly skewed reflection of our world, showing us that this could well be the bottom of the slippery slope we are descending. It’s an entirely readable and enjoyable addition to the dystopian genre, but it lacks the subtlety and complexity that comes with the best of speculative fiction and the characters could have been more fully realised. The protagonist was developed enough to create a sense of empathy, but while the supporting characters were identifiable as individuals, for the most part, I had no sense of what propelled them and that made them seem somewhat lightly sketched.

I was impressed by Will Poulter’s narration. It’s the first book I’ve heard him read and I wouldn’t hesitate to listen to another.

All in all not a bad addition to my audible library and I'd recommend it if you're looking for an entertaining dystopian listen, just best not to go into it expecting ground-breaking new ideas or predictions for our future.

47 of 48 people found this review helpful

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  • p
  • 05-08-19

Half score for half a book

The concept was great and it started really well but it could have been so much better. The twists were unexpected but quickly wasted and there could have been some better explanation of what had happened between the two generations and how some massive structure such as the wall was created so quickly. I was happily listening and suddenly it was “audiobooks hopes you enjoyed this book”!! That was perhaps the biggest cruel twist of all.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Lewis
  • 02-10-19

For fans of 1984, Children of Men, The Road, etc

If you like dystopian fiction, then you will love this. Truly Sci fi for 2019.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • nev kidd
  • 02-08-19

Sensational story made even better by Will Poulter

This book is a well paced, thought provoking work of genius. The dystopian world Lenchester takes you too is simplistic and complex at the same time. the characters are well rounded and the whole story is highly addictive.

this coupled with the brilliant narration of Will Poulter, makes The Wall one not to miss

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Caz
  • 02-28-19

great narration - even better story!

smashed through this as my first ever audio book, I pray they're all this good

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • SJ Smith
  • 02-01-19

Highly recommended.

John Lanchester's book is very topical with themes such as migration and humanity set in a dystopian future changed by the climate and scarcity of resources. It is brought to life by the excellent narration/acting of Will Poulter who is a good fit for the protagonist, Kavanagh. I was also impressed by Will Poulter's varied range of voices which he has given to the other characters. This made the audiobook easy to follow and enjoyable to listen to. Highly recommended!

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Gillian
  • 04-15-19

Hmmmmm....

I never would have chosen this for myself... but our book club has selected it. My heart sinks when I hear that anything is set in a dystopian future... because most are based on unbelievable premises and not consistent in their architecture. This scenario was - just, and only just - ‘believable’ so that was a help. The storytelling was good, and narration excellent so I did actually finish the book (well, finish isn’t actually what happens, but I got to the end of the reading...). But there are too many cliches, too many disasters, too much despair. It’s not what I look for in a book, but you may think differently.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-16-19

Best performance I've listened to. Great story

Superb narration of a great story. I really can't recommend highly enough. I finished it in less than a week

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Rozzi
  • 08-09-19

Stunning

This is a fascinating journey into what could well be our near future. Set in a dystopia of floodwater and isolationism, it is an engaging and suspenseful story. The main characters are well drawn and original. No stereotypical heroes and villains here, there’s good and bad in all of them - just different amounts. If I could find any fault, it would be that the female characters are less rounded, less complex, than the men, but as the story is told in the first person by a young man, this works.
I really liked the narrator, he sounded just right for the protagonist and managed the other voices well.
I got through this recording really quickly and was sorry when it ended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Hoops
  • 02-17-19

Chilling tale

An all too probable eco dystopian tale. Many echoes with current Brexit tensions especially over immigration. Compulsive listening.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Jaydan
  • 02-26-19

Great story/plot

I must say before I get into the review. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The post apocalyptic world I’d imagine is extremely hard to write for predominantly because there’s so many books about it out there, and I know it can be really difficult coming up with original ideas. The storyline just sucked me in and made me want to keep listening to find out what happens.

However. I feel like the book was far too short and felt almost hollow. In my opinion, there was so much that could’ve gone into the different parts, so many places left open. I felt like the book could have been expanded to two or even three books with so much detail and plot available.
John, I don’t know if you read these, but you’ve made an amazing book with great original content and characters. I hope that you expand on his universe some day as I’d love to know more about it.
Regards
Jaydan

1 of 1 people found this review helpful