LISTENER

finnea

  • 30
  • reviews
  • 4
  • helpful votes
  • 33
  • ratings

surprisingly uplifting!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-10-2020

Having recently enjoyed Lesley Manville reading Anthony Horowitz i thought i'd give this a try -- but i was skeptical of a debut novel by a celebrity. i admit to be being pleasantly surprised. This isn't quite in the vein of Horowitz who is a master of the whodunnit. it is character-led, focused on residents in an upscale retirement village -- but somehow avoids all the stereotypes of cosy crime and Miss Marplesque busybodying to produce something quite inspiring. This is the elder community we all want to live in and these are the people we'd love be at 80. it is well written, fun, witty and warm. Not sure how The Sunday Times critic arrived at "reflects society as it is"?! To me there is something magical about it. The characters are substantial enough but they get away with a lot, rarely make a wrong turn and extract confessions remarkably easily, leaving the police a few steps behind. That this is so unlikely -- and yet plausible -- is the charm of this book. Nice chat with Marian Keyes at the end.

Best of its kind -- by a mile!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-08-2020

This is pure escapist pleasure. The plotting is brilliantly done. Not one but two perfectly constructed whodunnits. Wonderfully read. Virtually flawless :)

1 person found this helpful

Lovely story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-08-2020

Wonderful book, very compelling character -- in the vein of Eleanor Oliphant (and definitely as good IMO)

Sublime!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 22-08-2020

This is a magical, awe-inspiring book. Emerence is a wonderful character -- a bit like a Hungarian Olive Kitterage with more depth, passion and mystery. The central relationship is brilliantly written from the perspective of the writer, who seems to be an unreliable narrator to the extent that she lacks any real insight into Emerence. The fact that her dog is more clued in than she is a lovely touch. The writing is absolutely sublime in parts. There are some disturbing aspects to the story but it also warms the heart and is very funny in places. A really profound and transformative read. The performance is brilliant -- one of the best audiobooks I've heard.

Best Kelly Porter book so far!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-08-2020

Great return to form for Kelly Porter. Book 6 seemed to run out of steam but this is a great story with some exciting new directions emerging. Very enjoyable!

1 person found this helpful

Enjoyable but why the angry voice?

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

Reviewed: 10-08-2020

Kim Stone is a great character and this is one of the best stories of the series -- but i have a hard time with Jan Cramer's overdone angry voice. Sure, Kim is described as sarcastic but she is made to sound like some kind of sadistic, yelling headmistress. And it's not clear why she has a middle class Southern accent when she grew up in poverty in the Midlands. The other women all speak with a caricatural Brummy school girl voice, which admittedly wouldn't give Kim much authority. Feels like the narrator gets carried away with virtuoso accents and forgets what's actually being said.

Distracting narration

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

Reviewed: 10-08-2020

Good story and characters but the narration is a bit of an acquired taste. Great range of accents (Nicki's voice is good) but a little too extreme. A bunch of characters, including at least one police officer (inexplicably) have excessively plummy accents -- ie. not just middle class or posh but full-bore Princess Margaret! And most irritatingly, the reader defaults to a breathy Sloane voice for the general narration. Maybe this is her actual voice but i wish she'd tone it down a bit as it's just plain weird in this context. There are some LOL moments hearing 'Princess Margaret' verbalise phrases like "the old scrote" and "dragged himself up from the gutter".

Great American Novel - grotesque American family

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-07-2020

An exceptional epic of American life -- deeply resonant with the times. I noted a reader comment elsewhere, questioning the appropriateness (in the context of BLM) of a plot in which a wealthy white man and former Mayor falls victim to police brutality, attempting to thwart a racist attack on another. But make no mistake, this is no tale of white heroism or a simple appropriation of the violence done to people of colour. The reader is initially placed in the (slightly uncomfortable) position of wanting to see the perpetrators of violence brought to justice--but the way in which white privilege affords certain avenues to 'justice' (even when futile) is increasingly disturbing. "Whitey", as the slain mayor is aptly called, is the symbol of a certain American way of life --a civic-minded, well respected, WASP, family man with a business. As the novel develops, it exposes a family desperately trying to keep in tact their idealised version of "Whitey". There are exquisite descriptions of grief, anger and anxiety -- but also, more distinctively, of a shared desperation enacted with the oblivious viciousness of entitlement. Whitey is not just the beloved patriarch but a cipher for a class and race privilege that is sustained by racism, snobbery, greed and self delusion. All of this surfaces as the most grotesque characters unravel. The pleasure in this exceptional writing and brilliant reading is mitigated just a tiny bit by the fact that the characters are so unlikable. Either they are self-serving, racist, deceitful manipulators or they are slightly pathetic enablers. Anyway, Joyce Carol Oates is unrelenting in her dissection of a family that in clever ways embodies the predicament of America itself.

Eagerly anticipated but not the best in series

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

Reviewed: 29-06-2020

i am a devotee of Jo Spain + Aoife McMahon and couldn't wait for the next book in this series. it's certainly enjoyable -- especially for those who have followed the earlier exploits of this team of detectives -- but doesn't reach the heights of those earlier investigations that focused on aspects of Irish history like the Magdalen laundries. Also -- what made those earlier books so sublime was Aoife's range of Irish accents. This time round she's not so on top of the Geordie and Italian voices -- and the story feels a bit more generic. There's a changing of the guard and the characters haven't quite settled into their new roles. Ray Lennon had some good dialogue but Tom's wife is getting a bit sanctimonious!

1 person found this helpful

One of the best audiobooks of all time!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-06-2020

Superb writing, superb narration. Ignore those bad reviews. Sure, it is 'difficult' for some but this is not a flaw in the book, which is fresh and original in style, in its approach to the Troubles, and in its brilliant encapsulation of the micropolitics of gender and community relationships. Without doubt, one of the best books on Audible.