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Confusion

Narrated by: Jill Balcon
Series: The Cazalet Chronicles, Book 3
Length: 14 hrs and 19 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This, the third volume of the best-selling The Cazalet Chronicles, takes up the story of the Cazalet family in the spring of 1942 and follows them through the war to VE Day. Polly and Clary have left Home Place for London where Archie Lestrange keeps a close eye on them; Louise, surprisingly, has married; Polly makes a painful discovery; Zoe, despairing of Rupert's return, stumbles on solace; and Edward's duplicity demands a reckoning.
©1993 Elizabeth Jane Howard (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Lush, sprawling escapist fiction of the first order....Howard creates a nearly palpable world, peopled with the sort of well-conceived characters that linger long in the reader's mind." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Confusion

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  • Jane
  • 10-06-2016

Just so very good

The stunning 3rd volume of the series by this much under-appreciated writer packs a massive emotional punch. The understated artistry of the writing is the driving force here, and is marvellously served by a very fine narrator.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Lynn S. Rozental
  • 09-05-2015

Wonderful

This is one of those books it is far better to listen to than to read. The narrator adds so much. Ms. Howard writes about children with so much understanding and yet also gets into the minds of the cook and the wonderful elderly governess and the stately yet broadminded matriarch. Fans of Downton Abbey will heartily enjoy this series.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Rosalind Britton
  • 18-12-2014

Takes Me Home

Would you listen to Confusion again? Why?

The reading is extraordinary. Jill Balcom is a fine actress; I watched her on the BBC when I was growing up in London. She manages to differentiate between characters with just slight inflections and changes to her voice. She gets the accents and intonations SO well.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I don't have a favorite character. They are all so finely drawn and developed from the first of the chronicles and grow up or age wonderfully.

What does Jill Balcon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I mentioned this attribute in the first section: her ability to give each character a personality. One gets to know the people by their voices.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

So much of the series reminds me of my growing up in London during the 50s, and from what my mother told me, of life during the war in England. So many of the things in the book, from food to specifically British things like Harrington squares (terry cloth outer diapers) bring back my childhood. Even the streets where they lived are in my neighborhood! And musicians are mentioned that I knew. Extraordinary.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Alison
  • 10-09-2014

Addictive, Easy, Indulgent

I had never heard of this series until Audible, cleverly, kept suggesting it to me. I am now on this, the third book of the series and hopelessly addicted.

The characters are (almost) all frightfully posh, very privileged and insulated from 'real life' in so many ways. The war comes as a terrible shock, and yet, with their huge country house to escape to, plus many grand London homes and mansion flats, they cope.

The things I like are the rattling plot lines - though in this volume, I am getting very tired of the children so often leading the narration. It's OK to see life through the eyes of 10 year old Neville now and then, but not as much as this. Otherwise, the plot lines, of which there are dozens, really get along at a good pace.

I also like the way the characters are presented. I don't LIKE a good many of them, but that's not a problem. Also, and cleverly, they are allowed to develop and mature as the volumes progress.

I also like the narration. I see from reviews that whilst many agree, some do not, and I can see why. But this narrator, with a cut-glass style (thus, she struggles a bit with servants' voices, but it's not too bad) does really suit the utterly upper-middle class setting.

Sometimes I have been annoyed by bits of the story, but if I'm really honest, it's an effortless listen, a posh family soap. My next 2 credits are due today and I am going to get the last 2 volumes. Addiction. But I am going to force myself to listen to a gory murder or a history book first to refresh my palette!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Knucklebones
  • 23-04-2013

Disliked the narrator and the story

This is the 3rd of the unabridged 'Cazalet Chronicles' books read by Jill Balcon. I'd started to dislike her narration in book 2 ('Marking Time') but since I'd stupidly bought the whole 4-book set I ploughed on with it. The characters from this family saga who had interested me in book one ('The Light Years') were effectively sidelined in this book, as the focus moved almost exclusively to the 3rd generation of rather self-regarding young adults. Balcon's voice veers between deep and piping, depending on whether she's depicting adults or children, and unless I wore headphones I often missed what she said. I also found there weren't adequate pauses between different scenes - I thought I was listening to one group of people only to find that the story had moved on to somewhere entirely different. It shows how little variety there is in Balcon's reading for me not to spot the switch of location until several minutes had passed. I enjoyed neither the narration nor the story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • pixie
  • 03-10-2014

Great book

If you could sum up Confusion in three words, what would they be?

Great family saga

What did you like best about this story?

everything, in this book the focus is on the younger members of the family.

What about Jill Balcon’s performance did you like?

Everything..Jill has a special style well suited to a family saga. Loved it.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No...best to listen in stages, you won't want to hurry this book, there is so much to take in, it is beautifully written

Any additional comments?

All the books in the "Saga" are lovely...a real treat to listen to, the characters are well drawn and the war years full of incidental detail....really enjoyed all of them.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Johanna Gibson
  • 08-08-2020

Another fantastic audio book<br />

Another great narration by Jill Balcon. She reads with such feeling. I wish she had done all 5 books in this series.

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  • Pearl B
  • 12-07-2020

These Books are Remarkably Good - buy the lot!

This review is from Volume 1, as it apples to all.
I had no idea that Elizabeth Jane Howard was such a brilliant writer. Her ear for dialogue is breathtaking and the way in which she draws her characters is exceptional. They are really rounded, and grow and change with their experiences. She manages to make even the less pleasant ones multi dimensional, so that just when you think it is impossible to like them, you see a situation from their point of view and feel their humanity. Even her portrayal of the children has depth, and her capturing of the way in which children talk to each other (and even think) is magnificent. I cannot recommend this book, and the other books in the Cazalet Chronicles, highly enough. I sent the set to a friend of mine who was not reading much, and she read the whole lot in one go. I think she stopped to eat and sleep, but....

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  • g hart
  • 07-07-2018

Slightly disappointing ending

Slightly disappointing ending. I would have liked to read a few more paragraphs to bring everything together but extremely good nevertheless.

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  • Kaat Vrancken
  • 07-02-2018

I can't wait to listen to part 4!

What a story! What a performance! Every time I drive my car, I live with the Cazalets. Love the characters, all of them.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-11-2017

Engrossing story set during WWII

Beautifully written and narrated. Excellent 3rd book in the series. Each character comes to life.

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  • david dodson (purple triangle ltd)
  • 09-11-2016

Fantastic book

I have know completed all five books in this series. I hardly ever give five stars but these books totally deserve it.
I didn't want any of them to end. I feel like the characters are real people that I know. I can't put my finger on what makes them so brilliant unfortunately, as I wish I could write stories like these. I loved the innocence of the children and the time. I couldn't wait to go to bed to be able to listen to them. I completely and utterly lost myself in every one of the books. It's interesting as such things as morals and thoughts on life are as relevant hundred years of so ago as they are today.
I would totally recommend all five of these books. I cannot sing their praises enough.
The narration was absolutely fantastic with lots of different voices to have to change into. I did read that the narrator was a friend of the writer. Excellent work well done, I wish I spoke as beautifully as you do.
You must must listen to these books.

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  • Gabrielle Harvey-Jones
  • 07-11-2016

Oddly compelling!

I have found myself strangely unable to stop listening to the beautifully written and superbly read slow unfolding of the complex lives of these beguiling characters. These appear to be made all the more complicated by the seeming inability of many of them to be straightforward with each other! Sadly, a lesson for me, when I look back at my own life!
I am guessing here, but I can't help wondering if the author would be rather pleased at this outcome!