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The Cactus

Narrated by: Katherine Manners
Length: 10 hrs and 30 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (139 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

It's never too late to bloom.

People aren't sure what to make of Susan Green - family and colleagues find her prickly and hard to understand, but Susan makes perfect sense to herself, and that's all she needs. At 45, she thinks her life is perfect, as long as she avoids her feckless brother, Edward - a safe distance away in Birmingham. She has a London flat which is ideal for one, a job that suits her passion for logic, and a personal arrangement providing cultural and other more intimate benefits.

Yet suddenly faced with the loss of her mother and, implausibly, with the possibility of becoming a mother herself, Susan's greatest fear is being realised: she is losing control. When she discovers that her mother's will inexplicably favours her brother, Susan sets out to prove that Edward and his equally feckless friend Rob somehow coerced this dubious outcome. But when problems closer to home become increasingly hard to ignore, she finds help in the most unlikely of places.

This sparkling debut is a breath of fresh air with real heart and a powerful emotional punch. In Susan we find a character as exasperating and delightful as The Rosie Project's Don Tillman. An uncompromising feminist and a fierce fighter, it's a joy to watch her bloom.

©2018 Sarah Haywood (P)2018 John Murray Press

Critic Reviews

"An original, engaging and totally believable character." (Graeme Simsion)
"If, like me, you never stopped to think what a child born of The Rosie Project's Don Tillman and Bridget Jones might be like, there's one way to find out. Read Sarah Haywood's The Cactus. Meet Susan Green. She doesn't understand how funny she is, which is delicious." (Julia Claiborne Johnson, author of Be Frank with Me)
" The Cactus will be compared to Gail Honeyman's 2017 hit, the appealingly eccentric Eleanor Oliphant Is Absolutely Fine... moments of terrible poignancy." ( The Sunday Times)

What listeners say about The Cactus

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Light read

Recommend for a non-taxing read. Not too deep but pleasant and wanted to keep going.

1 person found this helpful

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An entertaining listen

I found this to be an entertaining book with serious undertones but primarily aighthearted read about a character that was comfortable being a little different from everyone else.

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Great book

A great rendering of a story encompassing many different types of people and issues. It’s like The Rosie Project and Eleanor Oliphant, but even better. Couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next.

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If you're in need of a laugh - fantastic

I listened to this at 1.5 speed, found the narration quite slow but that might be a personal attention-span thing. The character also seemed herself racing through her thoughts, too. Funny, just plain funny but also very relatable to anyone with, well, a relative...

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Enjoyable Listen.

Very enjoyable listen. Despite the main character being very straight forward to the point of being rude, she has, somehow, surrounded herself with some wonderful friends. A very enjoyable light read.

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Love

Loved this: read really well, thoughtful and independent storyline. Something different but easy to follow. A satisfying book

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Narration

fantastic narration. All the different voices well defined and clear. definitely recommend. Really enjoyed this book

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  • Afoma
  • 16-05-2018

Fantastic storytelling!

I was a bit anxious about listening to this on audio because I tend to reserve audiobooks for non fiction reads. However, I was not at all disappointed. The narrator is skilled at embodying the story and the various characters. I was lost in this story for the entire time I listened! So glad to chosen this story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Adi Ens
  • 27-06-2019

Loved it

It is so well written, with the sarcasm that I love in some writers... She all Aspergy... So funny and confusingly lovable... I enyoied it immensely

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  • Mrs. Elizabeth Middleton
  • 04-02-2018

Fantastic read

Greatly entertaining, very funny and lot of twists and turns. Very life affirming. Would highly recommend!

10 people found this helpful

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  • Jason
  • 08-02-2018

very enjoyable

a very well written story. engaging characters. I will definitely look out for more by this author

6 people found this helpful

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  • AJ
  • 13-02-2018

Great story & lead character

Easy listening that encourages you pick up again. Reader did well with conveying characters within the script..although I found some accents a little annoying at first. Thoughtful & heart warming story, a great human tale.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Hali
  • 28-05-2018

A really good listen

I enjoyed listening to this immensely. It was similar to Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine which was, and still remains one of my favourite ever reads.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Lisa H
  • 30-10-2018

A story for different women

I didn’t want this story to end, I just wanted to follow Susan on her life’s journey. This book is for all those women who have never quite fitted in.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jean
  • 26-03-2018

Loved this book.

What did you like most about The Cactus?

It is a really good read with well drawn characters and a fantastic plot. The narrator conveys the characters extremely well.

Which character – as performed by Katherine Manners – was your favourite?

Susan is a wonderfully believable character who can be both irritating and funny.

Any additional comments?

Can't wait for more from this brilliant new author.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • alexis
  • 06-11-2018

Great book

loved the story and journey that the characters go on. Very funny at points and sentimental too. I have been listening to alot of thrillers and heavy going books, and this was a welcome change!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Rose Elle
  • 09-09-2018

couldn't stop listening

You can't help but warm to Susan and her funny ways, it's lovely watching her character evolve as her journey makes her challenge how she's always lived her life. Beautifully narrated.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anne
  • 02-08-2018

Wee gem

Loved it, very funny in parts. Just a sweet gentle story that'll warm the cockles

2 people found this helpful

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  • Loz
  • 27-07-2018

An absolute joy!

I completely love this book. The story is wonderful: sad, happy, frustrating, surprising and poignant. The narrator couldn’t have been better - great accents, believable monologues and conversations, perfect speed and emotion. If you look at the title and think it’s about a plant, you won’t be wrong, but read it - it’s an absolute joy <3

2 people found this helpful