A panoramic novel with a riveting mystery at its heart, Stoneï¿¿ï¿¿s Fall is a quest to discover how and why John Stone dies, falling out of a window at his London home.
Chronologically, it goes backwards, and Stone's character deepens as the book progresses. Here is a love story and a murder mystery, set against the backdrop of the evolution of high-stakes international finance, Europe's first great age of espionage, and the start of the 20th century's arms race.
©2009 Iain Pears; (P)2009 Isis Publishing Ltd
This is a great book and makes an almost perfect audio book. The writing is excellent - don't be put off by the length - and the story is compelling from start to finish. It charts the rise and fall of "Stone", from an obscure begining to his shocking, mysterious and abrupt end. Told from different perspectives the story never flags and is the best audio book I have ever listened to.
I persevered through Book One and knowing its story possibly helps one enjoy and understand Books Two and Three. However, if you buy this audio book, I urge you to skip Book One altogether - or read it to your self from the written word. The narration is abysmal. The narrator appears to have read the words without understanding them. He places emphasis on the wrong words and in the wrong parts of sentences. I suspect that he did not practice but simply picked up the book and read. He is unable to provide any sense that the characters are real; so poor is his ability to act. He is utterly unconvincing, and I winced my way through his reading.
The story is, however, for all that, a decent one and worth the effort. Narrators Two and Three are excellent. Isis, the publishers, would be advised to re-narrate Book One altogether.
By re-recording the first section of this book using a narrator who understood what he was reading and when it was appropriate to pause!!
Liked the ending!
I purchased this audiobook on the basis of previous performances by the narrator of the second section of this book - a favourite of mine. Also enjoyed the performance of Narrator 3 who I had not listened to before. However the performance of Narrator 1 on this book can only be described as truly awful!!!
Disliked the character narrating Book 1 but this may have been due to the dreadful reading by the narrator of this section.
Re-record the first section of the book read by Narrator 1......the other narrators' professional handling of the text highlighted the deficiencies of the first narrator who didn't seem to have any understanding of what he was reading.
The slightly dry, analytical prose that served 'Instance of the Fingerpost' so well, feels rather less organic here and there are several passages detailing the way banks operate that outstay their welcome, but Pears is such an artful plotter and his characters so vivid, that the book builds in tension and becomes progressively more enjoyable. The way each of the 3 sections folds in on itself did lead me to guess at least one of the 'surprises' but there is a certain satisfaction in that too. It's a cunning book, not an easy read, but well worth the effort.
I wanted to delete that book from my phone after first 30 minutes, and kept checking online reviews to figure out whether it will get better. It did. In the meantime I increased the narration speed to get through the boring part quicker.
The first part is by far the worst, and if I hadn't read other I.Pears books before, I would have given up on "Stone's fall" early on. It's dull, perhaps deliberately. The narrator is an poorly educated journalist from lower class backgroud, who has the job of investigating life of a famous financier -but who doesn't understand finance, and isn't interested in the subject. And why would readers care if the narrator doesn't?
The second part is much better, told from a point of view of a man of some sophistication.
And the third one is a joy to read.
All in all, I don't understand why the author made me suffer through one third of a book, to show off his writing skills later.
I tried to stay with this as long as I could, thinking that it could only get better - it didn't.
The three narrators' ranges of accents are remarkable - even within a single sentence. A Hungarian/French countess with more than a hint of the valleys and an Italian doctor impersonating a Mexican bandit with Russian overtones!
The story became very tedious and ultimately failed to enthral or even hold my attention. I loved reading 'An Instance of the Fingerpost' many years ago and so had looked forward to hearing this book by Iain Pears but will not now risk trying another of his.
I do not aim to spend any more time on the book (being well into part three shows more than willing) or this review.
I will be asking for a refund.
This is a very good listen for it explores the plot from a variety of veiwpoints. Complex but not complicated, elegant but not fluffy. Am on my third listen and still it holds the attention.
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