The obituaries for Gerald Candless were respectful. He had been, after all, an admired and popular writer, and his sudden death at his home in Devon was a loss to literature as well as to his family and friends.
The trouble was, as his daughter Sarah soon discovered, that it seemed that her father had taken on a different identity that he wasn't Gerald Candless at all. But if he wasn't Gerald Candless, who was he?
©1998 Kingsmarkham Enterprises Ltd; (P)2009 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
My previous listen was marred by the reader having a strong regional accent which was at odds with the characters, so having Francis Barber read this was a breath of fresh air. The plot was certainly not superficial and this tale of a family dealing with trying to find out who was really the person who had dominated their family for so long was intriguing through many twists and turns. Fantastic characterisation made each character so realistic through all their failings and successes. OK, I need to hear the end again to finally work out the final twist but would really recommend.
This is one of the best books I've listened to recently - and I listen to a lot! Frances Barber is a brilliant narrator, and the plot is very clever - keeps you guessing until the end. The characters are believable and interesting. The title is explained eventually - intriguing. One of those books you don't want to put down. Highly recommended.
Wife, mother, reader. Preferred genres include psychological fact and fiction, comedy and (auto)biography.
Like all of the other Barbara Vine novels I have already read them all at least twice before. This tale of the strange and hidden early life of recently deceased novelist Gerald Candless was beautifully narrated by the smooth vocal talents of actress Frances Barber. The regional Suffolk accents and London dialects were fantastic too and juxtaposed well with the more measured tones of the three Candless women.
In conclusion: an excellent tale, compelling and very moreish.
Unusually for a Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell novel I found the early chapters unengaging and thought I might give up, however after six chapters the story took off and became riveting. Her hallmark of exploring the psychology of unhealthy, unhappy and damaging relationships pervades the book. There are few wholly sympathetic characters but I was carried along by the intriguing mystery the resolution of which is only revealed in the last few chapters.
Francss Barber energized the story with her ability to create different voices.
Barbara Vine rarely disappoints and this is one of her most haunting and memorable novels. There are the usual twists and turns and guessing games going on - I never quite buy her female protagonists, they are usually very cold and aloof - but that doesn't stop this being an intriguing and addictive listen.
This is the story of a man's relationship with his two daughters, and with his wife. He's a great writer, but a very flawed human being. The book explores how this has affected his family, and what effect his death has upon them - and the very final part explores the events that made him into the person he became. It's a slightly unconventional format, but it certainly kept my interest. Not a thriller, not even a who-dun-it, but a thoughtful and engrossing story, with the advantage of an excellent narrator.
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