Rilke, an auctioneer, comes upon a hidden collection of violent erotic photographs. He feels compelled to unearth more about the deceased owner who coveted them. What follows is a journey of discovery, decadence, and deviousness.
©2002 Louise Welsh (P)2006 BBC Audiobooks LTD
"One of the most intriguing assured and unputdownable debuts to come out of Scotland in recent years." (The Sunday Times)
"Astonishingly this is a first novel, catapulting Welsh straight into the superstar league, while establishing Rilke as a classic original." (The Times)
Always looking for a great audible read...........
The main character is a partner in an auction house, he is asked to deal with the clearing of a house whose deceased owner has left some very dubious and questionable memorabilia. He becomes fascinated by the material, and what it might mean. So begins his trawl through the Glaswegian low life in a quest to find out the truth about the objects and photos he has discovered. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, a gripping listen, with interesting characters. It made a real change for the lead character to be an auctioneer, not a policeman, and a welcome change for the lead character to be gay, and for that to be incidental to the plot rather than part of some 'being gay leads to characters downfall' scenario. Get ready for the weekend, download the book, and enjoy........
It is very well spoken, you hang by his words. It is one of the best spoken books I have heard, the phrasing, the different accents, the emphasis - easy to listen to.
The content though is hard hitting. It leaves little to the imagiantion - gay sex, violent sex - however this is not an erotic book as you could imagine. Instead it opens up the area of violent sex that is really quite disturbing and could well upset some listeners. I think this is in part due to how well the narrator tells the story. It makes it very much alive.
I read the reviews but was not prepared for the transitory feeling of this story. Yes it is about an auctioneer, house clearance man who finds some erotic photographs of a woman whose death could be real or could be fake, but everything and everyone seems as insubstantial smoke - here one minute and gone the next, perhaps that is due to the slightly detached attitude of Rilke, the narrator. The story is loosely based on Rilke's need by Rilke to get to the bottom of the disturbing photographs he finds, but in the end the story and characters disappears like smoke.
It is a well told story with vivid, sensitive descriptions and enough pace to move the story along its twisting path. Robert Carlyle is a good story teller; I shall look out for more books read by him.
Louise Welsh writing and Robert Carlyle reading make this audible book one of the best I have heard. I am very fit now, having doubled my usual walking route to continue to listen to this fascinating tale, and hearing Robert Carlyle's incredible reading Thanks to both of you. I will buy other titles by Louise Welsh and anything read by Robert Carlyle. Evelyn Aams
Other reviewers have summarised the plot and locale. All the superlatives have been used up. What is left to say?
Louise Welsh has given us a strangely elegiac account of city life and its squalor. It's a crowded territory for writers, including great ones: Baudelaire, Dostoevsky, Zola. What marks her out is an unsentimental, authentic-feeling sympathy with her characters. Before reading her, I would never have believed that anyone other than a gay man could have created a figure like Rilke.
Robert Carlyle is nothing short of superb, one of the best narrators I've heard. I'd place him alongside Stephen Rea.
Audiobooks don't come any more satisfying than this.
The story looks good and read by Robert Carlisle is a bonus. Initially I enjoyed the stoy line, I found the main character and the flavour of the story enjoyable but eventually gave up when it came to the graphic descriptions of Gay sex.
Unfortunately it killed my interest stone dead and I will never know the outcome of the story which is a pity
An accomplished and intelligent but very dark and rather grubby mystery thriller. The world of antiques, violent pornography, corruption, gay sex and mortality are clothed in a detailed and realistic Glasgow setting. The reading by Robert Carlisle is. of course, well judged.
I got this download in anticipation of a great mystery read - Robert C was superb but I must agree with the gentleman from Croy - this book needs a warning that it has such descriptive sex scenes - gay or straight - it's too much to listen to on the way to work in the morning. I too just deleted it and I'll never know the ending either.
I thought the narration was superb, and it is clear that Robert Carlyle really got into the character. I believe he was interested in filming the book, which could explain this. The plot is OK, not brilliant. The strength of the book is not in its plot, which was rather predictable from the start (especially if one wants to label the book as a crime novel), but in the language used (I see it more as a novel). I am not a huge fan of lengthy graphic descriptions of sex scenes (especially not when just sitting on the bus etc. - ), gay or straight, but unfortunately these feature a few times in the book. If such scenes are functional, perhaps the author can be excused, but other than illustrating the moral attitudes and the emotional emptiness of the main character (which was clear from the start), I failed to see how it in any way contributed to the story/plot. Some other reviewers have given up on the book as a result, I persevered till the end as I wanted to know the ending.
Robert Carlyle is certainly a good reader and Lousie Welsh knows how to write. But it is very difficult to like this book. The central mystery - the origin of some violently pornographic photographs is dramatic - but the environment that is described is so unremittingly depressing (pornography, prostitution, drugs, violence, transvesticism) that it robs the situation of any drama. Where is the tension? Who cares about Rilke and his pack of dodgy snaps? Not me!
"Irvine or Louise?"
Very impressive! Welsh created rich and rounded characters - characters I didn't necessarily identify with, but watched in fascination. The language and content may offend some, but I found it fitting and not used for shock value, but to enrich the story and it's players. If you are not from an inner city lifestyle, this may come as a shock to you. Sometimes it's good to be shocked. Well done Louise Welsh. The narration by Robert Carlyle was FABULOUS and showed what a master performer he is.
"Critically acclaimed, but ultimately disappointing"
Louise Welsh's 2002 debut may not be for everyone, with its explicit descriptions of her gay male protagonist's numerous dalliances. And there were too many echoes here, too - of the plot points of AK Walker's '8MM', the nihilism of Susanna Moore's 'In the Cut' - for it to feel anything more than a transposition of established themes to new locales. Perhaps it's these echoes that result in some jarring incongruities that are possibly intentional, but also annoying - a supposedly contemporary Glasgow with a 'gaslight' feel, first person narration drowning under the weight of ponderous exposition. There are some lovingly crafted minor characters, but I was extremely disappointed by the unsubtle elements of this book, given the critical acclaim with which it was greeted on its release. Robert Carlyle's narration is excellent, though some people may find it takes some time to acclimatize to his heavy Glaswegian accent.
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