©2006 Reina James;
I can't sum it up in three words...except Just Get Listening ;-D
The book is covers a couple of weeks during the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918. It follows the lives of a diverse set of people whose lives intersperse. It does sort of centre on the relationship between an undertaker Henry Speake and a school teacher Alan Thompson (the latter being a woman), but you also get a lot about their respective families, colleagues and others. It's wonderfully put together, and I love how the author has written so many short scenes from so many different viewpoints and about so many different characters without the novel becoming confused, patchy or incoherent.
When Alan defies Henry's sisters. A real laugh out loud moment.
I was amused, saddened, angered, tense, comforted, and occasionally mildly hysterical, laughed out loud several times (often totally unexpectedly) and felt tearful although I didn't actually cry. I like the writer's ability to provoke emotion without battering you over the head with it.
I didn't want it to end! I could have happily gone on listening to further details of the characters daily lives for another ten hours. Plus, Cornelius Garrett gave a grand performance. His voices are fantastic, including the women, and he portrays the different classes - an important part of the novel - perfectly.
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