©1997 Kate Atkinson; (P)1998, 2004 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
"Vivid and intriguing....Fizzles and crackles along....A tour de force." (Independent)
"Vivid, richly imaginative, hilarious and frightening by turns." (Observer)
"Dark and mysterious Croquet"
This book has a really strong narrative drive through the complex and interwoven time zones, Kate Atkinson takes us back and forward but feels most comfortable in the early 60's of the central strand of the novel, ground she established such a feel for in 'Behind the scenes in a Museum'.
I feel it is much stronger book than ?..Museum? and even darker though the body count is about the same! The humour comes from the sharp observation and often acid comments of the narrator rather than anything else, it IS funny but if you want a comedy its not really the book for you.
It's a very satisfying listen, superbly read, with lots of twists to a number of surprising resolutions.
As a Kate Atkinson fan, I read this when it first came out and enjoyed it, but not quite as much as Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Having listened to this excellent narration by Susan Jamieson (she also narrates 'Museum' - recommended), I have changed my mind. The narrator's different accents, in particular the Scottish one, can only enhance this wonderfully mysterious tragi-comedy.
I was really looking forward to reading this book after reading many glowing reviews and after previously enjoying the author's other work. However, the reality was that this was a dull, uninteresting and largely tedious story that I just could not immerse myself in nor enjoy. The characters lacked depth and feeling and with the story constantly jumping back and forth between different times and different people I found the plot very difficult to follow, if indeed it had one? I had to force myself to listen until the end in the hope that it would improve but unfortunately for me it did not.
"Book with an identity crisis"
I loved Behind the Scenes at the Museum. It's freshness and raw emotions softy woven with a touch of time-shift mystery. Unfortunately, Human Croquet has so much magical realism that reality is lost. The characters flit in and out of focus so that it's hard to care about them, no matter how well they are drawn. By the end the story has so undermined itself that it is easy to forget.
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