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After the Party cover art

Subtle, Enthralling

5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-09-18

I’m not sure that Phyllis Forrester truly recognises what led to her incarceration, nor does she repent it.

To be honest I’m not sure I properly understand it either. I’m not familiar with this part of British history which likely has some bearing on that, on the other hand I don’t think any specific knowledge is necessary to enjoy this book.

Phyllis’ story has two perspectives of narration: one, her older self, the second, that of the person she is telling her story to, who has presumably interviewed others & explored the events & history themselves. There are chapters told in first person & others in 3rd person with a broader perspective, as if a written history.

It’s an extraordinary & a very subtle story. In many ways Phyllis is a sideline for the main events, after all, World War II is brewing. But it is Phyllis’ ordinariness that makes her story interesting. Had she been a more influential character she may have been a less sympathetic one.

What I can’t decide is whether Phyllis was truly as naive as her narrative suggests, or whether that’s a pretense to create a more favourable personal history. I suspect she really was naive, but she seems to have overlooked an awful lot.

I like to understand what I’m reading in broader context so I did turn to Wikipedia for additional information on Defence Regulation 18B & on Oswald Mosley, which was enlightening.

I absolutely loved Cressida Connolly’s writing. It’s subtle & gorgeous, well matched to the story with the occasional
& most delightful surprises. Beautiful.

Kristin Atherton was absolutely perfect in her performance at all points. It’s an excellent quality production too.

I picked this up on a whim, knowing nothing about it & not being a usual fan of historical fiction. I highly recommend this for anyone whose interest strays into British history, especially of civilians during WWII, & of right wing politics. I’d also recommend to anyone who just enjoys a quiet, thoroughly enthralling read.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

The God of Small Things cover art

Captivating, magical

5 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-01-17

It has been a long wait. Twenty years after the print publication of “The God of Small Things”, and with 6 months until the planned release of Arundhati Roy’s second novel, “The Ministry of Happiness” it is a great joy to finally have an unabridged audio edition of “The God of Small Things” available.

Roy’s novel grows slowly, a piece at a time. The further into the story we get the more we begin to understand what has gone before - how earlier information fits into the new pieces. From a small shoot the novel grows into something very large, where events will irreversibly affect many lives.

The novel won the 1997 Man Booker Prize and I expect that it was both the captivating story and the beautiful prose that made it stand out. To me both were absolutely magical.

Aysha Kala’s narration is, for the most part, wonderful. There are minor distractions, one word I think she may have misread, a brief slip of an accent and there are a couple of glitches in the recording toward the end of the book.

Overall I think a book of this stature deserved better treatment. I am so grateful it is available unabridged in audio that I am happy to overlook minor flaws in the production.

If you’ve wondered about the book & are considering spending a credit on it, do. It’s one of a kind - at least until the release of “The Ministry of Happiness”.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful