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A Perfect Explanation

Narrated by: Emma Gregory
Length: 8 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Summary

Exploring themes of ownership and abandonment, Eleanor Anstruther’s debut is a fictionalised account of the true story of Enid Campbell (1892-1964), granddaughter of the 8th Duke of Argyll, who sold her son to her sister for £500. 

Interweaving one significant day in 1964 with a decade during the interwar period, A Perfect Explanation gets to the heart of what it is to be bound by gender, heritage and tradition, to fight, to lose, to fight again. In a world of privilege, truth remains the same; there are no heroes and villains, only people misunderstood. 

Here, in this extraordinary audiobook where the unspoken is conveyed with vivid simplicity, lies a story that will leave you reeling.

©2019 Eleanor Anstruther (P)2019 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Moving and masterful

Eileen Anstruther was brought up with stories about her father's aristocratic family history, particularly about how her father Ian (sir Ian Anstruther bart.) was sold by his mother to her sister for £500. Eileen Anstruther has spent a decade making that turbulent history into this spell-binding, beautifully written recreation in this memoir, its tragic centre being the more than a decade long custody battle over Ian.

Enid Campbell married a man she'd met abroad mainly to spite her mother, and like so many marriages between strangers who apparently fall in love, it was disastrous. But Enid did her duty: her first son and heir Fagus became hydrocephalous and blind; her next effort was a largely neglected daughter Finetta; her third was Ian, the author's father. Probbaly suffering from post natal depression as well as general marital misery, Enid deserted her husband and children, returning two years later to embark of the 12 year custody battle with her own sister whom the children had grown to love in her absence.

The sufferings of that poor brother and sister (sweet-natured Fagus was institutionalised and died at 15) are painful. Finetta hid notes to her beloved aunt in Ian's suitcase when it was his turn to stay with her, pleading to be rescued from her mother who was totally unable to care for them.

It's a bleak story but told with such empathetic minutiae, such insight and understanding and fairness of them all, and the society and times in which they were living, that it doesn't seem so. I found it superb.

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Empowering story page turner. Didn't notice

the descriptive sections they were so entwined with the story. Truly thought provoking and outstanding

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Beautiful narration of a fascinating story

A fascinating insight into motherhood and family politics for an aristocratic family in the 1920s. Beautifully written and narrated.

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Excellent

Loved this book and finished it in a few days. You alternate by feeling sorry for different characters at different times and wondering if this could happen in this day and age now that we know more about post natal depression. Beautifully written and performed. Loved the epilogue and thanks at the end.