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A Stranger City

Narrated by: Olivia Dowd
Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
4 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Summary

When a dead body is found in the Thames, caught in the chains of HMS Belfast, it begins a search for a missing woman and confirms a sense that in London a person can become invisible once outside their community - and that assumes they even have a community.  

A policeman, a documentary film maker and an Irish nurse named Chrissie all respond to the death of the unknown woman in their own ways.  

London is a place of random meetings, shifting relationships - and some, like Chrissie intersect with many.  

The filmmaker and the policeman meanwhile have safe homes with wives - or do they?  

An immigrant family speaks their own language only privately; they have managed to integrate - or have they?  

The wonderful Linda Grant weaves a tale around ideas of home; how London can be a place of exile or expulsion, how home can be a physical place or an idea. How all our lives intersect and how coincidence or the randomness of birth place can decide how we live and with whom.

©2019 Linda Grant (P)2019 Hachette Audio UK

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

worth listening to

The book is as good as you'd expect from Linda Grant. The narration is mostly quite good but there's annoying mispronunciation of words like chutzpah and apropos, which she or the producers could easily have checked - also her affectation of Haitch for H, which doesn't fit her accent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Disappointing

A kaleidoscopic style of writing which I grew increasingly unable to follow, and finally abandoned. Although rich in detail, the text was read like a scramble of bullet points.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I’ve Started So I’ll Finish

I bought this on the basis of a review in a London newspaper. The review concluded that:

“A Stranger City feels like a very important novel for right now: no politically ponderous diatribe but a witty, sunlounger-accessible and deeply humanising story about people — about us — and the societal shipwreck we’re stuck in.”

While there are moments of humour, overall I found the novel to be very lacklustre. The characters lacked a distinct identity and the plot elements were challenging to follow. I persisted to the end, but not with a sense of expectation - more an attitude of “I’ve started so I’ll finish”.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Interesting

Enjoyed overall but didn't feel a close bond with the characters, not helped but a rather average narrator