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Summary

Frog Music is a wonderfully evocative novel of intrigue and murder from Emma Donoghue, the author of the international bestseller Room, an emotive and powerful novel that was shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker and Orange Prizes.

San Francisco, 1876: A stifling heat wave and smallpox epidemic have engulfed the City. Deep in the streets of Chinatown live three former stars of the Parisian circus: Blanche, now an exotic dancer at the House of Mirrors, her lover Arthur and his companion Ernest. When an eccentric outsider joins their little circle, secrets unravel, changing everything - and leaving one of them dead.

Frog Music, inspired by true events, is an evocative novel of intrigue and murder: Elegant, erotic and witty.

©2014 Emma Donoghue (P)2014 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Critic reviews

“The story is fascinating… Emma Donoghue is clearly a master storyteller.” (Northern Scot Midweek Extra and Irish Examiner)
“Frog Music builds into a gripping tale of a woman’s struggle to survive in the anarchic world of a frontier city and shows what a wonderfully talented and versatile writer Emma Donoghue is.” (Scottish Daily Mail)
“This is another smart and finely wrought consideration of parenthood, further proof of Donoghue’s significant skill as an author.” (The Observer - The New Review)
"In Frog Music, Donoghue constructs an entire world in which the characters and material can really breathe… filling every page with a kaleidoscope of detail." (Belfast Telegraph)
"Frog Music builds into a gripping tale of a woman’s struggle to survive in the anarchic world of a frontier city and shows what a wonderfully talented and versatile writer Emma Donoghue is." (Daily Mail)
"The novel is fast-paced and Donoghue’s talent for storytelling shows in her ability to jump around without every losing the reader. She also has a knack for description: both her characters and the world she portrays come alive in your mind." (Scotland on Sunday)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

To be fair I haven't listened all the way through

I was so excited to see a new novel by the author of Room, one of the most moving, thoughtful and insightful books I've read in years.

I downloaded it without hesitation and started listening...

First I fell asleep while listening (without the sleep timer on), so I decided to give it a fighting chance and start back at the beginning, convinced it was my fault for being too tired to listen properly... I stated again...

It was such a bitter disappointment to realise that this just isn't for me; I tried and tried but whether it's the characterisation (an astonishing strength of donoghue's last novel) which felt sketchy to the point of threadbare and borderline characatured, or whether it was the narration (more on that later) I don't know. Either way, after about 4 or 5 good attempts at getting past he initial "hump" to see if I could go the distance, I've reached my Waterloo I fear! This book is not for me.

A word on narration; you're selling an audiobook to the European market. The main character is a Frenchwoman, to be narrated with a French accent, and the book contains frequent use of French quotes and comments... PICK A FRENCH SPEAKING NARRATOR!!!

I'm sure many people will love this book but it's not for me :-(

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • alan
  • Ireland
  • 10-05-14

I tried

What would have made Frog Music better?

more gripping first chapter.

Has Frog Music put you off other books in this genre?

yes

How did the narrator detract from the book?

narrator was good ...just distracting with different accents.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Frog Music?

all of the first chapter

Any additional comments?

boring, confusing , far too drawn out.. complete waste of time trying to get into this story. Dissappointing

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

An engaging, frank and thrilling story

Where does Frog Music rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The first audiobook I've listened to in years and a great story. I may actually want to read it in print as well because I enjoyed it so much. It has provided me with great distraction during my half marathon preparations.

Narration must be a difficult thing, particularly where accents are concerned. I do think that perhaps just narrating without adding accents would probably still work!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Jenny, probably, although it's hard not to like Blanche.

Did Khristine Hvam do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

Some of the accents went awry, particularly the Irish accents and there wasn't a vast deal of difference between the French men and the Italian. The pseudo Chinese was edging pastiche. But the accent trouble was only mildly irritating - the book has such a strong story that it didn't detract too much.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not without massive spoilers.

Any additional comments?

Loved the story. It was thrilling, engaging and evocative. Loved many of the characters. Didn't find it that easy to keep track of where I was in the narrative due to the structure of the book - that would be easier to do when reading the print copy. Wasn't overly enamoured of some of the attempts at accents.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

lost in the performance...

narrator's French accent was a little offputting as was her Calamity Jane but the story was strong enough to pull through. Not sure if it worked as an audio.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

skillful but no story

What about Khristine Hvam’s performance did you like?

Very well read, good songs and accents, and not over-performed.

Any additional comments?

It’s sad to criticise good writing. Emma Donoghue is very talented. The first few chapters are very enjoyable as a picture of a colourful place and period is expertly created for all the senses, and thoroughly researched. Unfortunately not much happens here – no more than what the blurb on the back of the book says. Every chapter is filled with lamentation – ‘If only she did this instead of this.. Oh, why did that have to happen?.. Why couldn't that have happened instead of that?’ You could easily miss out chunks of this book and it would still make sense. I put it aside for ages, then came back to it for an inevitable whimper of an ending. The two-dimensional, cartoonish characters might have functioned better in a shorter story. Could have been massively abridged. Sorry but felt like a waste of time.