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Summary

BAFTA award-winning comedian Graham Norton lends his charming Irish lilt to the narration of his skillfully paced debut novel. With an atmospheric setting and characters that you quickly warm to, it's a vividly written slice of life in Duneen.

Graham Norton's masterful debut is an intelligently crafted story of love, secrets and loss.

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama, and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn't always been this overweight; mother of two Brid Riordan hasn't always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn't always felt that her life was a total waste.

So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke - a former love of both Brid and Evelyn - the village's dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community's worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.

Darkly comic, touching and at times profoundly sad. Graham Norton employs his acerbic wit to breathe life into a host of loveable characters and explore - with searing honesty - the complexities and contradictions that make us human.

©2016 Graham Norton (P)2016 Hodder & Stoughton

What members say

Average customer ratings

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

A classic tale of love and loss

I liked the story which unfolded gradually but carefully so you couldn't quite guess what was coming up. I liked the delicate and emphatic depictions of female emotions from young to old. I liked the down to earth setting and raw reality without pathos. I didn't like Graham Norton reading it himself as it always sounded like he was being funny, flippant and sarcastic like he is on his radio and tv shows. It would have given it far more gravitas to be read by someone expert in audible books. I would still recommend the book to anyone of any age as it covers a wide experience of life. That's why I've given it an overall score of 4 stars.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully written - and narrated

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have recommended to many already. And in both physical and audible versions everyone seems as enchanted as I was. Lovely, wonderful, warm and engaging novel - left open for a sequel that I cannot wait to read.

What other book might you compare Holding to, and why?

Richard Galbraith - Cuckoo's Calling. Reminded me of physically challenged characters trying to find their way to a normal life.

What does Graham Norton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He is a wonderful narrator. Hearing him read and bring to life his own charactors was enchanting.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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

Very enjoyable!

Any additional comments?

What a surprisingly enjoyable book - it's always interesting to see if well known performers can do more than one thing, but like reading the wonderful Dawn French books, Graham Norton definitely can!

I wasn't sure if him reading his own book would work when he's normally so funny, but this was very enjoyable. I did guess the twist before the end, but it didn't spoil the enjoyment. There was such a wonderful description of the people and scenery, I felt as though I was there. Also such a lovely subtle range of voices. I will definitely look out for his next book.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliantly written and narrated.....

Really love Graham Norton so this book was an absolute delight. Funny, witty, sad, disturbing and intriguing were just some of the emotions that kept you wanting to listen.

Would certainly want to read or listen to Grahams other books.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Michael
  • Co. Donegal, Ireland
  • 18-10-16

enjoyable listen

Enjoyed this book nice simple story with characters you can't but like. The narrator done a good job you really can't but see them while listening.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A gentle but moving tale

A book narrated by it author is always more enjoyable I find as every nuance of the written word is carried in the spoken voice.
A remarkable twist on an old crime when bones are discovered and the establishment and conventions of a small, remote village in Ireland are turn upside down. Centre to this are the local policeman and the women of Duneen star.
It feels like you have become part of the community and unable to distinguish between fact and fiction, gossip and tall stories. What is more certain is the quality of Norton's storytelling and approach to fiction that although dark is brighten by the humour that also touches our lives.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very enjoyable, and well narrated

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

A very clever story line which kept me guessing until near the end. Graham reads the story well.

What did you like best about this story?

The characters were well written and very plausible

Have you listened to any of Graham Norton’s other performances? How does this one compare?

N/A

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. You can dip in and out of the story quite easily.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent

Excellent story full of great characters narrated brilliantly by the author

Well done on your first of many!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A good read. Very enjoyable.

A good tale which kept me interested and listening! Well read by the author adding to the story. Some lovely bits which had me laughing out loud but also thoughtful and tackled some serious subjects. Really enjoyed it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Philip
  • Burford, United Kingdom
  • 11-02-17

More whodunnit-ing

What is it with whodunnits? They’re all at it. Graham Norton’s contribution is ‘The Guard’ meets Miss O’Marple; Brendan Gleeson is a shoo-in for the part of the lead policeman. The Irish setting makes it rather more fun than the usual English village, there’s humour and he, of course, is a great narrator of his own work. Ends with a bit of a whimper but passes the time agreeably enough.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kathryn G.
  • 30-11-16

Absolutely charming

What made the experience of listening to Holding the most enjoyable?

Having Graham Norton read his own work made this special. He has a wonderful voice for narration.

What does Graham Norton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His Irish accent - it made the characters really come alive.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • naomi
  • 28-11-17

Loved it!

Very enjoyable murder mystery. Characters you can judge and cheer for at the same time. I am definitely buying his next book!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • "cdonns"
  • 03-11-17

Loved It!

I listened to Graham Norton tell his story Holding while lying in a hospital bed for two days. Graham helped me escape the tests, the IVs, the shouting roommate, and all of the other miserable things one experiences while in the sickbed. I think Graham helped me laugh myself better. Thank you, Mr. Norton.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tara
  • 06-09-17

Loved it !

An excellent read, great characters and story and fabulous delivery. I hope Graham Norton writes more.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joseph
  • 01-09-17

Excellent! Really a surprise.

Any additional comments?

Well, I have always watched Graham's shows thinking that that was all there was to the man. Well well...this was a welcome surprise. His writing and narration are both brilliant. Love the quaint story of village life and the drama that accumulates. As someone who came from a small town in South Africa, the stories are always more intricate than one could imagine. In big cities, it's almost as if the focus and resolution of life's drama is lost in the melee.

Thanks for the entertaining listen. Hope you have more in you.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • J. Kavanaugh
  • 11-07-17

Really enjoyed. Great characters and story.

loved it, great for the car and commuting. Burst out laughing a few times, though the story isn't a comedy.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • K. Fox
  • 31-03-17

Absolutely loved it!

If you love Graham Norton you'll love this book. His narration and the story lend themselves to a very entertaining experience. I didn't want it to end. I hope that he is writing more stories. I am a huge fan!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kia A Pedersen
  • 24-02-17

Great narration

I picked this purely due to my love of Graham Norton and his narration surpassed expectations. I enjoyed the slow uncovering of family secrets and the building of the towns characters.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Janna Wong Healy
  • 13-01-17

Sweet Little Mystery

3.5 Stars. This is a simple little mystery, nothing too powerful and nothing too grand. It presents lovely village life and introduces some interesting characters. There's nothing too deep about the mystery (nothing that can't be figured out way ahead of time) but it's not a horrible way to spend a few days. I liked the setting quite a lot and the main character, the local policeman who investigates some bones found by a construction crew. Mostly, it shows that, no matter where you live, people have secrets and problems.

It's mostly lovely to learn that my favorite chat show host, Graham Norton, has other talents!

Norton is also the narrator and he does a nice job of it. I still prefer him in the host's chair but this could be a second career for him!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mercedes
  • 03-01-17

Great talent.

Mr. Norton is incredibly talented. We know he's funny, and a fun host, but his ability to inhabit each character is fantastic. Great read, interesting story, and the sadness that can be in a human being is well written!