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Summary

World War II is over, and a new decade is beginning, but for an East End teenage brother and sister living on the edge of the law, life has been suspended. Sent away to a tuberculosis sanatorium to learn the way of a patient, they find themselves in the company of army and air force officers, a car salesman, a mysterious German woman and an American merchant seaman. They discover that a cure is tantalisingly just out of reach, and only by inciting wholesale rebellion can freedom be snatched.

©2016 Linda Grant (P)2016 W.F. Howes Ltd

Critic reviews

"Her novel is at once a beautifully detailed character study, a poignant family history and a richly evocative portrait of the late 1970s." ( Independent, on The Clothes on Their Backs)
"A stylish, ambitious novel." ( Glamour, on Upstairs at the Party)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Performance

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Story

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

Moving, Heartbreaking, Quality Writing.

Any additional comments?

The subject matter- life in a post-war TB sanatorium - may not sound like thrilling material for a historical novel; but in the hands of prize-winning novelist,Linda Grant, the mundane becomes intriguing and rewarding listening.

The lives of several TB patients become intertwined as they 'learn to be patients' and to wait for a new miracle cure for TB, desperately hoping that they will be chosen for the experimental treatment. The lives of these people are all tragic in different ways and as the story progresses they face up to their illness in a variety of ways. There are happy and sad endings, personal triumphs and failures and the formation of relationships between class and cultural divides.

Set against the early days of television and the NHS this is a story of morality, illness, broken promises, love and the lifelong effects of guilt.

The narration was pretty average, hence the 4* rating, and the publisher's blurb went a bit over the top on this one - the all out rebellion of patients was more like a polite protest in my view.

But overall I really enjoyed the story and I learned a lot about the lives and fates of TB sufferers in the 1950s.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Poor Narration

I’ve read most of Linda Grant’s books and enjoyed them all but this audiobook is completely marred by the very poor narration. The pronunciation is the worst I’ve ever heard and I was laughing out loud at some of it: antimacassars and Gaggia for example. This reader should not be allowed near any further books, sorry to say!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

tuberculosis treatment in a sanatorium

If you could sum up The Dark Circle in three words, what would they be?

informing, mulit-layered, deft

What did you like best about this story?

The way the characters develop and change through the story. The breakdown of class and stigma for the residents of the sanatorium.
The writing - it is accessible but literary and touching.

What about Daniel Coonan’s performance did you like?

I found Daniel Coonan's narration excellent. He pitched the characters very well and I would look out for his 'performances' again.

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

No - too long but also too full of information and like a rich dessert - it needs savouring!

Any additional comments?

This is worth a read/listen - unusual subject matter, well-written and well-read. It is not a pacy thriller but is more meaty and satisfying than a 'beach read' type book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Wonderful book marred by the reading

Did anyone listen to this before it was published? The reader’s mispronunciation of so many words, and oddly inappropriate stresses is unbelievable. Enthusiasm is not enough. Reading audiobooks (especially for those of us unable to read the book for ourselves) is a difficult art. The producer should at least have ensured a consistent (if wrong!) pronunciation of tuberculosis. Not to mention Edgbaston. Very disappointed.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Wooden

Wooden characters, unconvincing plot, and lifeless narration. I really wanted to like this book, and continued, hoping it would pick up ... should have given up long before the end.

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

Fascinating

First I've heard or read from this author. I'll definitely try more. Fascinating characters and feel of the time.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful