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Summary

Shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017.

'Nobody can leave an island. An island is a cosmos in a nutshell, where the stars slumber in the grass beneath the snow. But occasionally someone tries....

Ingrid Barrøy is born on an island that bears her name - a holdfast for a single family, their livestock, their crops, their hopes and dreams.

Her father dreams of building a quay that will connect them to the mainland, but closer ties to the wider world come at a price. Her mother has her own dreams - more children, a smaller island, a different life - and there is one question Ingrid must never ask her.

Island life is hard, a living scratched from the dirt or trawled from the sea, so when Ingrid comes of age, she is sent to the mainland to work for one of the wealthy families on the coast.

But Norway too is waking up to a wider world, a modern world that is capricious and can be cruel. Tragedy strikes, and Ingrid must fight to protect the home she thought she had left behind.

Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw.

©2013 Cappelen Damm AS (P)2016 W F Howes Ltd

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

Wonderful book, dreadful rendition

I found this account of a family living on a rock in the Norwegian Sea about a century ago utterly captivating. The prose style is economical but allows itself moments of sublime beauty. By the end you care deeply about this set of survivors leading their humdrum lives, which skirt so close to madness and death.

The reading is genuinely awful. Not only is the sing-song delivery grating, it is often just plain wrong - like when a train conductor makes an announcement which is unintelligible because the words have lost their meaning through repetition. It is amazing that the many, many mistakes of emphasis weren’t corrected by the producers. Nevertheless, this short book is worth your time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The worst narration I have ever heard

The narration on this is so bad I almost stopped immediately. It sounds like one of those amateur audiobook recordings. Really peculiar and jarring narration.

This narrator has terrible pacing, and often doesn't seem to understand the words she is reading. Its almost as if she doesn't realise that you need to read ahead of the words you are speaking so you'll use the correct intonation.

She has this weird cloying lilt to her voice, using these rolled 'r's (the way she said 'Maria' is really grating). She also puts her own odd emphasis on words that don't require them.

She mispronounces all the Norwegian names and for some bizarre reason has decided that Norwegians sounds like Yorkshire from that Monty Python sketch. One character has a mysterious Spanish accent. If you can't do accents, don't do accents.

Why could they not have found a Norwegian speaker to read this? Or an actor. Or just almost any other person with a mouth.

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Brings a sense of melancholy about tradition

The narrator's tone helped the sense of slow pace, reflection about each moment. The story is rich in detail, attending to the daily lives of the islanders and their life's views. Focus on bare necessities, tools, weather, money, self sufficiency. Emotionally it sustains a tone of control, sadness, not much joy, but humbleness dealing with life as it comes. Some examples of family coming together in times of loss, blood connections, wealth passed through generatiins. It is possible to notice gender inequalities and women struggle for equality in relation to gender, age hierarchy in the family. It can help empathise with the life style of isolation and endurance. Hope, frustration. Love, hate. Dream, shattered dreams. Many contradictions and overall acceptance of what live brings.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful