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Mothering Sunday

Narrated by: Eve Webster
Length: 3 hrs and 14 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (120 ratings)

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Summary

Award-winning writer Graham Swift returns with his profoundly moving new novel, Mothering Sunday.

It is March 30th 1924. It is Mothering Sunday. How will Jane Fairchild, orphan and housemaid, occupy her time when she has no mother to visit? How, shaped by the events of this never to be forgotten day, will her future unfold?

Beginning with an intimate assignation and opening to embrace decades, Mothering Sunday has at its heart both the story of a life and the life that stories can magically contain. Constantly surprising, joyously sensual and deeply moving, it is Graham Swift at his thrilling best.

©2016 Copyright © Graham Swift 2016 (P)2016 Bolinda

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  • 12-06-16

Exceptional - sensitive and seductive.

Completely compelling from the beginning. A stunning listen which is both sensitively written and utterly transportative!

4 people found this helpful

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

'Mothering Sunday' a pocket jewel of a book

This unabridged and quite beautiful book is read by Eve Webster and lasts around three to four hours, according to the reading speed one chooses. At just under twenty quid this does seem quite expensive. Eve's sadly par for the course neccessarily unrealistic delivery of rough, gruff, unnatural initiations of mens' voices (Mr. Godfrey Niven and Paul Sheringham) does jar rather. Her words are always clear. I think it could have been more appealingly read by a man, as Jane has so few words herself, little dialogue, just internal thoughts, and the book was written by a male author.

As I live alone, self distancing, I have been especially grateful for audible books lately, as I am missing the sound of a human voice. 'Mothering Sunday' accompanied me on three 5 mile walks through woods and by the river. As I am finding to be the case with audible, I can't tell when the book is about to end, with my phone in a pocket, so towards the last, every short gap made me think it might be over.

The story is mainly wonderful (I just got sick of the rambling on about stains on sheets really) and I would love to suggest it as a choice for my book club which is temporarily in abeyance. There is a lot I would like to chew over with my friends. No less issue than the actual reliability of Jane, aka Jay's memoirs, knowing that she spent the rest of her life making things up and changing names and characters to suit, even they are based on real people. Then the big reveal, the most dreadful moment, signposted of course, which still literally made me gasp out loud. Was it accident or intended? Also the avuncular attitude of Mr. Niven to his employee could be interestingly analysed. Jane and Paul has been in a relationship for nearly eight years, so surely it would have been noticed? I did love the way she was almost contemporary, topical, by using her half a crown gift to buy a postal order to send off to a bookshop for mail order book! Do amazon take postal orders??

At first I was very muddled as to the characters and their houses; 'Beechwood', where Jane Fairchild is employed by the 'entangled neighbours' the Nivens, and 'Upleigh' where the Sheringhams, the parents strangely called 'The Showers', and remaining adult son Paul live. This was because two sons had been taken by the Great War in each residence. Beechwood is clearly less posh than Upleigh, although has the same kind of set up - they both have a library which features heavily in Jane's world. The Hobday family are more elusive, they are only a sideshow. The staff at Upleigh, maid and cook, Jane can relate to, she feels she knows how they would think, she glimpses their understanding and required behavioural patterns.

There is tension, there is a huge shock, and there are fabulous, slow, languid, descriptive scenes. Some less gripping stuff though, about Jane's later life as a celebrated novelist. Here talks to readers, Q and A sessions that I wasn't so interested in. All in all though, this was well worth getting to know and left me thinking about it for a long time. I have listened again to enjoy it further, as I now know the set up better, so can savour the first few chapters more. A quality experience.

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Perfection - Haunting - Beautiful

I have read this book on the day of its publication. Now here is the audio version and it is totally breath taking.

A perfect portrayal of a bubble in time, one day, Mothering Sunday.

Britain between the wars will always be a source of fascination for me and this book encapsulates so much of this time.

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beautifully written

A strange narrative, captures a dying era, but so drawn out. Glad it wasn't too long - enjoyed it though

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Thoroughly enjoyed it

Any additional comments?

I loved the audiobook - it's short but beautifully formed. It strikes me as a difficult book to narrate, but I thought that Eve Webster did a great job.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Fluffy period melodrama, not my cup of tea

Graham Swift is an eloquent writer as his descriptions are vivid however the story itself is rather flakey. It's pretty much about an old woman looking back at her life to a particular point where she had an affair with her master while she was a maid. There are far too many descriptions about bodily fluids which only a man would deem to care about. While the sentiment is there, there wasn't enough substance or point to the novel.

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Perfect Craft

A long short story which poses as many questions as it answers and perfectly illustrates the great craft of story or tale telling. A beautiful reading enhances the spell.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

descriptive, historical snapshot

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

low on the list mainly due to the infuriating and repetitive voice of the narrator

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

most interesting: Getting a glimpse of life post the first world warleast: I found the detail too much sometimes, situations being repeated several times.

What didn’t you like about Eve Webster’s performance?

Her voice was so annoying it actually made me feel cross! It went up after every 4 or 5 words and this pattern was the same for the entire book, regardless of whether the sentence was happy, sad, thoughtful etc. Very hard to follow the plot with this disjointed style of reading.

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

Possibly, if it had a better narrator. the plot would stand it.

Any additional comments?

Beautiful descriptions but possibly too much. The story is minimal but interesting.

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Very good

Well written and amusing and subtle account which could be biographical of a number of modern authors.

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    1 out of 5 stars

No

Bloody awful and long way off from the start but not too until after that was not the only t hing

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  • susan
  • 11-11-16

amazing Story well told.

This book took awhile for me to get into but I now have read it twice and became enthralled by her insights about writing, finding a language and what grabs you in a book. Mothering Sunday grabbed me

1 person found this helpful

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  • W Perry Hall
  • 19-04-16

The Indelibles


After a lusty, au naturel launch, this welterweight novel is a poignant portrayal of the spirit of a woman who soared. Centered on the meditations of a March 1924 day of a 22-year-old maid (raised an orphan after being left on doorsteps in a basket), the tale transports the reader with her ponderings, perched upon the vivid images and emotions of the day's indelible moments.

This compact, soul-kindling book studies how a life in the day, the convergence of remembered people, places and things, can impact a young lady's humanity and altogether alter the course of her life, traveling through the light of literature.

10 people found this helpful