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Although well read in this audio version, this is overall a disappointing novel. The rich background detail - historical, cultural and biographical - which punctuates de Berniere's earlier works, particularly Corelli's Mandolin and Birds without Wings, is sadly lacking. The narrative is narrowly focussed on an obsession which is too prurient and manipulative to merit any association with love. Roza's biography and its relating become increasingly far-fetched and the denouement, such as it is, is predictable and cliched.
Neither of the main characters engages our sympathy or interest and they both remain superficially drawn. If they are two-dimensional, the other figures, with the exception of Dylan Upstairs, are ghostlike in their portrayal.
Overall a dramatic lapse in form.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I bought this on the basis of listening to the preview chapter on the Audible podcast. The first chapter is superb and the last is pretty good too. Unfortunately the middle drags a bit and the author uses up all his good jokes and surpises early on. It is very well read though and has a nice gentle pace. It reminded me of Julian Barnes' Metroland, which is not altogether a bad thing. I think the problem with it is that the initial chapter promises one thing and the rest of the book gives something else entirely.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful