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I am a fan of Rose Tremain and was really looking forward to this new collection of short stories, but for me, overall, it disappointed. I give her credit for focusing on a wide variety of characters, time periods, and settings, and for her very fine dialogue. But I've come to the conclusion that Tremain is at her best writing historical fiction. In fact, two of the stories that delve into that genre are perhaps the best in the collection. "The Jester of Astapovo" begins as the story of an unhappily married stationmaster's desire to have an affair with an older woman and ends telling the story of Leo Tolstoy's last days, dying in the stationmaster's cottage. It's by far the best of these stories. "The Housekeeper" is narrated by the woman who served as the model for Mrs. Danvers; she has a haunting affair with novelist Daphne du Maurier.
"The American Lover"--a woman looks back on a doomed love affair.
"Extra Geography"--Two schoolgirls decide to fall in love with someone. anyone, the next person they see: their female geography teacher, a middle-aged New Zealander.
"A View of Lake Superior in the Fall"--A Nashville couple retires to the North.
"Man in the Water"--A young woman swears she saw a man in the water that no one else saw.
"Juliet Greco's Black Dress"--a young woman models herself after Juliet Greco.
"Smithy"--An old man tried to move a stained mattress that has been thrown on the road.
"BlackBerry Winter"--A daughter deals with her ailing, cranky mother over the holidays.
"Lucy and Gaston"--Conversation between a long-married couple in which Gaston recalls his father's wartime death in a typhoon.
"The Closing Door"--After Worrld War II, widow Marjorie struggles with sending her daughter Patience to boarding school at her in-laws' insistence.
"21st Century Juliet"--Aristocratic Juliet records events in her diary, including her relations with her parents and her passionate affair with an Eastern European construction worker.
These are the kind of stories in which not a lot happens outside of the characters, but quite a lot goes on inside them and within their dialogue. If you care about the main character, this works; if you don't, it doesn't.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
The most amazing variety of stories, voices, themes. The readers (and producer) do good by. great writers short stories.
I highly recommend this collection
9 of 11 people found this review helpful
Where does The American Lover rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
The first collection of short stories I've listened to and whilst you don't get the suspense and anticipation of a novel this book makes for easy listening with some great character work.
Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favourite?
Undoubtedly the station master in the last days of Leo Tolstoy.
Any additional comments?
I guess in any collection of short stories there will be some you prefer to others. It is interesting that the author has developed the characters of some of the storied really well whilst in others you hardly know them when the story has ended. Overall an enjoyable listen
2 of 2 people found this review helpful