Longlisted for the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction
Elizabeth Barber is crossing the Atlantic by liner with her perfectly adequate boyfriend, Derek, who might be planning to propose. In fleeing the UK - temporarily - Elizabeth may also be in flight from her past and the charismatic Arthur, once her partner in what she came to see as a series of crimes.
Together they acted as fake mediums, perfecting the arcane skills practised by effective frauds. Elizabeth finally rejected what once seemed an intoxicating game. Arthur continued his search for the right way to do wrong. He now subsidises free closure for the traumatised and dispossessed by preying on the super-rich. The pair still meets occasionally, for weekends of sexual oblivion, but their affection lacerates as much as it consoles. She hadn’t, though, expected the other man on the boat.
As her voyage progresses, Elizabeth’s past is revealed, codes slowly form and break as communication deepens. It’s time for her to discover who the true deceivers are and who are the truly deceived.
What’s more is the book itself - a fiction which may not always be lying - deceiving the listener? Offering illusions and false trails, magical numbers and redemptive humour, this is a novel about what happens when we are misled and when we are true: an extraordinarily intricate and intimate journey into our minds and hearts undertaken by a writer of great gifts - a maker of wonders.
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Gorgeous narration, poetic writting
I love the way A.L. Kennedy writes. Her language is poetic and sensual. If I had to compare it to anyone I would say Jeanette Winterson. Kennedy's stories are more down to earth, but they're not less twisted. The Blue Book has kept me glued to my earpiece. The plot gently twisting, surprising and deceiving.
If you like the theme (mentalists), you might want to try Sarah Waters' Affinity. For the style of writing, nothing really compares.
Juliet Stevenson's narration really adds to the book. Her voice is lovely and clear, making it easy to follow the storyline. Her range, making the male characters stand out, is amazing.