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I was really looking forward to listening to this audiobook as it sounded like the perfect plot for me - a modern Brideshead Revisited - but the narration was so irritating (especially the depiction of the Cecil character and the women) with the inflections of the teenage Daphne completely wrong - that I had to stop listening after 7 chapters. Very disappointing. I kept trying to listen to this audiobook but I just couldn't finish it, although I really wanted to. With a different narrator I think I would have enjoyed this book far more. Even if they had used multiple narrators - two for the female characters, two for the male - it probably would have been better, but this single narrator couldn't manage all the voices and it just ended up being very grating.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
What did you like best about The Stranger's Child? What did you like least?
I was incredibly fascinated by the themes of biography, memory and memoir. I found the narration terrible, largely because all the characters seemed terribly trivialised and I suspect this wasn't wholly due to the writing, but rather the delivery.
What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?
I found Daphne's character the most fascinating, but I felt Hollinghurst lost interest with her. He exploited her naivity at the end, but I didn't really believe that a character who had negotiated so many complex relationships would be that naive.
I struggled with each transition, firstly to place the characters, but then to care about them. And then I felt Hollinghurst deliberately undermined any affection that might develop on behalf of the reader, though I wasn't sure why. Having said that I thought the structure was incredibly intriguing, and it was effective.
Would you be willing to try another one of James Daniel Wilson???s performances?
Do you think The Stranger's Child needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
No, because the structure means it contains its own sequels.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This is most definitely a book to read not hear. The reader offers a poor delivery and his 'voices' are almost identical plus there's not enough edge in his delivery to give the text the distinctive authoritative feel that I feel Hollinghurst's writing deserves. Truly a missed opportunity.
21 of 22 people found this review helpful
...of poetry lie at the heart of this story, which should entrance anyone who likes the kind of tale that invokes the other England of a century ago and traces a path through to the present. There are shades of 'Any Human Heart', and Sebastian Faulks' work; Hollinghurst's prose is measured and precise, full of insights and subtle witticisms, and the reading did it ample justice. In fact I was so impressed that I looked for other books narrated by JDW, though on inspection the rest of his oeuvre seems to be a completely different kettle of less appealing fish.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful