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James is a hard writer to read aloud. He's a hard writer to read off the page. His sentences are long, with lots of subordinate clauses, that express delicate shades of meaning. They are often beautiful, but it's a difficult beauty. Maureen O'Brien does more than make James' book understandable, she makes it live in all its subtlety.
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Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Maisie appears to be the pawn of her feckless, self-involved parents; and then the adored darling of her subsequent stepparents. The story is told more or less from Maisie's point of view. We only know as much as she does -- no, let's take that back. She might know far more than we realize she knows. Who is playing who in this bitter game?
What other book might you compare What Maisie Knew to and why?
It's a psychological study, alive to every nuance of expression and unstated communication, but Maisie, as all humans do, remains a mystery. I'm sure some perfect comparisons will spring to mind as soon as I finish this review. But it's safe to say that if you found Turn of the Screw unsatisfying, you will not like this either. James hands you nothing but complexity and ambiguity. In other words: life.
Which scene was your favorite?
The very last scene. It is not a spoiler to say that it is a play on the title of the book.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
I returned to this book after seeing the updated movie version of the book with Julianne Moore and Steven Coogan as the irresponsible, self-involved parents. But in the film, Maisie is played by a darling girl whose sweetness is touching and beautiful. Here, Maisie is far more complex.
Any additional comments?
Maureen O'Brien does an amazing job capturing the accents (with all the class connotations) as well as the emotions of the characters, which requires great insight into both human nature and literature as well as great acting skills. I will search out more books read by her.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful