Laurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he's pushing 40 and tired of going through the motions of submission. Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can't remember being.
Toby doesn't know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love. The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won't surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have - no matter how right it feels - can't last. It can't mean anything. It can't be real.
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13 hours of brilliance
- Becky L
Careless errors, wrong accents, uneven performance
The writing is brilliant, characterisation complex and sophisticated. There are no easy familiar scenes or patterns to this love story - more than almost any other writer, this one ignores the reader's expectations except for giving us an occasional burst of hope and a share of the characters' joy. The characters' pain is vivid as well , but never unbearable to hear about as there is always enough optimism from somewhere to keep going - Toby, one of the two protagonists, is irrepressible but also fragile while Laurie is emotionally weathered, outwardly and inwardly tough but still vulnerable. Insight into both characters comes through very explicit descriptions of their sexual involvement but also their inner thoughts in the first person. A book which I finished and immediately started reading again.
"Glitterland" also by Alexis Hall; Stacia Kane's Chess and Terrible novels;
Sounded under-rehearsed, ill-prepared and sloppily-executed, For example - the narrator of Laurie's first-person sections gave Toby a feasible East London accent (we are told Toby's mother has an "East London" voice) but Laurie's voice is oddly theatrical and overly precise - he sounds like he is trying very hard to speak properly and it lacks spontaneity (this might be right for the character sometimes, but not when we are hearing his internal monologue surely). It is also rather expressionless and in many places there are spoken words followed by e.g. "his voice [was] breaking.." or other descriptor - when the words had not been spoken like that at all!
The narrator giving Toby his first-person voice made him sound like Prince William with a bit of estuary English with a glottal-stop "t" - sounded just like every ex-public-school 20 year old you've ever met, but this did not seem right for the character as written. A good performance but then he mispronounced not only "AGA" (the cooker) as "ay gee ay" and unforgiveably Laurie's surname "Dalziel" as "dall zeel" when IN THE BOOK on page 2 or 3 the pronunciation is subtly indicated - correctly of course - as "Dee-ell".
As often happens when actors are underprepared, and are, in effect, practising as they begin the recording, the performances improved somewhat as the actors learned their characters as time went on, but the basics of accent and characterisation by the two performers were simply not the same - did they talk to each other about it? Did anyone play each of them the other's performance? If not, then this is just cheating the listener with a second-rate performance - I felt both actors prevented from giving their best work.
Pay more attention to who produces an audible recording. This writer's earlier book "Glitterland" was narrated by Nicholas Boulton who I think really gave a perfect performance.Even "Waiting for the Flood" was pretty good. In both cases the narrators had to produce two different male voices with different accents and personalities. They did pretty well especially compared to this one.
Although the narration overall was no worse than many, compared to the skill of the writing it is woeful. Audible has seriously undermined the impact of this beautifully-written book. The book itself won a RITA award and is brilliant MM erotica.