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I used to always read this book in September, ever since I discovered it when I was about 15 I suppose. Sometimes, I still do but far less often. So I thought I would like to hear it for a change.
It is a very gentle, old-fashioned story, written absolutely in its time and its class. By this I mean that it would be very difficult for a writer in 2015 to capture the precise feel and exact mores of the time in which the story takes place. It isn't always entirely comfortable - but it is very evocative.
In the course of one month, the rural community of hop-growers, pickers, and farmers unfolds its tales of fortunes, rivals, lovers, feuds and friendships against a backdrop of the hop harvest. I like the interweaving of the many characters and the spare but effective descriptions of each one.
The reading is fine. He has a really pleasant voice, and only now and again with the Gypsy voices and the Birmingham and Black Country accents does he seem a bit less secure - not enough to put me off. It sort of settles as the book wears on.
It's not very long and the plot - such as it is - moves well. It is not deep or profound, but it's well put together and I don't often want profound if I am honest. Very evocative of this beautiful month, and the time and place in which this book takes place. I think the main 'character' is the month of September itself. A bit of escapism, really.
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