The Final Confession of Mabel Stark

  • by Robert Hough
  • Narrated by Betty Bobbitt
  • 14 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Barely five feet tall, suicidally courageous, obsessed with tigers, and sexually eccentric, Mabel Stark was the greatest female tiger trainer in history. Clad in her leather suits and married five times, she was the Mae West of tiger taming. In the 1910s and 1920s, when circus was the most popular entertainment in America, Mabel Stark was the biggest attraction for the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey circus.This vibrant and moving fictional autobiography begins in 1968. Mabel is turning 80 and is about to lose her job. Faced with the loss of her beloved cats, she looks back on her life, her escapades and tragedies, her love affairs with tigers and men. She confronts her darkest secrets, her guilt at committing "the worst thing one person can do to another". Now, with the end of life in sight, there is one thing above all else she needs to do. Mabel wants to confess.Exuberant and inventive, The Final Confession of Mabel Stark transports its readers to the carnival world of the Big Top to an age before cinema and television, when circus performers were superstars.

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What the Critics Say

"Robert Hough pulls together fact and fiction to unfurl a life that invites sheer, slack-jawed fascination." (Time)
"A marvelous debut narrated with delicious humour and warmth. Just about perfect. One of the most entertaining novels in many a year." (Kirkus)
"Listeners are treated to Betty Bobbitt's performance of the indomitable, unconventional Mabel Stark....Bobbitt's raspy voice and full-throated chuckle perfectly draw Mabel's sassy attitude, complete with period diction, circus lore, and Kentucky twang." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Book of the Year

This book is absolutely fabulous! The development of the protagonist, Mary/Mabel is cleverly crafted, taking the listener on a journey of emotions towards her of innocence, admiration, pity, elation, fear, and pride. By the time you're half way through this title, you feel as if Mabel is your own long-lost great-aunt! The circuses of the 1920s and 30s must have been incredible and seeing circus life through Mabel's eyes gave it an intimate touch. The narrator plays a large part in the success of this story, in my opinion, with her intonations and amazing accent! I have to admit to sitting in my car, in the garage, long after arriving home in order to hear the end of a section! My Book of the Year!
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- Lorraine

first ever audible...brilliant

loved the accent. loved the writing style. loved the story. loved the female character. loved.
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- Miss Jacqueline A Weaden

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-02-2005
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd