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If you usually steer clear of "love stories" do not be discouraged by this description - it is one of the most amazing, entertaining, imaginative and truly magical pieces of writing I have enjoyed for a long time. The superb use of words and the incredibly detailed, fascinating and often humourous descriptions of even some normally ordinary things make this a delight. As I listened I wanted to keep stopping to note and remember so many unusual and fascinating quotable phrases and sentences.
You can get an idea of the story from the summary, but this cannot do it justice and to try and tell more would constitute "spoiling", although the last sentence conveys the wide range of interest. At times suspense is built for so long it is almost as painful for the listener as for the characters and then the author resolves things in ways we could not imagine but laugh or nearly cry and always enjoy. The tale unfolds from the multiple viewpoints and through the person of the bearded and warty local Saint Walpurnia, who looks down on her charges in an imaginary Baltic area where places are called Dot, Dash and Umlaut and where the River Ampersand flows through. ( Doesn't that whet your appetite?)
There could be no better narrator than Penelope Keith whose flawless spoken English is such a pleasure and who captures every last nuance of expression and makes each of the many different characters real.
Apologies for raving -just loved it!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I absolutely loved listening to this book. It really did delight me. I think Andrew Nicoll could describe paint drying and he could make it quirky, clever, and just delightful. I found myself listening intently for his descriptive moments as much as for what the characters were thinking and doing. When I first started listening to it, I thought I already knew pretty much what was going to happen and just enjoyed it for the descriptions. But I quickly realised that this story is not predictable and every time I though I knew where it was going, it would change. So it was engaging from start to finish. The only aspect I got a bit tired of was Agathe's personality. I started to find her a bit annoying but not enough to detract from the whole of the novel. Penelope Keith was wonderful, absolutely perfect for the characters and plot she was dealing with.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful