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By Miss P. on 23-02-12
Good so far but strange narration!
I am only part way through this audiobook so far, and am enjoying the story, however the more I listen and think about it the weirder I find the narration.
It's hard to explain. The non-dialogue bits are fine; slightly whimsically read and I quite like it. The dialogue parts however are quite peculiar. In all other audiobooks I've listened to the narrator "acts" the speeches rather than just narrating them, using the intonations and expressions as if they were actually being spoken. Dialogue/conversations/speeches in this audiobook are not performed this way; instead they are read, often very quickly with no pause before the speech, as if they are still being "narrated" rather than spoken by a character. It can make the book quite hard to follow and it is often difficult to distinguish between general narration and characters speaking.
I hope this makes sense! It's difficult to put my finger on why I find it harder than other audiobooks to follow. The excerpt in the sample doesn't really demonstrate the issue as much as it could, because in that short clip the voices are "acted" more than elsewhere in the book.
By no means would I advise people against the book for reasons of the narration; I just find it requires a lot more concentration than others I have "read".
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By Melissa on 22-03-12
Experimental and Refreshing
"Girl Reading" is a strange animal - neither novel nor anthology, it falls somewhere in between. Ostensibly these short stories appear linked only by the central image of a girl or woman posing with a book, either for an artist or a photographer, but this would be cheapening the novel by several degrees. Each story occurs at a different time in history; we see the humble, pious woman of the 1300s; the society woman of the 1700s; the businesswoman of the 1800s and the political woman of the 21st century. In essence, it is a chronicle of the emancipation of women. The final story also offers another, unexpected parallel between the stories - but I won't say anymore. Spoilers!
Written entirely in the present tense, the narrative style is also worthy of note; I'm one of those readers that needs the prose to be sophisticated, at least as much as the story. "Girl Reading" reveals the worlds it inhabits by use of carefully-chosen details, never over-saturating the reader with unnecessary words. Though it requires concentration to fully enjoy this refreshing sort of style, it's a very rewarding way of engaging with the characters and the author alike.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful