14 May 2011

Review: WHAT WAS LOST, Catherine O'Flynn - audio

Audio book
Narrated by Colleen Prendergast
Available from Audible.com 
Source: I bought it
Length:  6 hours 33 mins
Originally published 2008

Publisher's Blurb
A lost little girl with her notebook and toy monkey appears on the CCTV screens of the Green Oaks shopping centre, evoking memories of junior detective Kate Meaney, missing for 20 years.
Kurt, a security guard with a sleep disorder, and Lisa, a disenchanted deputy manager at Your Music, follow her through the centre's endless corridors - welcome relief from the tedium of their lives.
But as this after-hours friendship grows in intensity, it brings new loss and new longing to light. This is 21st-century Britain with its addiction to consumerism, absurdity, and loneliness, unspoken guilt and hidden lives.

My take:
My reaction to this book may be a bit low key because of the fragmented way in which I listened to it. I also found the narrator a little hard to understand and was sometimes left wondering what she had actually said. And while you are wondering, the problem compounds as you miss the next few sentences. Not a good recipe for reading enjoyment.

In the opening section of the book, Kate Meaney, a 10 year old, is conducting her own "detective agency". The action mainly consists of Kate watching people at the local shopping centre, and then noting down her observations. This becomes the substance of the novel, and to be frank, it becomes a little tedious.

Then the setting changed  - what happened? Did I doze off? - I'm not sure but Kate is no longer the narrator. In fact, she's disappeared and it is 20 years on. And the remainder of the story works towards revealing what happened to Kate.

Not a captivating book for me, I'm afraid.

My rating: 3.5

I didn't enjoy this nearly as much as Bernadette on Reactions to Reading - she said it will probably be her book of the year.


Anonymous said...

Kerrie - I am sorry that you didn't like this more than you did. It might have been the audio or perhaps just differences in taste. I have to say I liked it very, very much. But we're allowed to differ...

Bernadette said...

I'm sorry you didn't like this one Kerrie - I have actually re-listened to it already and loved it just as much the second time. But life would be dull if we all reacted the same way to things eh?

kathy d. said...

I liked the book when I read it. There was one aspect later on which is a plot device I hate and won't write a spoiler so I won't mention it.
However, I found many interesting characters in the book and an excellent portrait of working-class life in a particular situation.
I'd probably give it a 4.5.

Just an fyi: I just read "Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter," by Tom Franklin, in which I concur with Kerrie's 4.8 rating.
What a good book! The mystery is one thing, but the human relationships overshadow that.

It's been nominated for several awards, and I understand why.

Maxine Clarke said...

I'm sorry you didn't like this book, which I think wonderful. Perhaps it was not entirely fair to review a book that you were not able to listen to in an optimal way? You might have enjoyed it more had you read it "seamlessly" and let its atmosphere soak in? Hope you have time to return to it one day.

Kerrie said...

Yes, I am a bit worried by what happened as I listened to this - the fact that I seemed to have lost continuity - I'll have to listen again sometime

samantha.1020 said...

I really liked the first half of the book that was narrated by Kate. The 2nd half of the book didn't work for me as much and I ended up having mixed feelings on the book as a whole. Interesting review!


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