Narrator: Chris Patton
Read: Review copy from the publisher via LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.
Rating: 4 out of 10
Publisher: HighBridge Audio
Pages: 195 (print version)
Synopsis (from Publisher’s Weekly): Unhappy in love, New York creative writing instructor Aaron McCloud arrives in Ireland. Aaron stays with his aunt Kitty, who makes a living rewriting the classics , but Aaron’s wallow in self-pity is interrupted by a lost pig that attaches itself to him. When the pig digs up a human skeleton buried in the backyard…the stage is set for an Irish country comedy of manners in which darts, pints, pigs and burial plots all play a part. Caldwell’s shaggy pig story, the first of a projected trilogy, puts farcical doings into lilting language and provides a payoff that is as unexpected as it is satisfying.
Overall Impression: Oi (oink?). This was not my cup of tea. Others seem to have really liked it, though, so you may too.
By the synopsis, I thought I’d really enjoy it. But not so much. I feel like perhaps it was a bit of a satire/farce of traditional Irish blarney stories, if there are such a thing…I wouldn’t know because I haven’t read any. There were far too many of melodramatic soliloquies and a lot of blaming each other and themselves for the murder of the guy dug up in the yard. No one spoke like a real person. In fact, I didn’t really like any of the characters—they were all so self-absorbed.As for the plot, it kind of felt like a play, more than anything. But not really a play I’d like to see.
There were, however, parts of Caldwell’s writing that were really beautiful. Stunning, even. I wanted them to be inserted into a different story.
Then the ending happened and I was all, “Wha huh? Did that just really happen?” Elements of the absurd, to be sure.
Narration: Chris Patton wasn’t my favorite, but I think it had to do with the story more than anything. His melodramatic narration just enhanced the melodramaticism (yeah, I can make up words with the best of them) that was already driving me a bit mad.
Positives: It’s clear that Caldwell has a talent for writing, especially in beautiful metaphors.
Negatives: Unlikable characters, crazy monologues, a completely unrealistic ending.
Other books I’ve read by Joseph Caldwell: none
Other blogger opinions:
Regular Guy: “The book received many notable reviews from what I have found online, but I found it tedious, rambling and far too reliant on a tired Irish stereotype.”
Dear Author: “It’s a slow, gentle, stately send up of Irish mist and mysticism at a pace which never hurries or rushes along.”
Blogging for a Good Book: “The pleasure of the story doesn’t lie so much in the plot (fun as it is) as in the rich and descriptive language Caldwell’s Irish characters use.”
Legal gobbledygook: I received this book free from LibraryThing as part of their Early Reviewers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”