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Posts Tagged ‘flatmates’

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I listened to this audiobook across several of my training runs (which is basically how I listen to all of my audiobooks). I generally prefer a physical book to an audio, but I think this one worked as one to listen to.

The two main characters are Tiffy and Leon, and they narrate alternate chapters. Tiffy is just out of a bad relationship and needs somewhere to live, but on minimum wage, and in London, her options are limited. So she answers an ad for an unusual flat share…

Leon is a night nurse, who’s brother has been wrongly imprisoned and Leon needs to earn enough money to pay the appeal lawyer who is working on the case. He only needs his flat from 9.00am – 6.00pm because he is at work the rest of the time and spends weekends with his girlfriend Kay – so the answer seems obvious – he will advertise for a flatmate, who can have the flat to themselves every evening and weekend, as long as he can have it between in the daytime. Although they will be sharing a home and a bed, they need never meet. They still get to know each other though through the various post it notes which turn from quick messages to long conversations, and although Leon is initially bemused by all the girly stuff suddenly filling his flat, they become fond of each other despite never coming into direct contact.

This all sounds like a long explanation, and it is. But it’s set up really well, and I really liked the first half of the book. Both Tiffy and Leon are likeable characters, although very different – Tiffy is verbose and has a tendency to overshare, whereas Leon is quite closed and almost talks in bullet points.

I didn’t like the second half of the book quite as much. For quite a while the story seemed to go in circles and I do feel that a bit of editing could have improved it. It wasn’t awful though and still held my attention. But this being the kind of book it is, I knew – and I suspect every ready will know – how it is going to turn out although there are a few bumps in the road before we get there.

I think books with multiple narrators really benefit from the audio format. Carrie Anne Fletcher and Kwaku Fortune both did a great job of bringing Tiffy and Leon to life.

Overall, while I didn’t love this and don’t share the opinion of the huge amount of reviewers who have fallen in love with this book, it was an enjoyable read and a promising debut.

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This lovely book is very heartwarming and charming. It was originally published in serial form in a newspaper, and you can tell this by the way it is written, with pointed breaks in the narrative.  (This is an observation, and not a criticism.)

The basic story centres around the inhabitants of the various flats at 44 Scotland Street, in Edinburgh. In one flat we have the egotistical Bruce and his new flatmate Pat, who is sweet and compassionate. In another flat is Domenica MacDonald – intelligent and intuitive. Then we have Irene and Stuart Pollock – determined to provide the best possible future for their five year old son, without being able to see that they are not allowing him to enjoy the present.

The book also tells the stories of other people in their lives – Pat’s gentle but unmotivated boss, Matthew; Bruce’s colleagues and boss; Domenica’s friend Angus Lordie; and Bertie’s psychotherapist, Dr Fairbairn. 

There is an ongoing storyline concerning a painting in the gallery where Pat works, which may or may not be very valuable, but really this book is a gentle narrative of these people’s lives.  I found myself really starting to warm to several of the characters, who were all very well depicted, even if they did seem in danger of becoming a little stereotypical at times.

Overall, this is a perfect read for kicking back and relaxing with – gentle and humorous.  I’d certainly be happy to recommend this one.

(Author’s website can be found here.)

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