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Talking to the Dead (Thorndike Core) Hardcover – Large Print, Dec 1997


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 281 pages
  • Publisher: G. K. Hall & Company; Lrg edition (Dec. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0783883293
  • ISBN-13: 978-0783883298
  • Product Dimensions: 24.2 x 16.3 x 2.7 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,994,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

Twenty-five years after the death of their baby brother in his crib, a death that still haunts them both, sisters Isabel and Nina are brought back togeth by the birth of Isabel's son, unlocking searing hidden memories and promptin ultimate betrayal and a shocking tragedy. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 30 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Tense, brittle, doomed 12 Dec. 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I liked this book a lot. I didn't expect everything to be explained, because Nina the narrator doesn't know all the answers (for example, about Edward's role in Isabel's life); I didn't expect to be shocked by plot twists--the whole book moves like a magnet to its climax and conclusion. The interest came for me in the gorgeous writing, and in the author's ability to sustain a terrible tension, a sense of gathering doom, like a summer storm rolling in slowly, but with stunning force. I enjoyed imagining Isabel through the eyes of the various characters; and imagining how Isabel's various mental troubles developed and manifested through life, while she remained (on the surface) a perfectly functional woman. We keep getting new information that changes that imagined course, right up to the end; so maybe it's the unwritten parts of the story that kept me fascinated. I didn't read it very quickly--I spent a couple weeks reading it in short sittings at the gym--maybe that helped me remember it as more attenuated, more impressive in the way its tone is maintained.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Plot and style never manage to mesh 12 Nov. 2000
By frumiousb - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There are some lovely elements to this book, not the least of which is the quality of the prose. Dunmore is clearly a talented writer and well-able to spin a moving tale. However.
Despite a promising start, this book about the relationship between two sisters never quite manags to gel. There are elements of a murder mystery, characters that you'd find in a Doris Lessing novel, and a plausible set up to bring the whole cast together. Taken individually, these things are fine, but instead of blending to a harmonious whole, the various aspects undermine each other and I found myself getting irritated by the skeletons in the closet while I was trying to concentrate on the emotional landscape.
Too bad.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
one of the most disturbing books I've ever read 8 Sept. 2009
By LifeboatB - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book doesn't advertise itself as a horror story, but by the time the final twist is revealed, it becomes one of the most shocking novels in print, the more so because what happens could take place in almost any family. The visceral prose makes the incidents in the book extremely memorable, and the settings are vivid. One weakness for me was the narrator's love affair--it seemed to come out of nowhere, and didn't add much to the story, in my opinion, though I can practically recite every word of the sex scene. Another area that could have been improved was the description of the narrator's sister Isabel--we're told she's incredibly beautiful, but I would have preferred some more concrete descriptions, as her presence wasn't as strong as I think it should have been. But as a study of family psychology and the greed for parental attention that every child feels, "Talking to the Dead" succeeds with a macabre honesty. I thought about the book long after I had finished it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful writing 22 Jun. 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This novel was completely haunting. I didn't even like the main characters of the story but I felt compelled to know what was going to happen. The description is luscious and sensual, particularly when she is describing food. The sex scenes are haunting because they are so dismissive. Even if you read this book only for the beautiful prose, you will find a story that is provacative and understated in its complexity.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
ENDLESS MANIPULATIONS 6 Jun. 2002
By Larry L. Looney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
...and that applies both to the author's style and to the characters she has created. The two sisters that are the center of this novel ceaselessly engage in manipulating each other -- and neither one of them are very likable, which made it difficult for me to like this book any more than I did. One of them is simply mean-spirited, and the other has the sexual appetite (as well as the sensitivity, morality and intelligence) of a gerbil. The author is a skillful writer, no doubt -- but if I find so little redeeming in her characters, it leaves only the suspense inherent in the story to hold my interest. There was some degree of that here -- but the endless goings-on about food and cooking allowed my interest to slide even further, a little like mentally driving on ice.
I felt the need to force myself to pay attention to the more important details -- the result was a not-too-pleasant reading experience. That's too bad -- when I read the jacket description, I had high hopes for this novel. The only real aspect of 'talking to the dead' that I found within it was the brief introduction, a soliloquy by one sister lying on the grave of the other which takes place after all of the events in the story.
I can recommend Sheri Reynolds incredible novel A GRACIOUS PLENTY, or even Rhiann Ellis' AFTER LIFE as more entertaining and true to this novel's alleged subject matter.
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