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The Girl Who Fell from the Sky (unabridged audiobook) [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Simon Mawer , narrated by Anna Bentinck
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (182 customer reviews)
RRP: 25.52
Price: 19.16 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 Aug 2012
The wonderful new novel from the Man Booker Prize shortlisted author of The Glass Room is both a gripping adventure story and a moving meditation on patriotism, betrayal and the limits of love. Marian Sutro is an outsider: the daughter of a diplomat, half French, half British, naive yet too clever for her own good. But when she is recruited from her desk job by SOE to go undercover in wartime France, it seems her hybrid status - and fluent French - will be of service to a greater, more dangerous cause. Trained in sabotage, dead-drops, how to perform under interrogation and how to kill, Marian parachutes into south-west France with an urgent mission… This recording is unabridged. Typically abridged audiobooks are not more than 60% of the author's work and as low as 30% with characters and plotlines removed.

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 10 pages
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks; Unabridged Audiobook edition (3 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1471203085
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471203084
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 13.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (182 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,038,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Educated at Millfield School in Somerset and at Brasenose College, Oxford, Mawer took a degree in biology and worked as a biology teacher for many years. His first novel, Chimera, was published by Hamish Hamilton in 1989, winning the McKitterick Prize for first novels. Mendel's Dwarf (1997), reached the last ten of the Booker Prize and was a New York Time "Book to Remember" for 1998. The Gospel of Judas, The Fall (winner of the 2003 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature) and Swimming to Ithaca followed. In 2009 The Glass Room, his tenth book and eighth novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Mawer is married and has two children. He has lived in Italy for over thirty years.

Product Description


'Remarkable... haunting and mysterious' --Daily Telegraph

'One of the very cleverest books of the year, about love and loss and art and war... A stunningly crafted piece of fiction' --Evening Standard

Book Description

* The wonderful new novel from the Man Booker Prize shortlisted author of THE GLASS ROOM --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars All that research..... 23 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book could have been so much better if the back story didn't occupy so much of the first part of the book. After the first chapter when our heroine is parachuted into France, one could skip the next `40 per cent' and hardly miss anything at all. There's much about recruitment, training and the organisation and Simon Mawer commits the cardinal sin of so many writers in needing to tell us all about his exciting background research - in this case, quantum mechanics. He is not alone, I once read a mystery novel set in Africa and at the end could I could have achieved a first degree in geology and mining engineering. Why do so many writers love to tell us about their hours in the public library? So, dear reader, we are carried along into the world of the atom, its electrons and neutrons. And soon we learn that the particle (which can also be a wave function (that is, it can be in two states at the same time) is a metaphor for our heroine's mind also being in two states. But, hey! Let's not stop there. We get Schrodinger's cat (which is also in two states - either dead or alive or possibly both) and the notion of a collapsing wave function. I hope you're following all this. I thought to myself as I ploughed along that at any moment we would get the double slit experiment as well as mentions of Heisenberg and Niels Bohr's work on the atom bomb. And sure enough there they were - several more pages down the line. We are now into Michael Frayn's play `Copenhagen'. So, after a lot more about the theory of an atomic bomb and how uncritical masses can become critical, the story comes back on track.
Not soon enough depending on how much you enjoyed your sojourn into nuclear fission.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
Marian Sutro is recruited by the British in 1941 to work in France during World War Two. Marian previously lived in Geneva, but is now in England working in the WAAF, and as a native French speaker, she is selected to be trained and sent to work undercover in the South-West of France. In addition to the duties she is trained to undertake for the Special Operations Executive, she is given an additional secret assignment. She has happy memories of France from the past, of holidays and friends including Clement Pelletier, a research physicist. Before leaving for France she visits her brother Ned, also a physicist. We see her as she undergoes the numerous varied and rigorous training exercises, during which time she meets others who may play a part in her future, including Benoit. She learns 'how to blend in and how to fade away, how to see without ever being seen.' Then, she is dropped into occupied France by parachute, where her identity becomes Anne-Marie Laroche. When Marian has cause to head for Paris, she finds it is a different place from the one she remembers; it is changed, 'tarnished... this strange city that is a simulacrum of the Paris that she knew' and it is 'riddled with spies.' I will not discuss much more of the plot, as this would spoil it for future readers.

I loved this novel. It is an extremely engaging literary historical thriller. It is, at its heart, the story of a young woman placed in a very dangerous situation, all the while trying to understand her confused, complicated emotions towards two men, and comprehend the nuggets of scientific knowledge she has regarding nothing less than a possible future threat to man.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing 27 Jan 2013
By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER
Note: In the US, this book is called "Trapeze".

Marian Sutro is bilingual: the daughter of an English father and French mother. She is recruited to be an undercover agent in France during WW2. When the book opens she is in a plane about to descend by parachute into the south of France. The book then goes back in time to explain how she was recruited, how she was trained and how she learned about her dual missions in France. Once she arrives in France she finds that it has changed significantly from the country that she once knew. But she has also changed and she approaches her tasks with a cool head and a professional demeanour.

The synopsis for this book makes it sound like a fast paced thriller, but it's more William Boyd than James Bond. The first half in particular moves quite slowly. Interestingly, the first half is written in the past tense and she is referred to as Marian. Once she arrives in France, the book moves to the present tense and she is referred to as Alice (the name by which she is known to her fellow agents). The second half has quite a different feel: it's tenser and you feel closer to Marian, who is quite distant in the early parts of the book. Towards the end, the pace and tension ratchet up and become almost unbearable. Without giving the ending away, I will say that it is quite unforgettable. I like the way that Mawer foreshadows things (for example the ending) without making it apparent what's going to happen.

I am a sucker for books about how agents are trained. If you share this obsession of mine, you'll like Restless: TV tie-in and the movie The Assignment [DVD] (1997).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read and interesting
Published 2 days ago by Kate W
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Really good read from Simon Mawer again.
Published 6 days ago by Mrs. D. King
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good book
Published 11 days ago by Linda Durman
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
well written and a good yarn, the end was a drag though although inevitable I suppose.
Published 1 month ago by mr b johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
A very good interesting easy read not the ending I expected
Published 1 month ago by Lesley
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to enjoy. Gripping.
A subject Matter that gripped me from the start. The story was built to create a tension that you felt as the 'girl' lived such a dangerous existence. Read more
Published 2 months ago by BOLTON BILLY
1.0 out of 5 stars You have got to be kidding me!
I really didn't like this book. I stuck with it hoping that it was going to be interesting towards the end but it was one big disappointment from beginning to end. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jane Byars
5.0 out of 5 stars very interesting
I found this story very interesting and exciting. Not too much war although it is all set in war time.
Published 2 months ago by penny
2.0 out of 5 stars Clichéd, badly paced potboiler...
This is the second thriller that I've recently read by a "literary author" which has left me feeling that he should have stuck to his day job. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. M. Goodson
3.0 out of 5 stars This had all the making of a great novel... but it just didn't deliver
I absolutely love this genre and have read some amazing fact and fiction about WW2 female agents, but this was seriously off the mark. Read more
Published 3 months ago by GingerCox
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