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on 15 January 2011
Nicholas Monsarrat's "other" books (those which are not "The Cruel Sea" or "The Master Mariner") are surprisingly varied - but many of them share his rather clear eyed (or one might even say jaded) view of human nature. Esther Costello's story is one such.
Esther, a beautiful, spirited child is profoundly injured in an explosion (an IRA arms cache found by children) leaving her deaf, blind and dumb. Her family, unable to cope with her disabilities leave her to live like an animal in a shed next to the privy. All this is quite bad enough - but then Esther is saved by a well meaning but very human woman, who wishes to do a good deed - but still more to be admired for doing it. For a while all seems to be set fair for a reasonably happy ending - Esther and her benefactress learn deaf and dumb language, Esther is well looked after, there is a handsome (and nice) journalist in the offing ... But the deadly sins come to circle around her - if her rescuer is vanity, the rescuer's husband is lust and sloth combined, and he soon brings in friend avarice and greed ...
Will Esther be rescued from the web spinning around her, or does Monsarrat have a final kidney punch for us? What do you think?
A modern fairytale of the Grimm variety - do read - but not if you are looking for something cheering!
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on 9 November 2014
I bought this on KIndle to re-read it as I'd read it when it first came out and really enjoyed it. It's still a cracking good story years later and one of Monsarrat's best - the tragedy of a young girl who loses sight, hearing and speech after an explosion and the story of how she is helped then exploited by others who see an opportunity to make a fast buck. Really engrossing and memorable.
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on 28 November 2013
Nicholas Monserrat (Author of The Cruel Sea) has written a vastly different story here but with the same depth of characters and descriptive powers. Esther Costello is an emotionally moving story about conflicting motives for helping this deaf/blind Irish girl. Compelling reading from start to finish.
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on 5 August 2013
I thought this book was brilliant. it was a book I had to keep reading to the end. I would recommend to anyone interested in recent history.
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on 24 December 2015
I remember reading this book as a teenager, too many years ago to mention! It is a truly haunting story with a strong moral to it. Can truly recommend it.
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on 23 February 2015
love this story
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on 8 February 2013
Nicholas Monsarrat is almost a forgotten writer but this novel is well written and gripping.
I don't fully like the format of the book in terms of its size. Books should be smaller so they can fit into the pam of your hand.
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