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Caroline: A Mystery by [Medvei, Cornelius]
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Caroline: A Mystery Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Length: 160 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

"A complete delight... Ancient myth meets daily grind, and the ordinary and the fantastic... are mingled everywhere you look" (Boyd Tonkin Independent)

"Delightful, unforgettable and splendidly peculiar" (Spectator)

"Medvei's prose is limpid and particular, telling the story with an exquisite control that interfuses the sublime and ridiculous in exact proportions, the one hidden inside the other... The result is pleasurable and profound. Medvei never puts a foot wrong" (Times Literary Supplement)

"Medvei's fable about the inexplicable nature of human passion unfolds with a gentle surrealism" (Financial Times)

"This absolutely engrossing tale is written with serene poise" (Sunday Times)

Book Description

When Mr Shaw meets the beguiling and enigmatic Caroline, she changes his life. But Caroline is a donkey, and their happiness is soon threatened.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7717 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; Reprint edition (6 Jan. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004FV4XIA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #548,086 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I found the author of this novel on the web site of his agency, Tavistock Wood. The author in the photograph on the site has the air of a scientist about him...or of a chess player, actually. I read the book in one go on a flight -- this is fine writing, considerate of its subject, or subjects, because hidden behind the tale of the man and his donkey, is a larger tale about fathers and sons, about family and even about the cities that surround us, through which we sleepwalk at times with surreal ideas on our minds not unlike the one that Medvei must've had before he penned this work, his second published novel.

I was thoroughly charmed by this book and I'm not easily charmed by other people's writing. It's also been a while since I read a novel from start to finish in one go - I think the last one was a stephen king, and this is as far from king as one can perhaps go, short of experimental fiction. Perhaps because of the special role that chess plays in this book, perhaps because of the calm, collected style of telling, I was reminded of Stefan Zweig's wonderful novella "The Royal Game". I also noticed some Russian sensibility between the pages and not only because Russia (via the subject of chess) makes a short appearance.

Here is an excerpt almost from the end of the book, which shows the fine story telling & which made me think of the last time I saw my own father before his sudden death: «Even his dress, which to the insensitive observer might have suggested an old man letting himself go (sweater gone at the elbows, bedsocks stuffed into galoshes, haphazardly shaven chin), seemed to me like nothing so much as a demonstration of the sage's magnificent disregard for external appearances.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a lovely little book! It begins as a simple, but engaging story about one man's bond with a donkey, but it slowly ventures away from reality, leaving you questioning what is true and what has just been invented by the author. It is very cleverly written and it took me a while to work out what was happening. The text is initially littered with fascinating facts about donkeys, but when I found myself wondering whether or not donkeys really can play chess I realised that I'd been had!

"The exhilarating novelty of playing chess with a donkey more than made up for the successive defeats, and Caroline was positively skittish when we finished; she butted Arthur playfully in the back as he was returning the chess pieces - marked faintly with the imprint of her teeth - to the box."

My only criticism is the word "Mystery" in large type on the cover. I picked this book up because I was in the mood for a bit of crime solving and so was a bit disappointed that I wasn't able to exercise my brain cells in that way.

This is a short, but sweet book that could charm even the grumpiest of souls. Anyone who knows me would point out that any book described as "charming" would normally send me running in the opposite direction, but for some reason Caroline didn't have that effect. I think that this was because the bizarre escapades of the impressively intelligent donkey entertained me in such an original way. I'm afraid I can't let you know any more about the plot for fear of ruining this lovely little book, but I hope that I have revealed enough to intrigue you.

I recommend it, especially as a gift to animal lovers.
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By Brett H TOP 50 REVIEWER on 26 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a strange story, very short, which many readers will read through in a couple of hours or so as I did. It describes an obsession, or a love affair, depending which way you look at it, between a gentleman of an age where he is approaching retirement and a donkey called Caroline. When they meet it is a case of love at first sight, at least on the part of the gentleman. More difficult to define on Caroline's side as she is ever an enigmatic if extremely intelligent beast.

Caroline gradually becomes an integral part of the family's lives, although there is a little resentment on the part of the wife and son since the man is spending the greater part of his waking hours either in Caroline's company or in researching donkeys. Indeed his research notes crop up from time to time in the book. Under the circumstances his family are tolerant in the extreme. Within this story there is an almost seamless transition from Caroline behaving as we expect donkeys to behave and exhibiting behaviour that is not expected.

It is an interesting story, though I said at the outset, certainly rather strange. Hardly a page turner, the end leaves the reader with unresolved questions. Extremely humorous in places and poignant in others, but I am not sure it worked for me as well as I was expecting it to.
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By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is an odd little novella. It reminded me rather of Edward Albee's play 'Goat' about a fifty something architect who one day falls in love with a goat, much to the horror of his entire family. In the play, the goat and the man are obviously an item. In this curious little book, the narrator is at pains to reiterate that the relationship between the man and the donkey is 'platonic'. It doesn't stop you, as the reader, worrying about this issue all the way through the book though. Or it didn't me, anyway. But maybe that was just because I'd already seen 'Goat'. I quite enjoyed this book, but to be honest I wasn't really sure what it was trying to say or where it was trying to go, and I felt I should be searching for, and finding, deeper symbolic meaning than I did. It was not a very taxing read, the characters were rather lifeless to be honest. They seemed like caricatures, and I totally didn't buy that the man's wife would just stoically put up with her husband's obsession with this donkey for years and years. It was a curious little book, but fairly entertaining.
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