- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 17 hours and 35 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 11 July 2011
- Language: English
- ASIN: B005C4KWI4
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Half of the Human Race Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
Spanning a nine year period, this opens in 1911 when the 21 year old Connie first meets Will Maitland, a professional cricketer. They neither fall in love at first sight, nor do they indulge in coy and arch bickering to conceal their instant attraction, but a relationship is begun in all its uncertainly and complications, marred by the arrogance of youth.
Will and Connie are both attractive characters, but certainly not faultless. Will, especially, is very of his time (as he should be, but as so many fictional characters are not): he has inherited ideas of what it means to be a man, about duty and responsibility, and the rightful role of women. He cannot even begin to understand Connie's commitment to the suffragist cause, and this central issue of what happens when a couple love each other but cannot negotiate the deep political dissension between them is fascinatingly played out.
Connie herself is a committed suffragist but not a strident one - she's driven by the deep illogicality which denies women a legal identity as individuals, and becomes politicised rather than the other way around. This part of the book reminded me of Woolf's Night and Day, a testament to the empathy with which Quinn has handled his subject matter.
Where this book excels, however, is in never foregrounding the issues rather than the characters. Towards the end there are a tad too many coincidences in the plot but I willingly forgave them. I loved this book, really cared about the characters' fates and found their story completely absorbing - I don't often give a book 5 stars but this deserves every one: highly recommended.
Connie, who is becoming more involved with the Suffragettes: "the greatest cause the world has ever known", gradually realizes that, despite Will's conservatism, she is also falling in love - but, aware that Will does not approve of her feminist views, she holds back from committing herself to him. When Connie is arrested for breaking the law with her fellow Suffragettes and is subsequently imprisoned for six months hard labour, Will - who feels rejected and hurt by her actions - decides to extricate himself from their relationship, causing lasting pain and heartache to the both of them. But things between them are nowhere near over...
This is the story of Connie and Will's relationship, of their lives, and of the people around them during the tumultuous period of time as England moves out of the Edwardian era and into the years of the First World War. 'Half of the Human Race' is wide ranging in the subjects it covers - we encounter: love, loyalty, friendship, feminism, civil rights, prisoners' welfare (including the force-feeding of the Suffragettes), trench warfare, comradeship, life and death. And in amongst all of these, a little bit of cricket. Although World War I, the Suffragette Movement and county cricket may seem odd bedfellows for a novel, Anthony Quinn weaves these strands together into a compelling, convincing and satisfying read, with characters who feel real and worth caring about. And there's not too much about cricket - honestly.