- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 11 hours and 27 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Isis Publishing Ltd
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 24 Jun. 2011
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0057XQXYC
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The Blackhouse Audio Download – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
Things I liked about this book - the fantastic descriptions of the Lewis landscape, dazzling white beaches and cottages leaking smoke from damp peat fires, and the insights into a puritanical and insular existance - childrens swings chained together on Sundays, dangerous voyages to an inhospital rock to hunt seabirds. In fact the lifestyles of the islanders were so well related that I was stunned to find out the author didn't grow up there after all, but had garnered his information while fiming on Lewis.
Things I didn't like were the rather 2-dimensional nature of most of the characters. The hero of the piece comes across as somewhat unsympathetic, abandoning his wife shortly after their son is killed in a hit and run. And I didn't like the clumsy device of conveniently reuniting him with a childhood sweetheart on the island, and seemingly providing a ready made new family. But despite this, the book is a real page turner and very readable - hence 4 stars.
Taking the location first of all, then the description and 'feel' of the town seemed pretty accurate (speaking as someone who doesn't live there but has visited on more than a few occasions). As regards the wind scoured moors and bogs, with those isolated dwellings pockmarked on the landscape, then I found this really evocative with the authentic salty tang of the sea.
Despite that, the best part is probably the human drama which unfolds. Not so much the 'whodunnit' but the drawing of these flawed and fundamentally damaged characters. I really empathised with many of them, particularly Marsaili and, surprisingly, Angel almost as much as Fin. I don't know if it was intentional but, for me, the cruelty of the landscape almost seemed to be a metaphor for the cruelty (or 'ambivalence'?) of the world, and for all of the characters it really is a story of opportunities missed, human frailty and "what might have been" in another place and another time.
The conclusion is effectively the convergence of the human timeline in the novel with the criminal investigation and it becomes increasingly clear that the latter cannot be resolved without an appreciation of the former. There are of course unanswered questions at the end in terms of the human dimension, and I'm hoping they'll be addressed in Book 2 and beyond...
As soon as I'd finished the last page, I went straight to my PC and ordered the next in the trilogy.
Oh - and it was delivered well before the due date; and in the condition advertised.
Peter May is so clever, the book is written in two tenses each with it's own totally absorbing mysteries. I won't say more as it would difficult to do so adequately, but do not miss the opportunity to read this book (and the two others in the trilogy). Intriguing plot(s) - beautifully told. Finely defined characters who are absolutely believable. Rebus and Harry Bosch need to move over so that Fin Macleod can take a seat beside them.