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The Paying Guests Audio Download – Unabridged

4.0 out of 5 stars 950 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 21 hours and 29 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 28 Aug. 2014
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00KQRLOQG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank:

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Aspen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There's no two ways about it. Sarah Waters delivers. She's an accomplished and deft storyteller and is skilled at taking her reader right into the heart of the story. Each book has a specific and well defined setting. I was initially drawn to her work by 'Fingersmith'; shades of Hogarth and Dickens cleverly woven into a convincing and compelling tale. Her Booker nominations are well deserved. Her writing is lively, her characters, plot and period are evocative. So I was keen to read her latest offering which considers a completely different period, post WWI London.

In The Paying Guests, the reader is immediately drawn in to the 1922 London setting. It's an era of faded elegance; Frances and her mother have fallen upon hard times. Father made some unwise investments, leaving his wife and daughter impoverished and the sons/ brothers died in the First World War. There are no servants, no men in the household and from the opening pages, the discomfort and sense of duty is almost palpable. To make ends meet, following the reluctant sale of household items, they are forced to take in the PGs of the title. The class division is immediately apparent. There's a new social order. Frances and her mother are no longer protected by class barriers and they're faced with the challenges of sharing both their lives and home with Lil and Len. They're 'clerk class'; a little coarse, but aspirational. Frances appears tight and constrained physically, mentally and emotionally. There's a sense of sadness and loss. In contrast, Lil personifies the new Flapper age with her shingle haircut and desire to embrace freedom, informality and a different lifestyle. Her husband Len is a cheeky chappy, confident and sensuous and full of innuendo.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This isn't a bad novel by any stretch of the imagination, only perhaps we fundamentally aren't suited and therefore only hit it off slightly. Waters' is a wordsmith and her strength is her beautifully crafted images of the mundane, miniscule or the everyday. i found the visual landscape and action in this book incredibly vivid and believable, which made the book enjoyable. My issue is the length of the suspense coded into this story arc. After the key event, there's a very very long way to go before you reach the book's conclusion. It's like seeing a runaway train coming towards you, but from a really, really, REALLY long way a way. You kind of know what's going to happen, it feels inevitable, but you're going to have to wait a long time and the suspense just keeps on, and on, until you're pretty much exhausted and frankly your interest peaked a while back thanks very much.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well, I feel somewhat wrung out like an old dishcloth after finishing this book.

I'm in two minds slightly (several minds in fact) about it. Did I love it? Did I even like it? Did I just spend several torturous days pouring over the pages only to be punched in the solar plexus by the last few chapters? Was the ending perfect? Were the characters still likeable when all was said and done? Desperate and clinging, and often crazed with calamity as they were. Did I in fact grow to feel for them, hope for them, plan for them, only for them to let me down?

All of the above and more besides.

I can't fault the book on its wordiness, its atmosphere and depth. That's what you get with this author. I felt slightly oppressed by it in Affinity, it worked perfectly in Tipping the Velvet, and I especially cherished it in Fingersmith. This book drew me in the same, brought the characters to life, and had me reading until my eyes were raw in the hopes I could finish it, sit back and feel that everything, after all, would end up ok. Or some semblance of ok that I could live with at least.

I could live with this. It's not picture perfect. It's not all tied up in a neat bow and done with once you finish. I want to know what happens next. I need to know the rest of it, but that's not to say I wasn't satisfied with the ending; it just felt like I'd been drug there through so many bramble bushes and puddles of wet cement that I craved something more. Having said that, I felt the journey was worth it - though I do think that part 3 went on a little bit too long, with its aching need to keep me reading until I could barely stand the twisted anguish these two main characters found themselves in. It got a little maddening, but then I suppose that was the point.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sarah Water's long awaited new novel doesn't disappoint at all. This is a brilliantly written and very evocative story that in spite of being rich with domestic, geographical and socio-political detail, never becomes mired down in this and remains an utterly compelling story. Sarah Waters is a writer of great skill and this is one of her finest works.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Absolutely loved it! I have read all Sarah Waters' novels and I think this is one of the best - I love how she takes you right into whatever era she is writing about - in this case the years just after the Great War and you can so easily feel what it must have been like then for her characters. The story starts off quite slowly but by the end I couldn't put it down and was completely absorbed in the plot. Utterly fabulous - reading books like this makes me feel really cheery because there is wonderful stuff out there to be read.
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