- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 6 hours and 49 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 9 Nov. 2012
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00A4TIESM
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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The Small Hours Audiobook – Unabridged
Top customer reviews
However, the narrative jumps back and forth in time, from the opening of the school to the selling off of its assets several years later within the first few pages, then back to the school, to the illness of Harriet's mother and a glimpse of reconciliation, back to the school again, and finally to the rather abrupt ending....and I found this really frustrating. There is no chronological thread, and the writer seems to lead the reader hither and yon at will. This happens a lot in modern novels, I find, and sometimes it works well. But for me, it spoiled this novel, and although the writing is at times wonderful and Harriet a most sympathetic heroine, this wasn't enough for me.
I've had the book for over two years and, during that time, I've tried several times to read it but never got any further than the first 20 pages.
The start of the novel is quite disorientating as you don't know what is going on. The style of writing though is beautifully thought provoking but didn't engage me at all.
I wish I agreed with the others that have read this but I don't. I'll just move onto the next book.
As Harriet sets to work to realize her dream, creating a wonderful establishment where academic achievement is eschewed in favour of art, music and creative play, the reader begins to ask oneself who Harriet is doing this for. Is it so she can give the children in her care the sort of early life experience that was denied to her? Is she trying to make herself feel better by attempting to cancel out what happened to her when she was a child, or is Harriet understandably trying to feel valued and to convince her family that she is worth taking notice of? And are Harriet's dreams of her own little piece of heaven finally realized, or does life have a few more punches in store for our heroine?
First-person narrated by Harriet, the reader is immediately pulled into her eccentric and bewildering world as we follow her on her difficult journey through life. This novel is beautifully written, emotionally profound, poignant and blackly humorous, and Susie Boyt (who, I was interested to discover, is the great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud) has written this story with a deep psychological insight. I found this an absorbing and involving read and felt it was impossible not to feel for Harriet, to want to cheer her on in her endeavours and to intensely hope for a happy ending for her - but do we get one? I obviously have to leave that for prospective readers to discover.
It's funny , wry , heartbreaking and hopeful , her heroine Harriet Mansfield is an inspiring creation and the story of what's happened to her in the past and how she attempts to overcome it is terribly moving . There's a lot of pain in this book but much humour too , it's also ravishingly well -written and I know I'll be returning to Harriet again as well as buying it for all my friend's for Christmas.
A beautiful book about the best and worst of how we treat each other.