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A Trick I Learned from Dead Men by [Aldridge, Kitty]
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A Trick I Learned from Dead Men Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Length: 226 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

"The most perfectly formed, originally voiced, heartbreakingly real story I've read in years. I laughed, I cried, and mostly I just marvelled at how bloody brilliant this book is." (Mariella Frostrup)

"Aldridge is a skilled observer and the novel is full of detailed, sometimes strangely beautiful descriptions... Aldridge shows her eye for detail: there is joy to be found in the mundanities of day-to-day life." (Jo Caird Times Literary Supplement)

"A wonderfully funny, original novel. It is a testament to Aldridge's writing that she manages to create a convincing and expansive universe in such a modest space. In writing about lives and deaths reduced to their smallest elements she has created something joyous and life-affirming." (Evie Wyld Guardian)

"Life presents Lee with nothing but adversity, yet he never gives up, and Aldridge’s punchy style captures his matter-of-fact voice perfectly as he fights on with moving determination. Both tragic yet somehow life-affirming, her novel holds you to the end." (Francesca Angelini Sunday Times)

"Kitty Aldridge has a gift for original prose... The narrator’s tone of voice is pitch-perfect...blackly funny, moving." (Melissa McClements Independent)

Review

The Guardian: Evie Wyld (August 4th 2012)
A Trick I Learned From Dead Men is a wonderfully funny, original novel. It is a testament to Aldridge's writing that she manages to create a convincing  and expansive universe in such a modest space. In writing about lives and deaths reduced to their smallest elements she has created something joyous and life-affirming.

Financial Times: (July 14th 2012)
A Trick I Learned From Dead Men is a wonderful book, written with a mixture of pathos and bleak humour. Lee's narration seems beautifully true: it is stop-start, cliche-ridden, and marked by that peculiarly British tendency to point out the stray cloud in an otherwise spotless sky.


Sunday Times: (July 15th 2012)
Aldridge's punchy style captures [Lee Hart's] matter-of-fact voice
perfectly as he fights on with moving determination. Both tragic yet somehow life-affirming, her novel holds you to the end.


Daily Mail: (July 13th 2012)
Aldridge beautifully captures Lee's thought patterns, in which cheering
cliches fail to mask failure and despair, and movingly portrays the relentless drudgery of both his domestic and professional life. Her research is impeccable, and the quirky portrait of funeral home routine will appeal to fans of the TV series Six Feet Under.


Time Out: (July 12th 2012)
A Trick I Learned From Dead Men successfully tackles the tricky taboo of death and the art of dying, stripping away the preconceptions many of us posses. It takes a few chapters to get used to the idiosyncratic narration, but readers are rewarded with an uplifting tale of life after death. Dead good.


Metro: Andrzej Lukowski (July 11th 2012)
This small but perfectly formed third novel from Kitty Aldridge is over too soon but is impressively accomplished, nailing the distinctive voice of its protagonist. Inventive coming-of-age tale (4/5 stars)


The Independent on Sunday: (July 15th 2012)
Kitty Aldridge has a talent for vocalising the thoughts of the young. In
her first-person narration Aldridge captures the idiom and diction of an
earnest working lad. The unembellished matter-of-factness also adds to the impact of Aldridge's descriptions of Lee's job. The sensitivity and respect with which Lee and his colleagues treat the deceased is touching..


Times Literary Supplement: (July 13th 2012)
Aldridge is a skilled observer and the novel is full of detailed, sometimes
strangely beautiful descriptions of the situations Lee encounters as he
attempts to keep his family afloat. There is joy to be found in the mundanities of day-to-day life.


The Independent: (Saturday July 14th 2012)
Aldridge's new novel, like her previous one, is a lament for modern
humanity's disconnection from nature. Blackly funny, moving, eccentric story about death..


Bella Magazine: (July 2012)
This simple poignant tale resonates long after the final page has been
turned.

Easy Living Magazine: (July 2012)
A dark but oddly funny novel.. Sad, funny and very moving.

Scotland on Sunday: (July 8th 2012)
Yet he [Lee Hart] is an immensely likeable protagonist and Aldridge has
absolutely captured his engagingly open inner voice. Lee manages the seemingly impossible. Despite everything, he gets the last laugh.


Fabulous Magazine: The Sun: (23rd June 2012)
I tend to read period books (yeah, I'm a Victorian lit geek). This book is
perfection, though. It's a moving book all about love, loss, death and
family. You'll cry, but it's really funny too, and the oddball characters are totally unforgettable and haunting.


Literary Review: (July 2012)
The still, small moments, when Lee grasps at something of an answer, at warmth, are fleeting gems: 'I reckon I am happy. Definition of happiness: When knob-all happens but you don't mind in the least. Can't last of course, nothing does.'


The Bookseller: We Love This Book magazine: Jason Bull (July 6th 2012)
This is the third novel by Kitty Aldridge and will surely bring her fiction
to a much wider readership. Written in short, snappy sentences - just as people really speak - many sentences end in 'but.' This is literary fiction that is dark, funny, sad, contemporary. Literary prizeshortlistings much deserved, but.


Longlisted for The Guardian's Not The Booker Prize 2012.



Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 555 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (5 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0089WCFL8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #188,293 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is quite a short book, I read it in one day. The author has clearly taken a lot of time and effort to research her subject thoroughly. The book is the bittersweet story of Lee Hart trainee funeral director and the day to day problems he faces in his life. Lee is a carer for his deaf brother and disabled stepfather, his mother is dead. He is spurned in love but he finds solace in his work and the pride he takes in his position at the undertakers. Your heart goes out to Lee, he is a likeable character trying desperately to find an anchor in this world and make his way. The book is well written in short punchy sentences, and you feel Lee's voice is really connecting with you. A good quick read.
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By Ripple TOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 July 2012
Format: Hardcover
Kitty Aldridge's "A Trick I Learned from Dead Men" is a touchingly written, quirky story set in the world of funeral homes. The narrator is twenty-something Lee Hart. He's not the sharpest tool in the box, but his life has been tough. His father left when he was young and his mother has recently died of cancer leaving him, his step-father, a sofa-bound television make-over show addict and his deaf and wayward younger brother, Ned to fend for themselves. Lee lands a job as a trainee at the local funeral home helping Derek prepare the dead for burial or cremation. Far from being a dead end job though, it is here that he learns, ironically, about life and love, in the form of the delivery girl from the local florists.

As much as anything, it is Lee's narrative style that makes this book. It's full of short sentences, often not grammatically correct. He picks up odd words of what he deems as sophistication, especially if these are foreign words, and peppers these in his narrative like a younger version of Del-boy Trotter. So often novelists gift their narrators with a level of writing that is not consistent with their experience but not so here. The result is both touching and charming.

Aldridge also demonstrates admirable attention to her research. She acknowledges the help of funeral homes and staff in the book, and it's full of snippets and stories that can only have come from real life. Often these are darkly amusing and never gory but they give a real sense of authenticity to the book. It's hard not to imagine that Aldridge's husband, former Dire Straits front man Mark Knopfler, not breathing a sigh of relief when the research phase of her work was complete as you can just see her regaling him with the latest gruesome story over their evening beans on toast!
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Format: Hardcover
I was charmed by Lee, the quirky and kind hearted main character, a 24 year old apprentice undertaker. The humour was gentle and respectful. The routines and procedures strangely comforting. Lee does his best with a sad and difficult home situation though his thoughts and actions are frequently bizarre. I found the book funny and sad in almost equal measure and I hated leaving the characters so much when I came to the end I immediately began a reread. Best book I have read since 'The Help'.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book, totally different to the usual books I read. It was recommended from a book club review, otherwise I probably wouldn't have chosen it. Saved it in my kindle to read again I liked it that much.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This fantastic book is written by a woman and what a clever author Kitty Aldridge is as she gets into the heads of the main male characters so incredibly well. The story develops around Lee, who is looking after his stepfather and his socially inept and deaf younger brother Ned, following the death of their mother from cancer. Written in a style that rather reminded me of Alan Bennett`s Talking Heads monologues it is at once funny, tragic, clever and deeply moving. It`s not really a novel, more a novella, you can read it in a day, but I would highly recommend this book, it`s a rare treat and a joyful piece of writing.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Thoroughly enyoyed this book on so many levels. I laughed out loud, I cried, I loved how beautifully crafted it is and the freshness of style in which it is written. The taboo subject of death is somehow brought to life! Definitely worth a read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An interesting, quirky read which draws you in from the beginning and keeps you reading with a sense of anticipation of what's coming up next for the characters. The narrative voice is unusual and takes a while to get used to, but it brings to life the intriguing main character, Lee. A good choice for a book club read - there's plenty to discuss and the length means everyone should finish it in time!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book ticks all the boxes! Humour, action and emotion. It is written from the persepctive of a young man struggling to keep his family together following the death of his mother and is his internal monologue as he goes about his day's work at the local undertakers. Unusual? Yes, definitely - but well wirth a look.
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