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Conrad & Eleanor: a drama of one couple’s marriage, love and family, as they head towards crisis Hardcover – 2 Jun 2016

3.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books; Main edition (2 Jun. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782397922
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782397922
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 176,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

'Rogers displays a knack for drawing on life's subtle and uncanny parallels' (praise for Hitting Trees with Sticks) Times Literary Supplement 'Roger's prose flows elegantly and with effortless power... Intricately plotted, with the ability to repeatedly surprise' (praise for The Voyage Home) Observer Warm, wise, insightful, sharply observed and beautifully written. -- Marina Lewycka Her observation of our species is tender, precise, illuminating. -- Hilary Mantel A really clever, reflective and dispassionate scrutiny of a marriage in trouble Daily Mail Rogers recognises the coincidences of opposites, of irreconcilable drives, at the quick of human experience. It is this that powers Conrad & Eleanor and keeps the reader engrossed... The sequence is a microcosm of the novel's structure, the roiling tempest in Conrad's mind coming to rest in exhausted affirmation. It's brilliantly done - a sustained exploration of the polarities at the enduring heart of love. Guardian This is a portrait of modern middle-class matrimony, well-crafted and full of insight into the compromises and imbalances of long-standing relationships. Mail on Sunday A gripping account of a marriage based on role-reversal... Throughout this fast-paced, thriller-like narrative, dialogue both external and internal crackles with authenticity... And the issues they tackle give the story terrific momentum. Book Oxygen This is an extraordinary novel about an ordinary situation; the unravelling of a marriage. Jane Rogers writes with delicacy and insight about the death throes of a long relationship... This is a dissection of a relationship that cuts to the bone. The Times Jane Rogers' Conrad and Eleanor [has a] strong narrative vivid characters and a twist of the unexpected... Spectator

Review

'Jane Rogers writes with delicacy and insight about the death throes of a long relationship ... This is a dissection of a relationship that cuts to the bone.' (The Times)

'Rogers recognises the coincidences of opposites, of irreconcilable drives, at the quick of human experience. It is this that powers Conrad & Eleanor and keeps the reader engrossed ...' (The Guardian) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What begins like a mystery thriller slowly develops into something much deeper and more absorbing, namely the dissection of a long term married relationship. The author gives us an insightful, acute and closely observed account of how we choose our partners, parent our children, pursue our busy careers and maintain, or fail to maintain, a nourishing relationship with our 'significant others'. In the teeth of what seems to be the end of a dying relationship Conrad and Eleanor make unexpected discoveries about identity and love. This is a compelling accounting of an enduring relationship in which older married readers might find much that is recognisable, sometimes uncomfortably so.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book arrived fine but I just don't like it. The story line is rather stale. I didn't care what happened and didn't finish it/
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Format: Paperback
A very readable and absorbing portrait of a marriage in crisis. Conrad and Eleanor, both scientists, have been slowly falling apart for years. Conrad has Conrad disappears in mysterious circumstances after a conference and the two sides of the marriage are related by each side, revealing the deceptions and cracks in their apparently successful union. The novel is partly a thriller - Conrad's disappearance is linked to an animal rights' activist that has been dogging him for months because of his work in monkey vivisection - but it is more a subtle portrait of two very different and believable characters. Although quite different in many ways, it reminded me somewhat of Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty, in revealing the darkness within an ordinary middle-class couple's world, and yet, unlike Doughty's novel, we get a satisfying insight into both the husband and wife's thoughts.
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Format: Hardcover
I listened to the first instalment on Radio 4’s ‘Book at Bedtime’ and thought this was deadly dull but a later episode (I’m an insomniac) caught my attention, so I gave it a whirl.

The story begins with a husband vanishing (the book industry’s latest fad - ‘Gone Girl’ et al). The cause of Conrad’s disappearance proves to be flimsy and barely plausible although, on second thoughts, I can hardly blame the poor guy for slinging his hook: this study of a couple’s relationship (it unfolds in a series of flash-backs) confirmed my initial impression. There are no fresh insights here. An example:

‘Without experience, there’s no innocence. This must be true too: experience doesn’t obliterate innocence. Innocence was once as real as experience now is. Making different assertions, offering an opposite interpretation. Experience can’t wipe it from the record.’

Clumsy, but worth developing (it is about trying to excise a memory from the mind). Yet we can't escape the turgid quicksand.

Writing this I am drawn back to Tim Parks’ ‘Thomas and Mary’ (coincidental title?). I suggested part of the problem might be the impassive voice in which it was written (check), characters you don’t care about (check) and the loss of focus on the central relationship (check, here it is the monkey business - not that sort - animal rights; like other reviewers, I wasn’t interested). Writing about an ordinary marriage, it seems, is not simple.

Looking at Jane Rogers’ other books, I wonder if she set out to write about animal testing but was hijacked by a publisher/agent looking for something more ‘accessible’. The product is a nothing book. I must confess I did not finish it. Life is too short and, hey, I’m not being paid for this.

For those interested in more interesting relationships, and on a more positive note, may I recommend Penelope Mortimer’s ‘The Pumpkin Eater’? Brilliant.
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