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The neighbour sounds more fun!
on 19 June 2013
What a strange book. Odd start, unsatisfying middle, questionable ending (but I won't spoil it here).
Are we sure this was meant to be a ghost story? I've had more frights receiving a restaurant bill.
It's a pity because the premise seemed quite good (I've not read Sophie Hannah before, this was actually recommended to me): A woman, missing her young son, finds her life increasingly intolerable because of the neighbour from hell.
She thinks he's playing choir music to antagonise her and escapes to the country, only to find the music follows her.
All very ghostly - except for me, it was anything but.
For starters, the protagonist was so dreary that my immediate sympathies lay with the far more colourful sounding fellow next door. I couldn't reconcile the idea of a mother sending her seven year old son to boarding school in any circumstances (it completely alienates non-Enid Blyton-bred readers, but maybe that's the working class in me) and when she eventually moved out I was ready to ring her neighbour's doorbell and suggest throwing a party to celebrate...
Perhaps I ought to try another Sophie Hannah book as The Orphan Choir didn't do it for me. This was like the aftermath of Chinese meal: I needed more and the taste in my mouth remained - but I simply couldn't face it.