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Putney

Written by: Sofka Zinovieff
Narrated by: Annie Aldington
Length: 10 hrs and 57 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Ralph Boyd’s first glimpse of Daphne will be etched on his mind forever. Dark, teasing, slippery as mercury, she seems neither boy nor girl but sprite - something elemental. An up-and-coming composer, Ralph is visiting the writer Edmund Greenslay at his riverside home in Putney to discuss a collaboration. In its colourful rooms and unruly garden, Ralph finds an intoxicating world of sensuous ease and bohemian abandon that captures the mood of the moment. Entranced, he knows he will return. 

But Ralph is 25 and Daphne is nine, and even in the liberal 1970s a fast-burgeoning relationship between a man and his friend’s daughter must be kept secret. Years later, after a turbulent youth and a failed marriage, Daphne watches her 12-year-old daughter, Libby, mimic the gestures of adult sexuality and is forced to confront her own childhood with a new perspective. 

Putney is a bold, thought-provoking novel about the moral lines we tread, the stories we tell ourselves and the eyes of society. Written in lyrical, evocative prose, it is a rich tale of family, friendship, guilt and responsibility.

©2018 Sofka Zinovieff (P)2018 Audible, Ltd
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 11-12-18

Problematic narration

The narrator reads well and clearly, but the characters voices are so grating I am not able to finish listening to the book here I will have to buy and read it. The subject matter being what it is (childhood sexual abuse) means that a faux baby voice for the young girl is almost unbearable.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mark Runacres
  • 20-08-19

Riveting Exploation of the Traumas of paedophilia

an unexpected classic. brilliant characterisation of a small group impacted by a famous composers erotic engagement with a young girl who tried to deal with her experiences years later. Tragic and gripping with extraordinarily crafted plot and characters.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-11-18

Wrong narrator

This is a highly engaging book but not one I can finish via audible. I shall have to read it instead. Not a bad narrator as such but not a great choice for this book in my opinion. I can't bear the voices she puts on for Daphne and Libby.

1 person found this helpful

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  • silverlinings
  • 11-04-20

A fine book

Intelligent, nuanced and gripping. The narration is excellent. I shall be loving for more from Sofia Zinovieff.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-03-20

Seriously Wrong Narrator

Her tone and characterisation trivialise such a sensitive and critically important issue. Not impressed at all.

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  • Sarah Rayner
  • 09-12-19

Compelling and convincing - highly recommended

This novel was recommended to me by a friend whose opinion I respect so I decided to give a go. I'm glad I did, and I hope this review helps to persuade to follow our lead, as a title that gives nothing away and an out-of-focus cover image tell readers little of what to expect from ‘Putney'.

In a nutshell, this is the story of a successful composer and his illicit affair with a 13-year-old in the '70s. It flips between that era and now, so we see Ralph and Daphne at 30 and 13, and also at 70 and 53, thus giving the author the chance to explore our changing attitudes to sexual relationships from the personal perspective of her characters, and a historical one.

It's neither voyeuristic nor coy, and manages to make you want to know more about its cast of not-terribly-likable characters from the off. In this respect Zinovieff's writing reminded me far more of Louise Doughty's 'Apple Tree Yard', say, than 'Lolita'. (Unlike ATY, however, I had a very personal response to 'Putney'. Hard not to, when I’m the same age as her protagonist Daphne, ie born in 1963, was also the child of bohemian parents AND went to school in Putney for 11 years straight.) I could picture the setting all too easily and, unfortunately, the abusive relationship of which the author writes. Thankfully I never had a 'Ralph' in my life, but there was a man who regularly exposed himself to me as I walked home from school and I have looked back before and thought 'gosh, how different the response of the adults I knew then was to the one I'd get now'. Yet whilst I can see that it's too simplistic to judge the past by today’s moral standards, at the same time I've hitherto felt torn about where that leaves us in terms of historic sexual abuse. In this respect the novel helped me to unravel some of my own confusion; largely because 'Putney' does not shy away from these difficult questions but tackles them head on, with bravura, intelligence and a lack of sentimentality. I gulped it down in 48 hours and found it gripping yet subtle and touching. (And as an aside, I had no problem with the narration; to make the child *not* sound younger would have seemed to be sanitising the story to make it easier on our ears. On this score I'd suggest listening to a sample to see if this irks you.) In conclusion, I’d recommend this novel wholeheartedly and hope you enjoy it as much as I and my friend did.

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  • EC
  • 20-07-18

Putney

Listened to over 100 books on Audible but this is my 1st review.

I wont give any plot away because Puney kept me listening and guessing how it would resolve almost to the end.

Inbetween I cringed and laughed but ended in tears (for good reason) when the girls wouldn't let go her arms.

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  • Jacqueline S.
  • 22-09-18

Hugely enjoyable

Insightful account of questionable behaviour. Narration excellent. Quite a number of unexpected twists and turns.

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  • Sally
  • 27-01-20

Mixed

Interesting story, but the narrator’s inflections drove me bonkers. I persisted, but it was often a battle.