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This Time of Dying

Written by: Reina James
Narrated by: Cornelius Garrett
Length: 9 hrs and 13 mins

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Publisher's Summary

It is 1918, and London is gathering in its dead. For undertaker Henry Speake, laying to rest the bodies of those sent home from the Front has become a familiar duty. But what he is seeing now, as influenza claims its victims, is something different.
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  • tothemanorbornfreak
  • 04-02-15

Elegantly evocative portrait

If you could sum up This Time of Dying in three words, what would they be?

I can't sum it up in three words...except Just Get Listening ;-D

What did you like best about this story?

The book is covers a couple of weeks during the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918. It follows the lives of a diverse set of people whose lives intersperse. It does sort of centre on the relationship between an undertaker Henry Speake and a school teacher Alan Thompson (the latter being a woman), but you also get a lot about their respective families, colleagues and others. It's wonderfully put together, and I love how the author has written so many short scenes from so many different viewpoints and about so many different characters without the novel becoming confused, patchy or incoherent.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

When Alan defies Henry's sisters. A real laugh out loud moment.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was amused, saddened, angered, tense, comforted, and occasionally mildly hysterical, laughed out loud several times (often totally unexpectedly) and felt tearful although I didn't actually cry. I like the writer's ability to provoke emotion without battering you over the head with it.

Any additional comments?

I didn't want it to end! I could have happily gone on listening to further details of the characters daily lives for another ten hours. Plus, Cornelius Garrett gave a grand performance. His voices are fantastic, including the women, and he portrays the different classes - an important part of the novel - perfectly.

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