Thursday 1 August 2019

A Keeper by Graham Norton @grahnort #AKeeper @CoronetBooks @HodderBooks @audibleuk

From the bestselling author of Holding comes a masterly tale of secrets and ill-fated loves set on the coast of Ireland.
Dear Lonely Leinster Lady,
I'm not really sure how to begin . . .
The truth drifts out to sea, riding the waves out of sight. And then the tide turns.
Elizabeth Keane returns to Ireland after her mother's death, intent only on wrapping up that dismal part of her life. There is nothing here for her; she wonders if there ever was. The house of her childhood is stuffed full of useless things, her mother's presence already fading. And perhaps, had she not found the small stash of letters, the truth would never have come to light.
40 years earlier, a young woman stumbles from a remote stone house, the night quiet but for the tireless wind that circles her as she hurries further into the darkness away from the cliffs and the sea. She has no sense of where she is going, only that she must keep on.
This compelling new novel confirms Graham Norton's status as a fresh, literary voice, bringing his clear-eyed understanding of human nature and its darkest flaws.

A Keeper by Graham Norton was published by Coronet Books (Hodder) in hardback in October 2018, the paperback will be released on 8 August 2019.

I listened to the audio book of The Keeper; my first ever audio book!  I've often thought about trying to listen to a  book, but I really don't like those ear bud things that fit into the ears. The bloke presented me with some proper headphones; very retro.  I gave them a try and listened to this one whilst ironing and watering the garden; it took me a while (I don't iron often!!), and the listening time is seven hours and 45 minutes, so you do have to invest in it.

I really really loved it! A Keeper is actually narrated by Graham Norton, and for me, this added so much. There were many many times that I laughed out loud; his voice, his precision and of course, his knowledge of the story, and how exactly it should be told was just perfect.

The story is told in two parts; Then and Now and chapters alternate. At the heart of the story is the mystery of Elizabeth Keane's father's identity.
Elizabeth left the small town of Buncarragh many years ago. She's now divorced, with a teenage son and lives in the US. She's returned to her home town after the death of her mother Patricia. She has a house to sort out and ghosts to put to rest.
Whilst sorting through her mother's possessions, she comes across a collection of letters, and from these, she finds out the identity of her father. After all these years, she finally has a name.

That's the 'Now'. Norton then takes the reader back to when Patricia, Elizabeth's mother was a young woman, living in that same house in Buncarragh. Most people in the town assumed she would remain there, unmarried for ever. She doesn't. After a few months of correspondence with a farmer from Muirinish, she leaves town and marries him.
However, she returns two years later, with baby Elizabeth, but no husband. Patricia never speaks of what happened whilst she was away.

I absolutely loved listening to this story life in a small Irish town, both modern day, and in the past. The author creates such a wonderful sense of place, I could almost small the peat bog, and feel the rain whipping across my face.
It's a mix of family drama and mystery, and the plot, whilst slow and fairly easy going in places, does take an unexpected turn towards the end; with a hint of madness, and lots of sadness.

I'm delighted by my first audio book, and with Graham Norton's story. The Keeper comes recommended by me.

Graham Norton is one of the UK’s best loved broadcasters. 
He presents The Graham Norton Show on BBC1 and has a weekly show on BBC Radio 2. 
He is the winner of nine BAFTA awards. 
Born in Dublin and raised in West Cork, Norton now lives in London. 
His debut novel Holding was a commercial and critical success, winning Norton the Irish Independent Popular Fiction award at the Bord Gáis Irish Book Awards in 2016.

Twitter @grahnort

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