Two couples, two marriages; both seemingly perfect, both falling apart. Beneath the surface gentility of the American John Dowell with his wife Florence and the landed grace of Edward and Leonora lie fictions and deceit. There are secret desires, hidden power-games, suicides and madness. Everyone is hiding something; even the narrator can’t be trusted. Brilliantly inventive, tragic and ironic, The Good Soldier is one of the great novels of the 20th century.
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' "This is the saddest story I have ever heard" has to be the best opening sentence of any novel ever written, doubly so when you discover that it is also totally misleading. Far from being a detached observer as the first sentence implies, Dowell is at the very centre of drama. Here's where a good reader (and Kerry Shale is one of the best) gives audio the edge over print. His characterisation of Dowell is breathtakingly subtle: the cultured, only discernible American accent, his disarming confidentiality and above all his laugh. Never was a laugh less careless, more calculated to deceive. Listen and I guarantee you'll be as dazzled by Shale's performance as I was.' (
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