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Summary

The audiobook of Someone at a Distance is a Ducks in a Row production read by Susan Wooldridge and produced by Claire Cordier.

'A very good novel indeed about the fragility and also the tenacity of love' wrote the Spectator about this 1953 novel by Dorothy Whipple, which was ignored 50 years ago because 'editors are going mad for action and passion' (as she was told by her publisher). But this last novel by a writer whose books had previously been best sellers is outstandingly good by any standards.

Apparently 'a fairly ordinary tale about the destruction of a happy marriage' (Nina Bawden in the Preface) yet 'it makes compulsive reading' in its description of an ordinary family ('Ellen was that unfashionable creature, a happy housewife') struck by disaster when the husband, in a moment of weak, mid-life vanity, runs off with a French girl.

Dorothy Whipple is a superb stylist, with a calm intelligence in the tradition of Mrs Gaskell (both wrote in the Midlands and had similar preoccupations). 'The prose is simple, the psychology spot on' said the Telegraph and John Sandoe Books commented: 'We have all delighted in this unjustly forgotten novel; it is well written and compelling.' 

©1953 Dorothy Whipple (P)2022 Persephone Books

Critic reviews

"Frailty, folly and the fragility of love are brilliantly explored in Whipple’s perfect engrossing deckchair read." (Val Hennessy, Daily Mail)

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What listeners say about Someone at a Distance

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Absolutely brilliant

I can’t help but echo the reviewer whose headline reads “undiscovered brilliance.” It certainly is. I came across Dorothy Whipple years ago when I used to be on a mailing list of Persephone Books. After reading “Someone at a Distance” I went on to read her other books and I only hope Audible add recordings of these too. Susan Wooldridges’s narration was perfect for the book, especially her French accents. (Watch out for the character with the speech impediment where she pulls off both the accent and the lisp)! Great stuff.

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A fantastic book ruined by narration

What a waste! I was so excited to find a Dorothy Whipple on Audible, but it is unlistenable due to dreadful, dull narration.

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nothing amazing. not recommended 😕

Story was OK.
selfish people who get lucky. yuck
poor parents lead to poor husbands and wives who hurt others.

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Undiscovered brilliance

I had not heard of Dorothy Whipple until I found this book - I agree with J.B.Priestly that she is the Jane Austen of the 20th Century. I hope Audible will record all her books.
Beautifully read by Susan Wooldridge whose excellent French pronunciation and singing voice were much appreciated.

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  • Sam Q
  • 14-03-22

Highly Recommended!

Outstanding narration of an outstanding book that kept me going no-stop. Here's hoping more Dorothy Whipple books are issued soon.

2 people found this helpful