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The Listeners

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  43 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
The engrossing, heartwarming story of what happens when people at the end of their tether contact the Samaritans ... In this deeply felt, absorbingly told novel, Monica Dickens not only vividly portrays three would-be suicides-but also the Samaritans themselves- Paul the ex-schoolmaster whose career has been ruined by an alcoholic wife, Victoria, half-engaged to a peer's c ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published October 28th 2011 by Bloomsbury Reader (first published April 13th 1970)
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Aug 12, 2016 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dickens examines the emotional lives of both those who use the Samaritans' service and the listeners themselves. She presents her characters with a sensitive voice, unflinching but not sentimental and without sensationalizing.

It's not much of a spoiler to say that at the outset you expect that at least one of her characters will complete a suicide attempt. That it's not at all obvious who that will be is a testament to Dickens's skill as a writer, as is her ability to make you care about the fat
[These notes were made in 1984:]. I took more delight in this than I would have normally simply because I was reading it when I should have been getting on with something else. But on re-reading it, I still appreciated its virtues - a definite knack for creating characters and realistic dialogue - while I realized its flaws - its somewhat wishful structure, and idealization of the whole institution of Samaritans: an institution which exists and functions in a world which strongly resists idealiz ...more
Oct 29, 2011 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A realistic account of what it means to man the suicide hotline (in England the Samaritans). Sometimes it means befriending the friendless,sometimes it is a puzzle trying to work out why someone is calling out for help and why the wrong response may result in them killing themselves. I don't know if good writing is in anyway genetic but Monica Dickens writes very well and she is related to Charles Dickens.
Apr 22, 2012 Hilary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Although the characters' stories were interesting, and it provided a good picture into the essential work of the Samaritans, I felt no connection at all with them. (view spoiler)
Winona Kent
Jul 02, 2013 Winona Kent rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: monica-dickens
I adored this novel. Out of all of Monica Dickens' books, this one touched me the most. I love her insight and her compassion telling the story of The Samaritans.
Alison rated it really liked it
Oct 16, 2011
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From the publisher: MONICA DICKENS, born in 1915, was brought up in London. Her mother's German origins and her Catholicism gave her the detached eye of an outsider; at St Paul's Girls' School she was under occupied and rebellious. After drama school she was a debutante before working as a cook. One Pair of Hands (1937), her first book, described life in the kitchens of Kensington. It was the firs ...more
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