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The Language of Others
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The Language of Others

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  197 ratings  ·  40 reviews
The world is a puzzling, sometimes frightening place for Jessica Fontaine. As a child she only finds contentment in playing the piano and wandering alone in the empty spaces of Audlands Hall, the dilapidated country house where she grows up. Twenty-five years later, divorced, with her son still living at home, Jessica remains preoccupied by the desire to create space aroun ...more
Published 2009 by Recorded Books (first published October 16th 2008)
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Kirsty Darbyshire

After two books Clare Morrall was on my "must buy in hardback" list and she's not moving off it as this, her third book, is superb.

This book really flows. The narrative jumps around Jessica's life: in her forties the story is told in the first person including looking back to her early adulthood and her childhood is narrated in the third person. "Jump" is the wrong word though because the whole thing joins up so seamlessly. This is writing so good that you could almost read the book without noti

I got Clare Morrall’s ‘The Language of Others’ a few years back while browsing in the bookshop. I liked the description of the story and so thought I will get the book. Morrall’s first book ‘Astonishing Splashes of Colour’ was shortlisted for the Booker prize. ‘The Language of Others’ is her third book. I have wanted to read it for a while now, and so now I thought I will read it as part of the British Women Writers series. Here is what I think.

‘The Language of Others’ is a story which has plot
Liz Chapman
The people in this book annoyed me intensely , especially Andrew who was a complete nut job and came across as an incomplete and a rather insincere character. For me it would have been better if the story gone into more detail of how Jess herself saw ,heard and experienced her life as a child and more detail about why she was unable to communicate with the other people in her life. The parents were so self absorbed it was painful and most of them needed therapy! They did not try to find out what ...more
This is a quieter book than Morrall's previous one, which was very much plot-driven (not a complaint). One thing all three of her novels share is her skill of drawing believable, real characters. All three have great titles, too. Morrall writes with a light touch, deft and self-assured. And she always has great things to say about memory -- one of my favorite themes.
Sally Seymore
It was a lovely journey with Jessica Fontaine through her life. I know very little about Asperger's Syndrome but started guessing there is something not right with Joel, Andrew and quite frankly Jessica. We don't really get to the bottom of it though. The author often makes use of methaphorical language and I enjoyed her writing.
I enjoyed this book and especially the main character - Jess - who despite a lack of empathy is actually a really understandable character.

Some aspects of the book are glossed over and we never really get to understand Andrew, who is clearly disturbed but in some way enables Jess to find herself and build a relationship with her son. The writing is quite spare, but for good reason, given that the book is mainly written through the eyes of Jess.

Above all, the book raises lots of questions about
Jayne Charles
I’ve yet to read a bad book by Clare Morrall; in particular I like the way she zeroes in on life’s oddball characters. In this novel, we meet Jessica, a woman so much like me it was creepy at times. Socially inept, she blunders into a marriage with a man who has bizarre personality traits of his own, and together they have a son who is also a social misfit. Tumultuous events follow and the author uses these to show what life is like when you struggle to relate to other people.

The structure of t
There were times I felt like crying as I read this. It could be because I'm feeling pretty stressed at the moment, battling fears of approaching people in general and putting as much effort as possible into my several assignments now; and there's more on my mind than I'm willing to divulge.

First, I must admit: (view spoiler)
Clare Morrall writes brilliantly about oddity, separation, difference. In this novel, where Jessica and her 'difficult' husband Andrew meet as music students, she also does a wonderful job in conveying what it's like to be a classical musician, a performer.

Mark Haddon was massively successful in fusing an exploration of the world of a young man who has Asperger's Syndrome with the detective fiction genre.

This author is blending a story about autism with the sort of family story in which - with t
Gilang Danu
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
to be completely honest, the ending took me by surprise. when i picked the book up, i was convinced i was about to read a rather cliche story on human isolation, expression and communication, when, in reality, the book was more than that.

morrall's writing is simple; she has a way of weaving incidents into everyday life that makes strange thoughts, people and events seem perfectly ordinary.

[the portion below contains details regarding plot]

all the while i was an unsuspecting reader believing th
This was one of the best books for 2008.It has depth,touching story,psychological insight,and on the top of this,the style is so readable and light,and at the same time clear and intelligent.

This is the story of Jessica- the girl and Jessica-the grown-up woman,divorced,living with her son who seems enclosed in his own world.The narration moves smoothly between childhood and present. We sense from the start that there is something not quite fitting with Jessica. However, her voice as a grown-up i
This is the first book I have read by this author and ordinarily I wouldn't have picked this up in a bookshop but it was recommended by a friend, so I started.....
You follow the main character, Jessica, as she struggles through her bad relationship with her sister, her cousins, her husband and then her son. It seems that she can't relate to anyone. This book explores an interesting topic in a slightly different way. After Jessica found out why she was behaving in a certain way, things became cle
Deborah Lee
Beautiful language and a story that flowed with much insight and human wisdom.
It was a book that showed the world of a special one yet everything in that world seemed to be so normal. Maybe everyone is special in their little quirks... Amazing read. I licked the words off its pages.
Jennifer Rolfe
What a surprise this one was. Went to library to pick up a requested item and noticed this on the trolly to be shelved. I am going to read more of her books. This story was so easy to read and really did fulfil the blurb on the back - a woman's story related with humour and compassion which offers a fresh, illuminating insight into what it means to be 'normal'. The term 'dysfunctional' was bandied around a lot in the 1980's and 1990's which annoyed me immensely at the time. This book is a wonder ...more
Ruby Simpson
This is a fabulous book that really explores the concept of Aspergers Syndrome in a fictional and yet completely realistic way. My brother has Aspergers, and I found it really interesting to read this in relation to him. It all seemed incredibly plausible, and was a lovely book to read. Highly recommended, both the book and the author.
Different. Not rivetting.
I enjoyed this book, so much. At first I didn't really get it why Jess was so uncommunicative as a child. And also why she fell for Andrew, who was such a prick, to her, and everybody. At the ending I did, when we learn she also had a mild form of Asbergers, as did her son.
The first fictional take on studying music at Birmingham uni that I've come across - fascinating in that respect alone. But also intriguing because of the mystery surrounding the personalities of the main characters and how they came to be who they are.
Rachael Eliz
The ending was not at all a shock as I had already recognised the apparent big unreveal. No suprises! A nice enough story about people's perceptions of the world and music etc but nothing particularly unique
I thought the writing was absolutely wonderful, and I think that's one of the reasons I wanted to keep reading. But the story didn't interest me at all, it was very -for lack of better word- bland.
Nh Clune
The riddle of others!
woman who always fet detatached - had a bad relatiponship with her husband, and a remote one with her son - later realised she and her son had asperges.
uh..dont really like this book, though..but, i would give it four stars because i can actually feel the characters..and the book is somehow quite..quiet!
Fitzharrys Fitzharrys
An excellent read with lots of interesting characters. The female characters are more subtle and varied than the male ones, hence four stars rather than five.
Katie Stevens
I picked this up at the library - what a good find! A 'nice' book, no bad language that I remember and the ending was unpredictable
This is the first of Clare Morrall's books I've read. I enjoyed the story as I could relate to the main character and the setting as well.
This is an enjoyable, engrossing read. Morrall has a good plot and it is well-paced, the story spread out evenly.
Peter Makai
Work-related, writing my dissertation on it. Deftly written and subtle in characterisation.
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“Maybe this is a characteristic of happy people. An ability to be entertained by the world.” 34 likes
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