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The Understanding of Women

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  40 ratings  ·  8 reviews
James is in love with Imogen. Imogen has disappeared. With the help of an imaginary ex-girlfriend, James follows Imogen’s trail towards the grand romantic reunion he wants. He’s pretty sure…

James could always understand everyone. Everyone but Imogen. Imogen was a mystery, and now James needs to find her.

A light, whimsical novella of a boy who knows both too much and too li
Kindle Edition, 67 pages
Published 2012
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Average rating 3.65  · 
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 ·  40 ratings  ·  8 reviews

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Dan Purdue
Feb 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, novellas
The Understanding of Women straddles the boundary where a long short story starts to become a short novella. I'm not sure of the word count, but it took me an hour or so to read. For me, that's about my limit for reading from my mobile's screen (I don't have an e-reader of any type, so the Kindle app is as close as I get). But it turns out that a little screen actually suits the story pretty well. It's not an epic tale, just a neat, small story with a lot of heart. It's the book equivalent of a ...more
Sep 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have certainly felt the way James has felt before in parts of this book. I really enjoyed the story overall. I wanted more, and the ending was just so abrupt that it confused me. I think if this had been a longer-form story, or even just more fleshed out, I would know how to rate this. As it's not, I don't. However, I think this is a story that will stick with me and I will think about for a long time. The writing was truly wonderful and it kept the story zipping along. I'm keen to get another ...more
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
Best first line ever and what wise insight :-)
A nifty little story, kind of a High Fidelity vibe with an interesting magical realism concept thrown in. It's a strange length, bit long for a short story, bit short for a novella, and the ending is rather abrupt - I sort of wished it were more fleshed out. Still, it was an intriguing, quick read and I'll try pretty much anything by Janina Matthewson. ...more
Marta  Marecka
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
I read this book after I listened to the masterful podcast by Janina Matthewson and Jeffrey Cranor "Within the Wires". While the podcast is a little masterpiece with emotional depth, an intriguing and perfectly executed premise and spell-binding narration, this book seems very... lukewarm in comparison. It has an interesting premise, but this premise is never explored to the full. Both narration and characterisation fall flat here and despite the book being very short it is also quite boring. ...more
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle, novellas
An interesting idea for a story. Definitely a quirkly novella, but the writing itself didn't wow me, and neither did the characters. I wanted to shake them and remind them that they're grown up. Also, I don't get the significance of the stickpeople with different skirts on. ...more
?? /10 -- I was quite surprised by this book! I'm still working through my feelings of it, so I shan't rate it yet. Definitely interesting! ...more
Amy Jones
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Sweet, quick little book — I literally started and finished it in a 30 minute tube journey — that stays with you.
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Janina is a London based writer of novels and plays. She is ill equipped to deal with domestic concerns and almost always kills her plants.

Of Things Gone Astray is now available in the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States. Published by The Friday Project at Harper Collins.

Her first novella, The Understanding of Women, was released world wide as an ebook in October 2012 and her

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