Rossdavidh's Reviews > The Hearing Trumpet

The Hearing Trumpet by Leonora Carrington
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really liked it
bookshelves: red

Oh my goodness this was fun.

There was the first 1/3 of the book, which is actually a 5-star read, about a delightful old lady who is given a hearing trumpet by her friend, allowing her to hear what others around her are saying for the first time in a while. More entertaining are the thoughts that go through her head as she is listening to it all. She is packed off to an old folks' home, which is more than a little eccentric in its layout and routine, and her perspective on all of it is wonderfully understated and witty.

Then there is the middle 1/3 of the book, where the protagonist reads a book of hidden wisdom, more of a 3-star read where it goes all "Foucault's Pendulum" on us. Not that I don't like Umberto Eco's work but it didn't really go as well with the first part, or perhaps it's just that the first part was more unique compared to other works I've read before. Anyway the book within a book is not badly done but I was glad when it was finished, thinking we would get back to the first part.

But no, it's on to a third and distinctly different kind of story, still with the same protagonist but with a different world. The first 1/3 had more or less our world, but the last 1/3 we have gone off into some kind of Alice in Wonderland kind of not-exactly-Earth. For a while I was trying to ponder whether it was all hallucinations by the protagonist, perhaps she was going a bit off mentally, but later it was just clear that we had gone off the rails and were romping through the magical wonderland of alternate physics without any restriction. Which was not so bad once I got accustomed to it, but really I would have maybe like to see what happened if we had stayed with the first 1/3 of a book's style until the end.

It may be, of course, that trying to write a satisfying ending for an elderly lady who gets involuntarily carted off to the old folks home, is just not possible, and that's why Carrington couldn't bring herself to do it. Or, it may be that her Surrealist self just couldn't tolerate sticking with one plan through the whole thing. Whichever, it did keep this from being a five star book, but I think still a solid four stars.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
August 14, 2018 – Shelved
August 14, 2018 – Shelved as: red

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