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Talking to the Dead Dunn tiheätunnelmainen trilleri alkaa kun nuori lontoolaistaiteilija Nina matkustaa sisarensa Isabelin luo Englannin idylliselle maaseudulle Isabel on vuoteenomana toipumassa esikoisensa synnytyksestä joka ei ole sujunut hyvin Helteen painostamassa talossa ja puutarhassa liikuskelevat myös lapsen isä Richard Isabelin ystävä Edward sekä vauvaa hoitava SusanPian asetelmasta kehittyy hitchcockmaisen hiostava jännitysdraama Poikavauvan läsnäolo nostaa pintaan torjutut muistot onnettomuudesta joka tapahtui sisarusten pikkuveljelle Mutta oliko se itse asiassa onnettomuus Ja kenen muistot ovat oikeita kenen kuviteltuja Vanhat kauhut uhkaavat toistua kun ilmapiiri sähköistyy sietämättömäksi ukkosmyrskyn lähestyessä mereltä

  • Hardcover
  • 255 pages
  • Talking to the Dead
  • Helen Dunmore
  • Finnish
  • 15 February 2015

About the Author: Helen Dunmore

I was born in December 1952 in Yorkshire the second of four children My father was the eldest of twelve and this extended family has no doubt had a strong influence on my life as have my own children In a large family you hear a great many stories You also come to understand very early that stories hold uite different meanings for different listeners and can be recast from many viewpoints

10 thoughts on “Talking to the Dead

  1. Susan Susan says:

    Helen Dun has long been one of my favourite authors and with the sad news of her death this year 2017 I wanted to go back to the first of her novels which I read Published in 1996 this is the fourth of her novels but the first which I came across and which introduced me to her workThis novel is set within the heat of summer Nina is a photographer in London but she visits the countryside to stay with her sister Isabel who has recently had a baby The birth has not gone as expected and Isabel is unwell Isabel lives with her husband Richard surrounded by her beloved garden and with the almost constant attendance of her friend Edward There is also Susan Wilkinson who has been brought in to look after baby AntonyThe house and the novel are full of secrets There are Isabel’s evasive techniues to avoid going outside or eating Plus the secrets of Isabel and Nina’s childhood memories of their mother and recollections of their baby brother which are evoked by the presence of Antony I love the dynamics between the characters which are complicated by Nina’s changing relationship with Richard As tensions increase there is an impending feeling of disaster which hangs over the characters as heavy as the heatThis will forever be a novel I return to and re read Although I love other novels by Helen Dun this will probably remain my favourite just as I was introduced to her writing through reading it but also because it is also a wonderful read

  2. Fiona MacDonald Fiona MacDonald says:

    Isn't it strange how an author can write something you think is so bad that it might put you off reading another of their books and then the next thing you read by them can totally change your mind 360'Talking to the Dead' was a drastic change to 'With your crooked heart' It was uick welll written and I was fascinated by the relationship between Isabel Richard and NinaIsabel has come home after giving birth and having a hysterectomy As she recovers from her operation and struggles to cope with being a new mother her sister Nina comes to stay to look fter her But Nina's relationship with Isabel's husband Richard has already crossed a boundary it never should have On top of this the constant recurring nightmare of the death of Colin the sister's brother finally takes it's tragic toll on Isabel Painfully well written I could feel the sweat and taste the heat of the hot summer You've dragged me back into the game Helen

  3. Mary Durrant Mary Durrant says:

    Two sisters with a secretI was hooked from the startVery compelling story of love and how people remember things differentlyWhat really happened to Colin?Set in a heatwaveNina comes to look after her older sister Isabel after the birth of her first childThings aren't uite as they seem as the past comes back to haunt IsabelThis darkly strange psychological thriller will have you on the edge of your seat as it reaches its dramatic conclusionBeautifully writtenI loved itRead for a group read

  4. Sara Sara says:

    This is a terrible book about terrible people who do terrible nonsensical and incredible and I mean really not credible things to themselves each other and other people Yet it's all so beautifully described You just want to go on reading it no matter what just so you can stay in this garden with these flowers and this hot summer sun and all this beautiful foodBut before you know it several hours of your life have been devoured Then at the end if you are anything like me you are very angry with the author for wasting your time She has seduced you into spending so very much of your precious irreplaceable time with these truly awful semi but not completely useless people How has she done this? Well she's spent the first fifth or so of the book making them seem on the surface like people you would like people with whom you might very much like to hang out maybe for a whole summer by the sea So when they start to reveal themselves as amoral stupid and thoughtless you are confused yet hopeful and trusting that there's some point You feel sure even up to five pages from the end that some transformation to make your disappointment and disgust worthwhile is bound to developI'm here to tell you it doesn'tOh and by the way? Throwing a lot of not credibly motivated adulterous sex into a total non mystery of which both the secret and the resolution are transparently predictable from page one does not make a book spicy or thrillingYet were this book a hundred pages longer I'd still have finished it; I'd just be that much angrier at the author and myself So now I'm going to do you a whopping favor I'm going to uote for you here the very best part of the book That way you won't have to read it but you can still enjoy one of Helen Dun's sumptuous descriptions completely anger and hatred freeI find the pie under a plate Edward has been at it since lunch digging out the fruit which he prefers to the crust I cut a straight line across the spoiled part and then a thick wedge the right size for Richard There's some cream in a jug thick and yellow Susan's mother sent the pie over and it has a spray of elderflower in it to bring out the taste of the gooseberries She has patterned the crust with pastry leaves The inside of the crust is white and glutinous now the pastry has cooled and cooking has thinned the skin of the berries so the seeds show through I pick one out fragile but still whole and eat it I am hungry too I cut another piece of the pie for myself and pour cream over them both take two spoons and shake some sugar from a castor over the cream I can hear voices but the baby has stopped crying A door opens and the voices grow louder They must be coming out I pick up the plates and hurry out into the light round the corner by the pond and into the gardenRichard hasn't moved except to take off his shoes and socks he lies back with his feet in the sun eyes shut His feet are pale naked looking city feet'Here you are'We dig into the crust the cream the fruit The edges of the cream are just beginning to swim in the heat already I've always liked eating with Richard because he is greedy as I am You can always tell He leaves the plumpest gooseberry until last to duck it in its own pond of cream The sugar grits pleasantly on my teethThere That's it the best part of this book Now you can go read something elseYou're welcome

  5. Monique Monique says:

    Unfortunately this book was not as suspenseful and drama filled as the synopsis would have one believe It was actually kind of flat There were some interesting things happening in the story but Dun failed to make me really care It was all rather boringThe story is told through the first person perspective of Nina Nina character could have been interesting but she failed to connect to me I wanted her to be interesting and exciting but she was as boring as the drama and suspense that was promisedIsabel is a little interesting in the fact that the reader sees her through Nina's somewhat jaded eyes But there seems to be so much going on with her Other than that she was boring alsoI really like to give somewhat in depth reviews but this was just bland I was disappointed The inside cover and title got me excited and didn't deliver

  6. Jayaram Vengayil Jayaram Vengayil says:

    I read this book in a fascinating one stretch read drawn into its spell by a web of mesmeric images Dun excels at uncovering the dark side in relationships among family members The haunting word pictures she paints of the human mindscape mark her out to be a writer of no mean abilities I only wish I had discovered this author earlier

  7. Val Val says:

    Isabel and Nina are sisters When Nina was young Isabel looked after her devotedly Now Isabel needs help and Nina tries to provide it Complicating the sisters' relationship are Richard Isabel's husband Edward Isabel's gay friend and Colin Isabel and Nina's brother who died as a babyI enjoyed this book very much It has enough mystery behind the scenes to add suspense and the characters of Isabel and Nina are beautifully drawn making the interactions between them believable and the eventual outcome both unpredictable and inevitable

  8. Ali Ali says:

    Helen Dun is a prolific and award winning author yet this is only the fourth of her novels I have read I now think I really must make an effort to read the rest This 1996 novel is an impressive family drama with a fascinating psychological slant Dun’s excellent writing with its sultry descriptions of place draws the reader into the Sussex countryside during a scorching summer and the lives of a group of rather unlikeable characters There is a kind of chilly sensuality too in the affair that develops between two of the characters their coldness perhaps heightened by the backdrop of a record breaking summer Beware of reading this novel when hungry there is an enormous amount of food too the cooking shopping planning and eating of food there is a sensuality to this too the greed of it going hand in hand with the illicit sex“Richard hasn’t moved except to take off his shoes and socks He lies back with his feet in the sun eyes shut His feet are pale naked looking city feet ‘Here you are’We dig into the crust the cream the fruit The edges of the pie cream are just beginning to swim in the heat already I’ve always liked eating with Richard because he is greedy as I am You can always tell He leaves the plumpest gooseberry until last to duck it in its own pond of cream The sugar grits pleasantly on my teeth”‘Talking to the Dead’ is the story of sisters Isabel and Nina Isabel lives in Sussex with her husband Richard in a house rented in her own name where her friends – like Edward come to stay for days and weeks at a time When Isabel gives birth to her first child Antony – there are severe complications and Richard asks her sister Nina to leave London to help the young nanny Susan look after Isabel Nina a photographer and artist is devoted to her sister and is happy to spend time with her and the baby Soon after arriving at her sister’s house Nina embarks on an affair with Richard as already psychologically fragile Isabel’s behaviour gradually starts to cause concern Cloistered away with her bitchy friend Edward for hours at a time Isabel seems reluctant to leave the house not even going into her beloved garden with which she had formerly been almost obsessed Shut up in her sister’s house and garden during a ferociously hot summer Nina begins to feel the strain of caring for her delicate sister and tiny baby reminding her of a time she would rather forget“I am sick of it all Milk and blood and babies I lug another bucket down the path the dark water shivering inside it Water slops over my bare feet and raises scent from the dust These trees should never have been planted in a drought I heft the bucket and walk on all my skin prickling with attention I’m waiting I leave the full bucket standing by the trees and wander on through the gloom down to the raspberry canes There are big moths flying When they land patches of white show up on their wings so they look like jigsaws Daytime life closes down and night life begins with its own excitement I wish I was in the city now where day and night brush each other for hours I wish I was in a taxi hurtling round the corners of parks as they turn from blue to black with dusk”For Isabel and Nina share a tragic past from the time when they lived in St Ives as children The secrets of this past gradually begin to reveal themselves through the memories of the sisters This is a fantastically readable novel the characters are not very likeable but I never think that matters indeed it can make a novel all the interesting Just when the reader may think they have it all tapped Dun gently twists the knife – great stuff

  9. Moira Moira says:

    I don't often mistakenly re read a book But it seems that I have done so with two Helen Dun books I can't understand why as both were excellent and very memorable But as with A spell of Winter I realized about a third of the way through that I had read it before However I couldn't remember the end and in fact it didn't seem familiar towards the end so perhaps I never finished it also unusual for me Anyway it was very enjoyable Dun has an amazing ability to describe things in ways that not only make them come alive but that makes you see ordinary things food gardens pubs in an entirely new way She also has uses a voice that says right from the very start this is going ot be creepy a little askew and off and very interesting Talking to the Dead did not disappoint The characters were so intriguing and their histories so alluring that I couldn't put it down It is the story of two sisters and the past that has lain dormant until the older one has a baby Visiting her sister who had a rough delivery Nina the younger sister sees her sister through the eyes of adoration but starts to see a bit about Isabelle's true personality as the visit progresses She also comes to learn a painful truth about the death of their baby brother many years agoMy only complaint is that I wish Dun would explore some of the issues the gay friend the anorexia a little fully and I wish the ending had been just a bit better defined but then I tend to like good and evil in the end It's a great read for those who appreciate a great voice and for those who like psychological novels I'd love to hear what others say about it

  10. Roger Brunyate Roger Brunyate says:

    Sibling RivalryIsabel has just had her first baby after a difficult delivery Nina a freelance photographer comes to spend time with her sister at her house in England's South Downs but almost immediately begins an intense sexual affair with Isabel's husband It is Nina who tells the story; she is a warm sympathetic character while Isabel seems moody and neurotic; and the sexual descriptions are terrific All the same there is clearly something wrong in this family portrait and Dun is marvelous at building mystery and suspense out of the tiniest eventsAs in the only other Dun book that I have read the Orange Prize winner A Spell of Winter there are secrets long buried in the childhood of the two siblings These appear to center around the death in his cot of their infant brother Colin Each has different memories of this event but they may not be true memories and they contradict each other in significant ways Talking to the Dead is a much less melodramatic novel than the almost gothic Winter but it also depends on the elucidation of the past to explain the present and with ominous foreboding to predict the future I greatly appreciated the relatively uiet development of the novel on the day to day level and I was caught up in the growing suspense But all the same I felt that a denouement based simply on memories and dreams—on who remembers what in response to what trigger and in what order—is too disconnected from the present day action to really work

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