Closed Doorsby Lisa O'Donnell, Simon Vance
In this tense and brilliant tale from nationally bestselling author Lisa O'Donnell, a young boy on a small Scottish island where everyone knows everything about everyone else will discover that a secret is a dangerous thing. See more details below
In this tense and brilliant tale from nationally bestselling author Lisa O'Donnell, a young boy on a small Scottish island where everyone knows everything about everyone else will discover that a secret is a dangerous thing.
O’Donnell’s second novel (after The Death of Bees) is narrated by Michael Murray, an 11-year-old boy living with his parents and grandmother on a small island off the coast of Scotland during the Thatcher era. Early on, something terrible happens to Michael’s mother, Rosemary; he’s told that she fell down while running away from a flasher. Michael is spared the truth and initially accepts the explanation he’s given, but O’Donnell leaves plenty of clues suggesting that something tragic has occurred. In one of the novel’s most striking moments, Michael, desperate to make sense of his mother’s descent into depression and his father’s increasing anger over the crime, combs through dictionary entries of words he’s overheard his parents use while arguing. Though O’Donnell creates a powerful voice for her young protagonist, she is less than fair to Rosemary, whose fear that telling the truth would open her up to victim blaming is presented as simply a source of pain to others, rather than as a legitimate concern. Agent: Alex Christofi, Corville and Walsh (U.K.). (June)
As in The Death of Bees, a 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize winner, O'Donnell looks at adult misbehavior through the eyes of a child. Eleven-year-old Michael Murray has peered behind enough doors to know why his mother's face is often bruised, but he suspects that more secrets await him. With a 35,000-copy first printing.
- Tantor Media, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Unabridged CD
- Product dimensions:
- 6.40(w) x 5.30(h) x 1.10(d)
Meet the Author
Simon Vance, a former BBC Radio presenter and newsreader, is a full-time actor who has appeared on both stage and television. He has recorded over four hundred audiobooks and has earned five coveted Audie Awards, and he has won over twenty Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine, which has named him a Golden Voice.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Excellent and funny and sad and real and raw and simply wonderful
I adored Lisa O'Donnell's debut novel The Death of Bees. And so did a lot of others - O'Donnell was the winner of The Commonwealth Book Prize. When I heard she had a new novel - Closed Doors - I jumped at the chance to read it. O'Donnell has again set her novel in the recent past. Closed Doors takes place in the early 1980's on a small Scottish island where eleven year old Michael Murray lives with his mother Rosemary, his unemployed father Brian and his Granny. Michael is busy practicing his 'keepie-uppies' for the talent show the neighbourhood kids are going to put on, arguing with his arch nemesis Dirty Alice and keeping an eye on what goes on in his bit of the world. But when his mother comes home from work bruised and bleeding, he's sent to his room. Why won't his ma go to the police? Why is he told to tell the neighbours she fell down the stairs? What happened to her? Confused and worried, Michael needs to know what happened to her and what is going on. "I listen at doors now. It's the only way to find out stuff. No one tells me anything." Life has changed drastically for the Murray family. As adult readers, we know what has happened to Rosemary. And as adults, it is heartbreaking to watch Michael try to make sense of things. He continues to listen at doors, hearing bits and pieces and being told half truths as the family struggles to keep things quiet. But gossip in a small town cannot be contained and when another woman is hurt, there can be no more secrets. O'Donnell has created yet another wonderful child narrator in Michael. His voice is real, running the gamut of emotions. There is a sense of innocence in the children of this island. Part of it is the insular nature of island living, part of it is the time period used. I can't imagine this same story being told in present day. O'Donnell has chosen time and place well - it absolutely works. The loss of that innocence makes Closed Doors a coming of age tale in so many ways. "It's terrible to know too many things about people. It makes you feel like a liar because you have to act like you know nothing at all when the truth is you know everything there is to know." "Lies make people happy, I think, and that's why people tell them, not to hurt or anger anyone, but to keep them safe from the truth, except our lie, the lie Ma and Da and Granny are telling to themselves and everyone else around them, it is the worst of lies and it is making no one happy and when lies don't make you happy, you have to wonder what will happen nest. O'Donnell also deftly explores family and family dynamics in Closed Doors. What secrets would you keep to protect your family? And at what cost? Closed Doors is another great read from a talented wordsmith. I'll be waiting for book number three.