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Next of Kin Audio, Cassette – Abridged, July 9, 2001

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Audio, Cassette, Abridged, July 9, 2001
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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio; Abridged edition (July 9, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141803029
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141803029
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,485,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Fans of Joanna Trollope's cozy, plot-driven novels like Marrying the Mistress and Other People's Children might find Next of Kin slightly forbidding. Set on a farm in the English Midlands, the book opens with a funeral. The deceased, Caro Meredith, is (or rather, was) a Californian, a lost soul who ended up on Tideswell Farm by chance, having married into the taciturn, proud Meredith clan. Her funeral finds her husband, Robin, depressed; her twentysomething daughter, Judy, furious at the world in general and at her father in particular; and her brother-in-law, Joe, hopelessly bereft. Meanwhile, Robin's father, Harry, looks on, thinking of his late daughter-in-law: "Strange woman. American. Never quite seemed able to involve herself with the farm and yet--Harry swallowed. He felt it might be an obscure and diverting comfort to mention to Robin that his new power harrow would cost over six thousand pounds, but thought he'd better not."

This gives some idea of the preoccupations and sensitivities of the Meredith mind. The farm comes first; everything else comes a distant second. Next of Kin traces how that rigid mindset is changed by a wholly unexpected agent: Judy's London roommate, Zoe. This disturbingly forthright character arrives for a weekend at Tideswell Farm bedecked in her signature purple hair, rows of silver earrings, and all-black boy's wardrobe. She declares that she likes farm life, and to Judy's horror, soon moves down from London to Tideswell, ultimately ending up in the paterfamilias's bed. As the Merediths find their old ways failing them, Zoe teaches the family how to live with her own odd mixture of honesty and lawlessness. Trollope's books usually move with a nice combination of introspection and action. Next of Kin, on the other hand, holds still--Zoe has to all but goad the Meredith family into the happy ending she has in mind. This stillness makes for a quietly and surprisingly satisfying read. --Claire Dederer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Among bestselling British author Trollope's enviable skills are her ability to create characters with believable flaws, and to ponder plausible life situations in which the best possible outcome is merely pragmatic, rather than romantic, and tinged with rue as well as guarded hope. In her ninth novel (after Marrying the Mistress), the theme is the inevitability of change and the possibility of growth. The Meredith family, for generations farmers in the rural English midlands, are now beset by financial problems in a changing economy. The book opens with the funeral of Caro Meredith, a transplanted American who never adjusted to being a farm wife. Her husband, taciturn Robin, is less bereaved than relieved, since Caro stopped loving him long ago, but their adopted daughter, Judy, has always taken her mother's part and bitterly resents both her father and his dairy farm. Robin's parents live nearby, raising crops on their own acreage, and so does Robin's troubled brother, Joe, and his needy wife, Lindsay. Trollope does an excellent job of describing the dynamics of farm life, both the unremitting labor and the encroachment of modern techniques. As usual, she conveys the nuances of marriage, in which lack of communication can breed tragedy. After another family death and Robin's unexpected attraction to Judy's flaky London flatmate, Zoe, the novel becomes a crucible of change, realistically describing how brave people pull themselves together and move on. In addition to crafting an absorbing narrative, Trollope charms with her depiction of several young children, whose speech and behavior are captured with clarity and endearing fidelity. (July) Forecast: Trollope's devoted readers are rarely disappointed, and this new novel will add to her reputation for writing psychologically nuanced fiction that's commercially viable.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Very readable and very believable.
Grant Gordon
I thoroughly enjoyed this book , unfortunately I believe that I have now written every book she has written and hope that she will write many , many more .
Trollope's characters are flawed human beings whose aspirations and failures ring true.
Lynn Harnett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Johanna Lindback on July 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
I've read a couple of Joanna Trollope books, and one thing that always fascinates me are all the details and insight she puts into her books. For example, when I read "The rector's wife" I was sure she must have lived close to the church. Now I am just as convinced she must have been a farmer. I am certainly not a farmer, and I'm not at all interested in it, so it's a great achievement that I think this becomes so fascinating - tha Farm and the Earth.
The story is about a farming family and we get to follow three generations, grandfather/mother, their two sons with families, and the grandchildren. Because of this the book contains much more than just the farming issues, even though that's the background setting. One of Trollopes great qualities is her ability to make people come to life, and this book is one of the best examples of this. She easily switches between Harry, the grandfather who is depressed over the fact that he's too old to keep his farm, and Judy, the grand daughter in her twenties who's living in London and searches for love and her place in the family.
The story is rich and complex, but it never loses touch and you eagerly follow what's going to happen. After the death of Judy's mother, a friend of Judy's come to visit from London, and with her as an outsider not knowing all the rules, things start to change. It's gripping, funny, warm and sad. It's very good! This book set me off in a Trollope-phase and I'm working my way through them all now.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Lynn Harnett VINE VOICE on July 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Trollope's novels often depict a family in crisis; the reverberations of upheaval through the comfortable routines of familial life, and the individual responses to trouble and change. She sometimes likes to throw an outsider into the mix: the self-possessed young mistress in "Marrying the Mistress;" the old lady struck by a protagonist's car in "The Men and the Girls;" and Zoe, the forthright, city-bred innocent of her current novel.
"Next of Kin" explores the aftermath of death and its effect on the survivors. The story opens with the funeral of Caro Meredith, California-born wife of English dairy farmer Robin Meredith, dead of a brain tumor in her forties. Robin's grief is complicated by his dead wife's long detachment from the farm and from himself. Caro, a rootless wanderer who always wanted to belong somewhere, to someone, could never embrace the land-bound farm life and left her husband's bed years earlier. Robin feels, sadly, bitterly, that she never tried.
The center of Caro's life was Judy, her and Robin's adopted daughter. Judy, so close to her mother, resents Robin as a remote, distant man who never loved Caro properly. Robin is awkward with Judy, so much Caro's daughter, and, truth be told, he never wanted to adopt and was devastated to learn Caro had married without telling him she could have no children.
Robin's brother, Joe, beset with private worries and longings, and a young, needy wife, mourns Caro as the emblem of freedom and otherness in his life. Joe runs the leased family farm after Robin left crop farming to establish his own dairy farm. Their parents, Dilys and Harry, too old now to run things on their own, see Joe, their favorite, as the repository of all their hopes and the productivity of their lives.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Kaplan on January 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
The mood is definitely melancholy in this story of Caro, an American transplant to the English farming country whose funeral we attend on the very first page.
Caro's friends, neighbors and family are devastated by her too-early death (a brain tumor), and one could accurately say she is gone but not forgotten. In Trollope's own trademark way, we learn that Caro profoundly affected everyone in her extended circle--and not always for the good.
Who was Caro? Did she love her silent, taciturn farmer husband Robin, who bears a weight of responsibility that would break most people? And what about Robin's charming, but ultimately feckless brother Joe? What was between him and Caro, and why can he not find solace in his young family?
Solace is not to be had for Judy either: The twentysomething adopted daughter of Caro and Robin is beside herself with grief, and deeply angry at her father for seemingly neglecting his perfect wife.
As Trollope does so brilliantly, she lets us view the re-shifting and uncomfortable emotions of Caro's family from a child's eye point of view, in this case, the sensitive, 3-year-Hughie, Joe's son. There are only two people in the book who grab life to the fullest, as Caro is purported to have done. One is little Hughie's baby sister, Rose, whose sturdy little soul brooks no interference. She is, simply, a force to be reckoned with. Her adult counterpart is the hippie-ish Zoe, flatmate of the self-pitying Judy, and the ultimate, unlikely catalyst for the family to come to terms with its grief and see Caro for what she really was, warts and all.
This is one of the darker of Trollope's books, but as always, well-written and, in my case, hard to put down. It makes the reader think hard about perception and reality, and the intangible nature of love--both romantic and family.
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