- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: ONE (August 27, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0992918227
- ISBN-13: 978-0992918224
- Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 1.2 x 5.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,493,699 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Whispers Through a Megaphone Hardcover – August 27, 2015
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Wise, witty, and utterly delightful. This is a book with a big, beating heart, and Rachel Elliott is a writer with a bright future Laurie Penny, Baileys Prize judge and author of 'Unspeakable Things' Sharp, realistic...charming Daily Mail In an over-connected world, a crisp, beguiling voice observes chaos - and conjures miracles. Elliott is an inspired observer - fresh, wry and true -- Liz Jensen, author of The Ninth Life of Louis Drax An engaging and accomplished debut. Through the interlaced stories of a colourful cast, Elliott asks big questions, and often provides the answers, about our fleeting existence here on earth... This succinct way of summing up a life falling apart is Elliott's gift, supported by a deep understanding of what makes her characters tick... her knowledge of people shines in her fiction. For all its wit, it is the author's gimlet eye on human interaction that will engage readers. Irish Times Whispers Through A Megaphone is not just a great first novel; it's wonderful... a winner Bookbag Filled with wit and sparkling prose, Rachel Elliott's debut follows the quirky friendship between Ralph and Mirian as they try to make sense of their lives. HELLO! Every now and then comes a literary voice that is truly original. It is a remarkable achievement - fresh, invigorating, intelligent, inspirational and perceptive... acutely observant and intensely human... Elliott's sparkling prose, warmth, wit and understanding of human frailty make this a journey of discovery full of unexpected joy, humour and hope. An extraordinary debut Lancashire Evening Post [An] exciting debut Big Issue in the North A beguiling debut. Perceptive, touching, and threaded through with humour. I loved it Irish Examiner [Elliott's] insight and eye for character is profound and often surprising. This is a book to be read slowly, and to think about later: a wise, gentle book about human motivation and the hidden springs that move us through life. Book Trust Brilliantly perceptive, wry and completely original Bath Chronicle A gentle, yet astute, edgy and absolutely delightful debut novel... a quirk-filled slice of wonderful and I highly recommend it Lovereading Whispers Through a Megaphone is a debut novel with three of the most unusual and charming protagonists I've met in a long time. The wacky and wonderful antics of Miriam, Ralph and Sadie had me in stitches, and left me pondering the strength of different types of human connection Audible Books Unexpected connections between people, old hurts and the nature of love are explored with tenderness and humour Diva An offbeat, entertaining read The Writes of Woman (blog) A beautifully written, funny, moving, life-affirming piece of wonder. I absolutely loved it. I was in love with pretty much every finely-drawn character by the end Julie Hesmondhalgh Whispers Through a Megaphone has a superpower: that of turning melancholy into fantasy, and one's dark side into quirkiness... Following the steps of Aimee Bender and Michel Gondry, Rachel Elliott's novel is a celebration of quiet, eccentric souls and says it loud and clear: humour and reverie can change our lives and perhaps even the world Le Figaro A unique concentrate of love, funny and touching BIBA Psychological subtlety, charming style, we can't help but be reminded of Anna Gavalda, whose tender and quirky humour can also be found in Rachel Elliott's writing. The characters Rachel Elliott depicts are funny and quiet eccentric souls with their fixed beliefs, their doubts and their wanderings... Rachel Elliott is a psychotherapist and knows how to see through humans... she is deeply talented Elle France Nothing less than a study of the contemporary human condition Dundee University Review of the Arts I began this book and couldn't put it down. The writing's exceptional. It's wonderful. Dark, so often painful - a story of such depth, beauty and rigour. And I cared for everyone. Such a testament to the fragility in us all. Oh, and funny. Great scenes of funny Sarah Winman, author of the international bestseller 'When God Was a Rabbit' and the Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller 'A Year of Marvellous Ways'
About the Author
Rachel Elliott is a writer and psychotherapist. She has worked in arts and technology journalism and her writing has featured in a variety of publications, from digital arts magazines to the French Literary Review. She has also been shortlisted for a number of short story and novel competitions in the UK and the US. Rachel was born in Suffolk, and now lives in Bath. Whispers Through a Megaphone is her first novel.
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In Miriam, Elliott has created a very original and singular character. Her mother, Frances is not only crazy (she once turned up at Miriam's school nude and started cleaning) but cold and not in the least maternal. She has kept Miriam from her father and grandmother out of pure spite and prevents her forming any social ties ensuring her profound social awkwardness. Her decree that Miriam keep quiet and not talk has resulted in Miriam only being able to talk in whispers.
But Miriam knows the true Miriam is lurking inside and ready to come out and face the world after three years on her own. And she is not entirely friendless. There is Boo her devoted neighbour, her only friend Fenella who never gives up on her, her developing friendship with Ralph and someone else out there who keeps pushing encouraging postcards through her letterbox.
The charm of this wonderful debut novel is in watching the characters change and develop as they find their true places in life. Not just Miriam who has the most growing to do, but also Ralph and his wife Sadie who is selfish but also yearning for her better self. The more minor characters, Boo and Ralph's son Stanley are also quietly finding their paths to where they want to be. The characters are often quirky and things don't always turn out as you would expect but is a lot of humour along the way as new connections, romance and friendships are found.
Rachel Elliott does a masterful job creating and developing interesting characters. Each one contributes, in some manner, to the story and to the growth of other individuals. Their backgrounds and the effects of parental behavior on a child emphasize the ongoing impact of emotional abuse. However, Ms Elliott also highlights the ability of individuals to overcome abusive backgrounds and to lead a fulfilling life. The psychological insights individuals have about themselves or others allow the characters to be more real and more relatable for the reader. The situations in which the characters find themselves and the unique way in which their lives intersect will keep you reading to discover what will happen next. The unexpected discovery that others have hidden important facts from both Miriam and Ralph leads to a very satisfying conclusion to both individuals’ dilemmas.
“Whispers Through a Megaphone” is full of unexpected revelations and relationships. Its characters are engaging and memorable. How often do you actually remember the names of characters a week after completing a novel – you will after reading this book. The final chapters allow Rachel Elliott the opportunity to continue both Miriam and Ralph’s stories; I hope she chooses to do so.
I hope readers who have passed "Whispers Through a Megaphone" by because it is categorized as "Gay &Lesbian Fiction" will reconsider that decision. There are gay and lesbian characters, but this is a novel about individuals who have overcome their past emotional abuse to embrace life and others. There are no explicit intimate descriptions and profane language, while there is some use of the "f word", is not done gratuitously.