Thursday, 29 March 2012

'The Darling Buds Of May' by H. E. Bates (Audio book read by Bruce Montague)

This gentle classic of the Larkin family is a perfect summer read with eloquent descriptions of the beauty of nature, the countryside and the people who inhabit it. It's an humorous read and one that makes the reader long for the kind of life in the kind of summer that the book describes.
It makes one yearn for a 'simpler' time such as one experiences in youth and it's no wonder the television series adapted from Bates' books was perfect Sunday night fare.
Another thing the book does is to make you hungry. The Larkins are forever eating and the descriptions of the meals they indulge in is as rich and as comforting as Bates' loving description of the English countryside.

The plot serves primarily to introduce the reader to the life-loving Larkins themselves through the character of Cedric Charlton who arrives, like an alien visitor, from a more urban background. through his encounter and experiences with the Larkins he finds a new lease of life.
In many ways this metaphor for the vigour and restorative qualities of nature is a wonderful marketing tool to make the reader, well this one at least, want more of it.
The book might be seen as somewhat quaint and it does have terminology that may be alien to some modern readers but this is a small quibble.
Get back to nature and get with the Larkins!

The unabridged audio book is pleasant to listen to and Bruce Montague, a well established actor, reads with a clarity and an ease that is perfect (or 'perfick') for this book. He also creates characters that are performed quite differently to the much-loved television series and one quickly gets accustomed to this difference. The audio book is a pleasure to listen to and instills all the feelings and emotions stirred up by both the book and the series.

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