by Graeme Simsion [Compact Disc Simsion]
I really enjoyed Graeme Simsion’s previous two novels, The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect, featuring brilliant but eccentric physicist Don Tillman and his girlfriend/wife Rosie, and their misadventures in love. I particularly enjoyed those two as audiobooks, with a perfect narrator, with his lovely Australian accent. So, when I saw that Simsion had a new (2017) title out, and that it was also available as an audiobook, I couldn’t wait to give it a listen.
Again, the perfect narrator was selected to read out this new novel, in the form of David Barker. The Best of Adam Sharp has a completely different tone from the two Rosie novels. It still has a lot of humor, but in place of Don Tillman’s high-functioning-autistic narrator, Adam Sharp has a laid back and more introspective personality. Adam is a computer database engineer, living in England with a woman who’s also in the computer field. They have a comfortable relationship, after years of trying (unsuccessfully) to have children, and he has a routine that suits him, including weekly trivia night at a local pub with his co-workers. But something is missing from his life — he used to be a piano player, and he’s given that up. Out of the blue, the “woman who got away”, Angelina Brown, from a relationship during the 6 months he spent in Australia in his twenties, e-mails him with “Hi!”. A harmless flirtation with Angelina on-line leads to Adam questioning everything about his life at the moment. And when the opportunity to potentially reconnect with the woman he’s never forgotten presents itself, despite her being married, he’s forced to confront several truths about himself.
The plot of this one is quirky, but it is filled with fascinating characters. Adam Sharp’s musical background creates an opportunity for author Simsion to pepper the entire novel with the equivalent of “background music” — songs Adam recalls from flashback sequences, songs Adam plays while working as a musician in a bar, songs played off of iPods, and songs heard on the radio in stores and taxis. Simsion provides an itemized list at the back of the book, identifying with versions of the songs, down to “studio” vs “live” recordings, to listen to in order to get into the book’s mood. The audiobook also features a short interview with Simsion on the final disc, in which he talks about the process of finding the perfect narrator for the audiobook version of The Best of Adam Sharp. I enjoyed this one immensely, although a few of the plot elements may prove to be too much for more prurient readers.
[ U.S. publisher’s official The Best of Adam Sharp web site ] | [ official Graeme Simsion web site ]
Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library
Bennett Martin Public Library
New reviews appear every month on the Staff Recommendations page of the BookGuide website. You can visit that page to see them all, or watch them appear here in the BookGuide blog individually over the course of the entire month. Click the tag for the reviewer's name to see more of this reviewers recommendations!