The Voice In My Ear

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Title: The Voice In My Ear

Writer: Frances Leviston

Publishing House: Random House UK

Date of Publication:  March 19th 2020

Rating: 2 stars

”…asking tough questions of schools and other institutions, but you’re not questioning the institution you represent, which is the family, which is mothers and fathers. What role do parents play in a child’s abuse?”

Ten stories centered on ten women named Claire. Ten women of different ages and backgrounds, dealing with motherhood, career, the duty of being a daughter, a sister, a lover. Dealing with what others expect of you and your own wishes and aspirations.

I was looking forward to this one. I mean look at THAT cover! Unfortunately, I was severely disappointed…

The Voice In My Ear: Following a tragic incident, a brave young journalist dares to expose the parents’ hypocrisy in blaming everyone but themselves for their inability to properly raise and protect their children.

Broderie Anglaise: The preparation of a dress for a wedding becomes a poignant metaphor for the relationship between a daughter and her mother.

Patience: A scholar is obliged to leave her elderly mother under the care of an android carer. But what happens when you realize that a synthetic can look after your loved ones better than you? What happens when your passion for a book us crudely dismissed by ignorants?

”You look just like Pierce Brosnan”, Claire heard her tell the paramedic. ”You do. Look at those eyes.”

I love Pierce Brosnan…

…Sorry about that…

The Man In Room Six: A young girl from Scotland and an Englishman discuss love and kindness.

With Them Intercede For Us All: This one was horrible, in my opinion. A story about a ridiculous love-struck woman, filled with every stereotype imaginable about my country, and deeply disrespectful towards our religion. And we don’t say ”Brava” in Greece, ignorant writers!

”I wiped condensation off Elizabeth’s bedroom window. She had a crow’s -eye-view of the lawn and hedges, the cul-de-sac, the neighbours’ gardens lit by security lights.”

Would You Rather: A teenage girl babysits a young girl plagued by a terrifying imaginary friend. What could have been an atmospheric story was reduced to a chore because of cheap porn references and unbearably awful dialogue.

Muster’s Puppets Presents…: A young woman’s cry of despair against her mother’s cruelty. This story wanted to convey a poignant message but the execution seemed extremely off to me.

A Source: A very interesting, very realistic story about campus life, sexual assault and the easiness of being labeled a ”racist” in today’s society.

Plight: A moving story of loneliness within the family, the relationship between sisters and brothers, the lonely journey of fighting a chronic illness.

No Two Were E’Er Wed: Again, a sex-centered story about two women and a man. Nope. I didn’t finish this one…

Bottom line? I’m not familiar with Leviston’s poetry and, frankly, I don’t see myself choosing to read any of her work in the future. Yes, there were a few glimpses of beautiful writing but I am not the kind of reader who wants to read about sex page after page, hidden behind the often pretentious veil of Literary Fiction (which is my favourite genre) and avant-guard writing. For me, this collection shot itself in the foot…

Many thanks to Random House UK and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.