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Next Of Kin [Audio Cassette]

4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Subtle, thoughtful, gracefully written July 10 2001
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Trollope at her best! July 20 2000
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Next of Kin Aug. 1 2001
This is a good read, a little reminisent of some of the Catherine Cookson books. The story evolves around the death of the American wife of Robin and how her life impacted on his family and the neighbors in this English village. The arrival of a young friend of his step daughter adds a nice touch. The arrival of Zoe brings about a great many changes in the family and a growth of charachter in Robin. However, this is not a new book. It was first published in 1996 and readers should probably check their shelves before rushing out to purchase this book I wish I had. Because now I have the hardover novel I purchased in '96 and a trade copy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Finally in America July 10 2001
By A Customer
I discovered this author while in England in 1997 and again in Canada in 1998. I am glad to see her now being actively published and accepted in the U.S. Her books are not rapid action; they are slow and thoughtful, developing the personalities and emotions of the characters through their reactions to real life occurrences. They leave the reader with much to ponder. Of the two books I have read, this is my favorite so far, and it is totally different than the other book in character, circumstance, and theme.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to her usual standards. July 24 2000
Although I enjoyed the book as a whole, I didn't think it had the depth that you usually find with her work. However, the characters were realistic and believable, and the author did a wonderful job of making us realize the emotional pain that can be inflicted on people due to miscommunication and assumptions.
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