Audio book review: The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 Permalink

I was an audiobook virgin when another book blogger mentioned them on Facebook. I commented that I hadn’t tried audiobooks and wasn’t sure they were for me. She’d won a stack of books in a competition and her prize sponsor, Bolinda, responded to my comment, saying if I sent them my details they’d send through a trial pack.

They didn’t know I was a book blogger, so there was no expectation… just the offer to try it out. Several CDs arrived only days later offering a few free recordings, and of particular interest to me was Liane Moriarty’s 2011 novel, The Hypnotist’s Love Story.

I’d only recently (and belatedly) read the much-lauded Big Little Lies, so was keen for more from the popular Aussie author.

Audio book review: The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane MoriartyThe Hypnotist's Love Story
by Liane Moriarty
on December 13th, 2011
Source: Bolinda Audio
Buy on Amazon
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Genres: Literary Fiction
Pages: 480
four-half-stars
Goodreads

As a hypnotherapist, Ellen helps her clients deal with all sorts of unusual problems. So when she finds out that her new boyfriend, Nathan / Patrick, is being stalked by his ex-lover, she's not worried at all; in fact, she's rather curious and wishes she could sit down with Saskia to have a good chat about it all.

No one grows up dreaming of becoming a stalker. It's not a life ambition or game plan. It just sort of... happens. At least that's Saskia's story and she's sticking with it. And she's determined not to be left behind by Nathan / Patrick and Ellen's new love.

Ellen's wish to counsel Saskia comes true in a way she could never have predicted - Saskia has been masquerading as a new client...

I enjoyed Big Little Lies, but less than most. When I finally read and reviewed it I admired Moriarty’s writing and commented that my own appreciation was most likely muted by my own expectations (unreasonably heightened after hearing about this book for years); and my inability to relate to some of the scenarios in the novel.

The Hypnotist’s Love Story is only the second Moriarty novel I’ve read and I’m both happy and dismayed it was the book fated to break my audiobook cherry.

Firstly, I might never have read it if I hadn’t received the free audiobook. That particular novel by Moriarty wasn’t even on my radar. So… that’s the happy part. As for the dismay… this book was so beautifully written I kept regretting I wasn’t visualising and committing these gorgeous words and phrases into my memory.

‘Listening’ gave me an entirely different perspective and I can only wonder how reading the same book would compare. I noticed the beautiful language and was constantly both startled and beguiled by Moriarty’s excessive use of similes and metaphors. And, I’m not saying the latter is bad. Rather, I wonder if I would have noticed / appreciated them as much if I was reading (given my tendency to skim!); as the narrator very eloquently added phrase upon descriptively poetic phrase as she shared the unfolding story.

But enough about the words… the book is written from the viewpoints of both Ellen and Saskia, and the plot itself offers something quite different: a love story set against a tale of loss and denial. Something sweet against something which could be quite ugly.

I know many have talked about their ability to forgive Saskia’s stalking and interference in the lives of Patrick, Ellen and Jack; but wondered if we’d do the same if the stalker was male and the stalkee a female? Perhaps not.

That aside, being in Saskia’s head gave us an incredible insight into her logic. She knows she should stop, but feels powerless to do so. She knows it’s wrong but is also incapable of understanding the impact it has on Patrick (and Jack). She doesn’t mean them harm but doesn’t want to lose them from her life. She really has no intention of trying to ruin Patrick and Ellen’s burgeoning relationship… rather she often speaks about wanting to be a fly on the wall and know what they are doing. She just wants to be part of their lives.

Saskia talks a lot about about her pain – expectations she had for her life which haven’t eventuated etc – and I guess I could relate to some of that.

Similarly it was easy to get inside Ellen’s head. She’s exceedingly introspective (and coming from me that’s saying something!). It was quite wonderful to be privy to her thoughts, and her honesty is such that occasionally one feels slightly voyeuristic. But in a good way. :-\

Moriarty does a wonderful job with both women.

Ultimately this novel is about relationships and love. In addition to the Ellen / Patrick / Saskia bermuda triangle, there’s Patrick’s wife (who died when Jack was a baby), and Ellen wonders if she can compete with her intangible presence.

But there’s also an overarching sense of loss. Very early on Ellen considers her past relationships and is bemused at the idea we can wake up with someone every day and know everything they’re doing; and the next minute they’ve gone and we know nothing about their lives.

And this of course is Saskia’s issue. Stalking aside… there’s a conundrum to be pondered given she spent three years as a mother to (then 2yr old) Jack, only to break up with his father and lose all contact.

On the audio front

This was beautifully narrated by Caroline Lee. As I said, it was my first audiobook so took some getting used to – particularly because Lee speaks so properly and clearly. It also took some time to acclimatise myself to her different tones and voices when representing different characters, but she did a great job without going over-the-top. As we were in both Saskia and Ellen’s head there were a few times I had to focus on ‘who’ was speaking.

I’ve driven more in the past month or so than I’ve driven in years… so this book came at the perfect time. Indeed, I’ve had several 3-4hr drives which have flown by because I’ve been engrossed in the story – while still able to focus on the expansive road ahead.

My only negative about this book is that it felt long…. 480 pages (16hrs 39mins).

And – a complete aside – and I googled this but found no reference…. The book blurb refers to the male lead as Nate, but in my audio version he was Patrick. I swear I wasn’t hallucinating that! #WTF?!

I received a trial pack of Audio CDs from Bolinda Audio. The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty was published in 2011 by Pan Macmillan Australia.

Are you a Liane Moriarty fan?
Any ideas why Nate became Patrick?

four-half-stars
26 Comments
  • Kate W
    March 15, 2016

    I love audiobooks and usually have one on the go to listen to when I’m in the car or walking. Or sometimes when I’m cooking dinner if they’re really, really good!

    This book though, I didn’t love so much and noted in my review that a hefty, 200-page edit would have been a good thing! ( https://booksaremyfavouriteandbest.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/the-hypnotists-love-story-by-liane-moriarty/ ) – 16 hours listening time? That probably would have tipped me over the edge…

    • Debbish
      March 15, 2016

      It was really long Kate and you might remember my comment on a Weekly check-in saying I had no way of knowing when it would finish because I was listening to it in my car and couldn’t see how much time was remaining.

      I did wonder if 16hrs was typical of an audiobook… I also thought I might write something separately about audiobooks in general. I know from the check-in post I wrote people suggested ‘action-packed’ books were best as they were fast-paced. I wondered if it’d be a way to get more into non-fiction (as I hate non-fiction) but I’d be a captive audience on a long drive!

      I don’t think I could listen to a book at work or when at my desk etc… as I need to be able to absorb the words.

      I really enjoyed Moriarty’s writing though and also hoped Lee’s enunciation would rub off on me in some way… 😉

  • hugzillablog
    March 15, 2016

    I’ve really tried, but I just can’t do audiobooks and podcasts. I hate the feeling of someone talking in my ear. I know. It’s weird… I do feel like I’m missing out on something cool.

    • Debbish
      March 15, 2016

      I’ve actually not really listened to podcasts before but if I don’t organise another audiobook soon I might have to try some as I’ll have another trip or two in coming weeks!

  • Michelle Weaver (@pinkypoinker)
    March 15, 2016

    I sometimes get confused with what I’ve read of LM’s and what I haven’t. I know now I haven’t read this one. I think I’d probably get so caught up in an audio book I wouldn’t want to get out of the car when I arrived at my destination!

    • Debbish
      March 15, 2016

      I was a bit like that Michelle, but thankfully was always driving ‘to’ something. I left it on accidentally around town for a day or two and it was a bit too disjointed so I left it only for the longer drives.

  • Denyse Whelan
    March 15, 2016

    The past two years have seen me be a total convert to listening to podcasts and to audio books. I prefer them over music in my car and I am doing so much learning! I’ve listened to Anne Lamont’s Bird by Bird twice, Liz Gilbert’s Big Magic, Brene Browns The Gift of Imperfection and Rising Strong, and my old Aussie Fave is William mcInnes reading his books. I find I get ‘tired’ or ‘bored’ these days with heavy books and holding them up so this is my preferred way now. I have also been known to buy the paperback for referral for quotes and learning more. As for podcasts..best ever for when I can’t sleep. Love that you enjoyed your first of these. Denyse

    • Debbish
      March 15, 2016

      Oh yes Denyse I think Liz Gilbert and Brene Brown would be great to listen to!

      I worry that I’d put a podcast / audiobook on at night and go straight to sleep. (Of course I’m a terrible insomniac, so that might be a good thing!)

  • Cathy@Life through the haze
    March 15, 2016

    Hmmmmm maybe I need to investigate audiobooks so that I can listen to books and knit/crochet instead of mindlessly staring at the idiot box while I knit/crochet. Equally it is very hard to read and type so audio books could solve that problem too!

    • Debbish
      March 16, 2016

      They would be great while knitting (etc). I’m not sure I could listen to them while typing or really needing to concentrate as I think I’d tune out and might miss something!

  • Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    March 15, 2016

    I’m just getting into podcasts and love them but I have the attention span of a gnat so I find myself drifting off. Podcasts are the perfect length about 20 or so minutes, any more than that and my attention goes AWOL! That said, I have a friend who is visually impaired and she is so in love with audio books, she says they’re perfect because you can listen to them in the car, in the bath, well anywhere really. I’m inclined to agree with her, because I wonder if you ever grow out of “being read to.” My friend is having another extended hospital stay this week so I’ll have to tell her about this one!

    • Debbish
      March 16, 2016

      I have those attention span issues as well Sammie so it surprised me that I didn’t lose focus when listening to this. When I first started listening (on my first drive) Caroline’s voice was so lovely I was worried it would make me weary… but that didn’t happen.

  • writeofthemiddle
    March 15, 2016

    Deb, I’ve read LIane Moriarty books before and I’ve enjoyed them. This one sounds like a story line I would enjoy – I’ll have to add it to my list. It’ll take me forever to get to it though coz I haven’t been able to read much lately. I have never experienced an audio book though! I think it would be weird – take a little getting used to – but in some ways I think I would like it. You could do stuff while you listen – wash up, tidy up etc. Would it then take the relaxation out of the whole reading experience? Spose I’d have to try it to know for sure!

    • Debbish
      March 16, 2016

      Many people listen to audio books while doing other things Min. I’m not sure I could do something requiring a lot of ‘thinking’ because then I’d worry I’d miss something. I’m the same with TV. I won’t use my phone / laptop etc while I’m watching TV. My mum does crosswords and reads magazines while watching TV and enjoys that but I suspect sometimes she misses something so doesn’t always have the context she needs! When I’m overnighting she’ll sometimes ask, “Who’s that?” etc… and I give her a hard time… suggesting that if she was watching she would know! (Cos I’m a nice daughter like that!)

  • Kathryn
    March 16, 2016

    Nice scoring with the audiobooks! A good way to eat up the road! I listened to one of LM’s books and liked Caroline Lee as the narrator. I have this book on my shelf somewhere and it won’t be soon that I get to it.

    • Debbish
      March 16, 2016

      I did a little googling at the time and it looks like Caroline Lee narrates A LOT of Aussie books – most of Liane Moriarty’s, Kate Morton’s etc…

  • Jess
    March 16, 2016

    My Dad loves audio books and used to play them in the car on long road trips when we were kids. I have never sought one out but if I was doing lots of driving I can definitely see the appeal!

    • Debbish
      March 16, 2016

      Bolinda sent me a CD with shorter kids’ stories so I’ve given that to a friend to try with her 4yr old. Must check if she’s tried it.

  • Kynndra-jo @ Diva Booknerd
    March 16, 2016

    I wish I had the patience for audiobooks but sadly I do not. I’ve tried a few here and there but could never keep with them. They were good narrators and everything but my mind tends to wander. It’s awesome these guys sent you a starter pack and that you enjoyed the experience with a decent book. Lovely review, Deb!

    • Debbish
      March 16, 2016

      Thanks so much… it was a great promotional idea. There was another one featuring Aussie / pub / beer drinking stories but I gave that to a friend as well. I’ve got some more travel in April so must borrow / buy something before then!

  • Have A Laugh On Me
    March 16, 2016

    I love Liane, but try this one as I’m at a loss for an easy read right now, might have to trawl through some of your recent posts. xxx

    • Debbish
      March 17, 2016

      February was a particularly good month for new releases Emily. I haven’t found March as satisfying… but I am somewhat behind with my March reads!!!

  • Robyna
    March 16, 2016

    I have never tried an audio book but keep thinking I will – I haven’t quite gotten onto the podcast band wagon either. I do really love a paper book.

    • Debbish
      March 17, 2016

      Paper or print books are still my favourite Robyna. I have to admit – for reviewing purposes I enjoy ebooks as I use a reading app that allows me to make notes on the page I’m reading and go back later and collate my comments. Reading print copies means I need to have a pen and paper or similar nearby. And of course an audio book is even more difficult – given I was driving when I ‘read’ this there was no way I could collect quotes or phrases!

  • EssentiallyJess
    March 19, 2016

    I’ve heard a few people talking about audio books recently, but I’m not keen to try them. I’m far more visual than auditory and I always have people talking to me in the car and short trips, so it’s not really worth it for me.

    • Debbish
      March 19, 2016

      I’ve always been a bit reticent too Jess, but now – in the right situation (when driving alone for eg) I’d definitely listen to something.

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