The Exhausting Summer of São Martino
by Simon Carr
Narrated by Steven Pacey
Prospero is the mayor of a small town that has escaped the attention of the modern world. In Tapoli, news still travels by word of mouth – and it travels fast, since everyone knows everyone else in the town’s latticework of narrow streets. We first encounter Prospero at a local summer festival, where his attention is caught by a visiting Englishwoman who seems oddly familiar. As the couple embark on a curious friendship, and then an even more curious love affair, Prospero discovers the woman’s connections with his own past. As his personal life grows complicated, so does his role as the town’s mayor – especially when strangers arrive, rubbing up against the entrenched local community and against local traditions. Prospero’s own role as mayor comes under growing public scrutiny as he struggles with the conflicting advice of his head and his heart.
My second Audible book review and what a beautifully narrated story this is. You the listener are transported to the heat of the day in Tapoli. Life has always been in a time warp of bygone sleepy long summer days. The modern era has not reached this town in Portugal.
Prospero is the Mayor of Tapoli and all he wants is the town to become successful and modern as well as a town that remains quintessentially still of a time gone by feel. This is a challenge for Prospero as the town is reluctant to wake up to the modern ways of the world. Imagine going to buy your bread at the bakery and getting the local news of the day at the same time. This is Tapoli. Like all towns there are the usual issues to solve but not like anywhere else though. Then there is the Englishwoman who visits the town and Prospero and the woman begin a friendship that leads to love but what is it about the Woman that seems familiar?
This is a story written by Simon Carr who moved to Portugal some years ago so this is a story he has wanted to write about the home he has adopted. There is humour in the story which is so wonderfully told by Steven Pacey as he plays each role so wonderfully. I just loved the gentle style of how the story flowed that you could almost feel the heat of the day and the sound of crickets in the background. You are transported to Tapoli through the words of Simon Carr and gentle narration of Steven Pacey.
About the author
Simon Carr was for a dozen years the parliamentary sketch writer of the UK national newspaper the Independent. His retirement – earlier than expected – ultimately led to an abandoned smallholding in the depth of central Portugal. With the help of a digger, a tractor and with the long-suffering support of the Medelim community, he developed the wild, bramble-covered property into an idyllic little domain.
About the narrator Steven Pacey.
Steven Pacey needs little introduction. A star from our screens, radios and audiobooks, he has played and read an extraordinary number of parts. You may know him for his roles in musical theatre – such as La Cage Aux Folles (2009) or Spamalot (2012/13) – or from his appearances in shows such as King Lear (2013/14) and Peter Pan (2011). More recently, he has become a prodigious narrator, turning his voice to an array of books across genres: fiction, children’s novels and more. In his own words, the great joy of audiobooks is ‘that you get to play all the parts that you wouldn’t possibly be considered for visually’. He does so here with characteristic vivacity and verve.
Thank you to Phoebe Swinburn (Midas PR) for the review copy of the audio book of The Exhausting Summer of Sao Martino by Simon Carr. Available now via Audible.co.uk