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The Trouble with Goats and Sheep: A Novel by…
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The Trouble with Goats and Sheep: A Novel (edition 2017)

by Joanna Cannon (Author)

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4723832,561 (3.82)38
Member:thiscatsabroad
Title:The Trouble with Goats and Sheep: A Novel
Authors:Joanna Cannon (Author)
Info:Scribner (2017), Edition: Reprint, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon

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» See also 38 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
So frightfully English. ( )
  doryfish | Mar 6, 2019 |
I am old enough (just) to remember the summer of '76 and my memories include being hot, and picking ladybirds off the railings at the beach and walls of the co-op by my nan's house! Grace and Tilly are 6 years older than I was during this time, and Grace is selfish and aspirational in the way only children can be (unintentionally!). The puzzle of God is the thread through the story, but not in a religious way - more of a childish hunt for this mystical being. The other characters are typical 'little Britain' of the time - stuck in their ways, ignorant of those not like them (including race) and quick to jump to conclusions.

The narrative was good, and seeing how everything fitted together was the driving force, and having it told primarily through Grace's eyes meant it was purer, and the guessing game was more fun. I didn't see the main 'shocker' coming, and I did feel sorry for the persecuted person, who sounds like they were on the Autistic spectrum from the descriptions of their actions.

Without giving too much away, the players within the Avenue are all people we know and can recognise from our lives- even now in this modern era there are those who hold views and act in similar ways to the residents of The Avenue.

A good book, and Joanna Cannon has presented a quirky and different take on the whodunnit novel! ( )
  peelap | Feb 3, 2019 |
I mostly enjoyed the chapters that were in Grace's first person POV. I guess the rest was necessary, but I got confused with so many characters and going back in time. I kept wondering where in England they were until they mentioned the East Midlands near the end, but I guess it didn't matter as it was hot all over in the summer of 1976. I thought the author wrote this feeling of a hot summer very well as well as other descriptions and turn of phrase. ( )
  eliorajoy | Feb 2, 2019 |
1976 in a small neighbourhood in England. Mrs. Creasy has gone missing. She left and told no one. Not even her husband. It is the hottest summer in England's history. Perhaps that is what made Mrs. Creasy leave.

Ten year olds, Grace and Tilly, decide that maybe they can find where Mrs. Creasy goes. They will visit each house under the premise of looking for God. The vicar has told them 'He is everywhere.' Grace is a bit bolder and Tilly quieter but one who maybe sees a bit more?

As the two girls go from house to house, during their summer break, they don't necessarily find clues of where Mrs. Creasy has gone, but they stir up the secrets that the families are hiding. Some are known to one another and some are still private.

There are the Forbes, Harold who is domineering and blustering, Dorothy who appears to be a bit unfocused and used lists to be sure she gets all her tasks done each day: Eric Lamb, a widower who spends most of his time working in his garden: Sheila Dakin, the single mother of two children who spends a good portion of her time sunbathing: Brian Roper, age 42 and still living at home with his Mam, May Roper: Sylvia and Derek Bennett, Grace's parents: Mrs. Morton, a widow who has babysat Grace since she was a baby: and John Creasy, who seems to have come unraveled since his wife's disappearance, but firmly believes that she is still alive and will soon be home. A cast of characters all with secrets.

This is a book not to be rushed through, but to be savoured. There is mystery, humour, sadness and instances that make you do some thinking. I think it could be read more than once and you could find out more and more. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Dec 8, 2018 |
This is a charming story of a Council Estate in the 1970s. A woman goes missing, which catalyzes two young girls, misguided by taking their priest too literally, to search the estate for God, hoping that finding God will bring the missing woman back. Meanwhile, the adults in the estate worry that her disappearance might be related to some morally/legally questionable actions that happened a long time ago. The book slowly reveals the characters' histories.

This book reads like a mystery, and as a reader, you need to pay attention to small clues and how they fit together, but it isn't a traditional mystery where a detective reveals the perpetrator of a crime, and the ending isn't as tidy as a normal mystery.

Cannon's writing is excellent. The characters are vivid and believable, especially the children as we see the world through their eyes and understand things that the narrators don't. There is an extended metaphor with the unusually hot summer weather, and Cannon manages to find new ways to describe the heat in every chapter.

Unfortunately, I listened to the audiobook, and this book does not work well as an audiobook. It skips between narrators, and jumps back and forth in time, and it's really confusing if you don't pay attention to the dates. I wish I had read this on paper, so that I could flip back and forth to compare dates to understand the chronology. ( )
  Gwendydd | Oct 14, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
An insightful, honest book, The Trouble With Goats and Sheep is the first novel from Joanna Cannon, a doctor whose psychiatric specialities are put to good use here. Each character has fascinating quirks and foibles, and their battles with guilt, distrust and horrifying past traumas are manifested masterfully...Cannon represents the world through the eyes of a child sensitively and intelligently, and highlights the everyday absurdity of grown-ups. ..Cannon presents a whole street full of complicated and realistic people whose roles as pillars of the community are called into question.
 
This debut is one of the most complex, touching, and delightful novels I’ve read in a long time. ... Her prose shines with a genuine understanding of human nature – the beauty and the frailty – and a mastery of the written word. Cannon captures the nuances of so many aspects of society perfectly, but perhaps she most notably hits the mark in the way she conveys how it feels to be a child.
 
Grace’s voice, and Cannon’s prose, astonishes with frequent, shimmering loveliness...As Grace and Tilly get closer to the truth, their observations reveal both the beauty and the ugliness at the core of humanity. People, as an author such as Cannon knows better than most, are never exactly who or what they seem. This is not always a dangerous truth, but it is one that must be handled with care.
 
For some readers there may be too many ordinary misfortunes; too many enigmas in the one book...Having said that, this is a novel to be savoured rather than hurried through...the various characters’ histories come together to form a vibrant whole, reminding me both of Carys Bray’s brilliantly profound A Song for Issy Bradley, with its parallel narratives, and of Kate Atkinson’s wry and clever Jackson Brodie novels. Full of humour and careful depictions of everyday suffering, this is not so much a mystery novel as an investigation into the wealth of secrets and heartbreak that even the most commonplace street can hold.
 
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For Arthur and Janice
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Mrs Creasy disappeared on a Monday.
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“After my bedroom, this was my favourite place in the world. It was carpeted, and had heavy bookcases and ticking clocks and velvet chairs, just like someone’s living room. It smelled of unturned pages and unseen adventures, and on every shelf were people I had yet to meet, and places I had yet to visit. Each time, I lost myself in the corridors of books and the polished, wooden rooms, deciding which journey to go on next. Mrs”
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Book description
England,1976.

Mrs Creasy is missing and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands.

And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined…
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England, 1976. Mrs. Creasy is missing and the Avenue is alive with whispers. The neighbors blame her sudden disappearance on the heat wave, but ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly aren't convinced. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, the girls decide to take matters into their own hands. Inspired by the local vicar, they go looking for God--they believe that if they find Him they might also find Mrs. Creasy and bring her home. Spunky, spirited Grace and quiet, thoughtful Tilly go door to door in search of clues. The cul-de-sac starts to give up its secrets, and the amateur detectives uncover much more than ever imagined. As they try to make sense of what they've seen and heard, a complicated history of deception begins to emerge. Everyone on the Avenue has something to hide, a reason for not fitting in. In the suffocating heat of the summer, the ability to guard these differences becomes impossible. Along with the parched lawns and the melting pavement, the lives of all the neighbors begin to unravel. What the girls don't realize is that the lies told to conceal what happened one fateful day about a decade ago are the same ones Mrs. Creasy was beginning to peel back just before she disappeared.… (more)

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