Drama, Romance

The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain

Narrated by Simon Vance

This is not a topic I have read a book about before. I had both the e-copy and the audio and decided to listen to the audio version. This was a brilliant decision. I was so hooked after a couple of chapters that I did something I had never done before. I sat through the entire book by picking up one project after another. It was a long journey, but I had to hear it all the way through.
It is not hard to assume what the secret that Albert Entwistle was harbouring. It is not the revelation itself but the magnitude of everything that follows. The narrator is someone I have enjoyed several works of, and his tone of narration matched everything just right. Albert has been doing the same thing for decades, just to keep himself safe (or so he thinks). As forced retirement looms, he is shaken out of his passive life to try and make small changes. The small changes snowball into bigger ones. There is no personality change in this book, unlike some others, because Albert is a quiet individual, not a grumpy one. His social anxiety was more pronounced in the beginning, something that was fun to watch reduce in small ways. There was mild humour injected in the most surprising of times, making all the people in the book feel quite vivid.
I am not sure if it was only the audio version, but it had a chapter with short interviews of men who had to keep their homosexuality a secret in the 70s and 80s Britain. That added an extra something to the entire book. It was hard not to have thought of Albert as an actual individual instead of just a fictional one to whom one would say goodbye at the end!
The author is one that I would definitely recommend and would readily pick up another book of.
I received an ARC thanks to Netgalley, and the review is entirely based on my own listening experience.

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