A Trick I Learned from Dead Men

A Trick I Learned from Dead Men After the disappearance of their father and the sudden death of their mother Lee Hart and his deaf brother Ned imagine all is lost until Lee lands a traineeship at their local funeral home and disc

  • Title: A Trick I Learned from Dead Men
  • Author: Kitty Aldridge
  • ISBN: 9780224096430
  • Page: 344
  • Format: Hardcover
  • After the disappearance of their father and the sudden death of their mother, Lee Hart and his deaf brother, Ned, imagine all is lost until Lee lands a traineeship at their local funeral home and discovers there is life after death Here, in the company of a crooning ex publican, a closet pole vaulter, a terminally ill hearse driver, and the dead of their local town, old wAfter the disappearance of their father and the sudden death of their mother, Lee Hart and his deaf brother, Ned, imagine all is lost until Lee lands a traineeship at their local funeral home and discovers there is life after death Here, in the company of a crooning ex publican, a closet pole vaulter, a terminally ill hearse driver, and the dead of their local town, old wounds begin to heal and love arrives as a beautiful florist aboard a Fleurtations delivery van.But death is closer than Lee Hart thinks Somewhere among the quiet lanes and sleepy farms something else is waiting And it is closing in Don t bring your work home with you, that s what they say Too late.Sometimes sad, often hilarious and ultimately tragic and deeply moving, A Trick I Learned from Dead Men is a pitch perfect small masterpiece from a writer described by Richard Ford as having a moral grasp upon life that is grave, knowing, melancholy, often extremely funny and ultimately optimistic.

    One thought on “A Trick I Learned from Dead Men”

    1. That was so beautiful. Just gloomy, poetic, and self-centered. It really stresses the fact that being around dead people for a long time makes death lose its value. I loved the writing style, the language, and the idea. I don't know how I stumbled upon this one but I would recommend it to anyone who wants to try something different.

    2. Lately my reading has been stuck in the past. Books from the past, books about the past, books set in the past. It’s the best way to escape from a world that is changing in ways I’m not entirely happy about. Sometimes though, a contemporary novel will pull me back to the present.I didn’t think of Kitty Aldridge as an author of contemporary novels, I thought of her as the author of two very good novels that I couldn’t quite put a label on. And now here’s a third.It belongs to Lee Hart, [...]

    3. Unfinished due to the jerky, staccato writing style and the fact that the character and his story just couldn't engage my attention.

    4. I think the thing that gives this book its originality is also the thing that is most likely to turn people away: the narrators voice. His staccato speech made it hard for me to read for a prolonged period of time and his bad use of foreign words made him come off like a Del Boy parody.

    5. The voice of Lee Hart is as authentic as most in fiction. I wasn't bothered by any of the verbal tics Aldridge used to create his ("Lethal" to his friend, "Ravester") voice. I rather liked Lee's use of "Buenos Dias" and other foreign greetings to Crow when that bird deigned to show up near the unprepossessing cottage Lee lives in with his deaf younger brother and his depressed step-dad. It wasn't easy for Lee to have a conversation outside his work at the Funeral Directors, Shakespeare Ltd; even [...]

    6. This novel is, I daresay, unlike anything I've ever read before, written in a "style" that I'd never consider reading! And I could hardly put it down! It's tragic, almost heartbreakingly so, it's funny, clever . . . don't really have words to describe it. Read it!

    7. An interesting voice and character sketch, but the plot seems clumsily tacked on in heavy handed bolts from the blue, and the whole thing drags a bit despite being very slight.

    8. I think this book lost a star out of bad luck, because I put it down for about a week through no fault of its own and it's not the kind of book that should be put down for that long. It's a novella, and it should be swallowed up so it can immediately take its emotional toll on you, like downing a drink. Then again, maybe that's fitting as this is a beautifully sad story about Lee's attempts to maintain good humour and take control of his world despite being the victim of significant disadvantage [...]

    9. Twenty-five year old Lee Hart has been caring for his deaf brother and monosyllabic step-father since his mother's death 7 years earlier. Trapped in a remote cottage his only freedom is found in his work at a funeral home to which he is ideally suited. After work drinks with his best friend and romantic intentions towards the lovely florist are bright spots in his day but despite everything he remains upbeat and cheerful. Change comes and upsets his already precarious applecart.I liked Lee and a [...]

    10. I loved this book! It's written rather quirkily and I really felt I got to know Lee, the main character, rather well. He's a 25 year old man who takes pride in his job as an assistant in a funeral home. All is very well organised and he keeps carefully to the rules. How different life is at home, where both his step-father and his deaf brother do very little at all, and Lee takes it upon him to keep some kind of normality going.Lee doesn't always finish his sentences. Sometimes it's just obvious [...]

    11. Mini-review originally posted on Nightjar's Jar of Books.Lee Hart’s mother is dead. Cancer. And his stepfather Lester has retreated from the world and now only interacts with the television. And his deaf brother Ned refuses to get a job. It’s a good thing Lee has his job at the funeral home to support the three of them (and visits from the beautiful Lorelle to look forward to); but even that might be in jeopardy soon…My problem with this book: It’s really misleading. The synopsis and the [...]

    12. A Trick I Learned From Dead Men turned out to be a difficult book for me to rate: the writing style was both confusing at times, and at others it flowed and read almost like a poem - although having said all that, it didn't take me very long to finish at all; there were some scenes that I felt were unnecessary, perhaps, and didn't add to the plot at all, and there were other scenes that were quite powerful and thought-provoking.Overall, I enjoyed this book - if enjoyed is the right word for it. [...]

    13. Kitty Aldridge writes boldly and eloquently from the POV of Lee, a 25 year-old struggling to make it as a trainee undertaker while caring for his deaf younger brother and depressed stepfather. The book explores how we deal with death; that's death as a business and death as personal tragedy. The book is funny and achingly sad in places, and Aldridge combines the tragi-comic with beautiful aplomb. This is exemplified in this great passage where Lee is reflecting on the death of his mother from ca [...]

    14. Three stars seems a little mean for this book. It is, after all, skilfully written. The claustrophobic atmosphere of the main characters life is powerfully evoked, and it leads up to a painfully poignant ending. But, in all honest, I can't say I loved it (five stars) or even really liked it (four stars). In fact, I'm pushing things a bit to say that I liked it at all! The style I found particularly difficult. Though I appreciate the skill and hard work it must have taken to create and maintain t [...]

    15. I gave this book 4* although for the first 50 pages or so I wasn't really sure and didn't think I'd carry on. The novel is only just over 200 pages though, so why not give it a little more time?Aldriged's writing style is something I've not come across before and took some getting used to. Once over the hurdle of our narrator, Lee and his turn of phrase, the novel is a good one.The tale is not a happy jaunt in the lives of brothers and doesn't end on a good note. Ned is deaf and has been from ne [...]

    16. A thing I learned from this book was never to take book recommendations from Mariella Frostrup.This review will contain spoilers.I read this book because Mariella Frostrup had suggested it as good read for someone coming to terms with bereavement. I could use some help in that regard. This book just annoyed me.Some good things about it - a good depiction of funeral directors as business and service, showing their respect to clients living and dead; some quirky touches like the boys stepping out [...]

    17. I had really expected quite a lot from this book, but I actually found it quite disappointing. The story itself wasn't that earth-shattering, although I am aware that that wasn't the point. It is the story of Lee Hart, a trainee undertaker who lives with his deaf brother and his step-father. His mother has died from cancer and he is now the only bread-winner as well as the person who does everything around the house. And that is about as far as it goes. He likes a girl, he goes to the pub, he go [...]

    18. I really enjoyed this book, but with one big proviso.I felt the narrator’s voice was always compelling and likeable, often funny.Lee Hart seems determined to make the best out of his very unlucky situation. He takes an apprenticeship at the local undertakers and the story is based around his relationship with the dead bodies and his fellow co-workers.His love-interest inevitably fails, redundancy seems to be looming and he is little more than a cook and cleaner to his deaf brother and depresse [...]

    19. I'd guess that this book is one that people are either going to love or hate. I loved it. It's hard to describe its genre. It contains themes of love, hate, death, life, relationships, awareness, discovery - and (funeral) undertaking. And more. A trainee undertaker, Lee, whose mother has recently died and who now lives with his deaf brother, Ned, and his (unloved) stepfather, Les, leads us through his daily life. And that is it. But what we discover on this journey is revealing. I was very impre [...]

    20. A British deadpan comical working-class Pushing Six Feet of Daisies will probably tell you whether this will be your bag. It's very much mine -- I cracked up, teared up, smiled in pained recognition.I found Lee's narrative tics charming and loved Aldridge's knowing way with cliché and the truncated cobbled-together rhythms of real speech (and text-speak, gawd the text-speak -- LOL.)A representative quote: "Because there is a style of walk and talk in my line of work that you must perfect if you [...]

    21. Farming is no life, she told us. She wanted our lives to light up under our feet, like the yellow brick road. The world is your oyster, she said. You had to believe, belief was everything. She believed, we believed. The circus had packed up and gone but we stood there still, clapping, believing. A roll of the dice. You hope for sixes, everyone does. Sixes are rare, that's all.This is the story of Lee, his family, and how people cope with death. The story itself isn't anything particularly novel, [...]

    22. "Narrated by Lee Hart, a twenty five year old trainee at Shakespeare and Co. Funeral Home, A Trick I Learned From Dead Men is a rambling tale of how he copes when his mother dies of cancer.It is the narration that makes the book original and interesting. By turns amusing, almost unbearably poignant and just plain weird, Aldridge has created a unique voice in Lee.His speech is peppered with words which he feels give him an air of sophistication and he has a fondness for foreign greetings, all of [...]

    23. This is quite a short book, I read it in one day. The author has clearly taken a lot of time and effort to research her subject thoroughly. The book is the bittersweet story of Lee Hart trainee funeral director and the day to day problems he faces in his life. Lee is a carer for his deaf brother and disabled stepfather, his mother is dead. He is spurned in love but he finds solace in his work and the pride he takes in his position at the undertakers. Your heart goes out to Lee, he is a likeable [...]

    24. I quite enjoyed this book, it's a simple tale of a guy who is training to be an undertaker and also dealing with a disabled stepdad, deaf brother and the death of his mum. Doesn't sound very cheery but it's actually quite lighthearted and manages to make some points about people who mistrust evidence-based medicine without being over the top about it. The plot trotted along without any particular crises until the end so it wasn't massively exciting but probably good holiday reading, not too taxi [...]

    25. The author was born in Bahrain, but it is a bit of a cheat to use this book for my World Tour as she is most definitely English; to prove it, her chapter headings are weather forecasts.This is a sad story, told with dry humour. Lee is a believable character, a young man working in a funeral home and trying to look after what is left of his family. Sometimes it all seems a bit too much for him. I enjoyed it.

    26. Lee works at a funeral home and lives with his brother. His best mate Rave calls him Lethal. And he's slowly working up courage to ask florist Lorelle on a date. Kitty Aldridge gives us a fast read in a fresh voice. Lee's cheery manner gets him through some difficult moments and he bounces back quickly from loss and rejection. Funny, sad, hopeful - it's a snapshot of life in a small town in the UK with a wonderful cast of characters.

    27. Kitty has a style of writting that confused me at first but then quickly won me over. This writting style gave a depth to the character that I wasn't expecting and very much enjoyed. The story is well researched but lacks something. That though is only my opinion as it won Women's prize for fiction 2013, though I am still confused as to exactly why.I enjoyed it but not sure who of my friends would love it so doubt I'll recommend it.

    28. Oh I adore Aldridge's style, and Lee's voice is original and distinctive. A trainee undertaker struggling with a depressed stepfather and a socially isolated deaf brother, after the death of their mother from cancer, but taking such joy and pride in his work, and behaving with such dignity and care towards his clients, Lee Hart is the most likeable narrator I've read in years. Warm and poetic, this novel is just lovely.

    29. I wanted to like this book, but ultimately I didn't feel enough engagement with the characters to do so. I quite liked the unusual staccato style once I'd got used to it, and the book was at its most engaging during work situations. However, I felt it lacked depth, especially considering the subject matter.

    30. I really enjoyed reading this. It feels slow, lazy - an easy read that makes the difficult subject matter and the awkward characters digestible. But then you get to the end and realise that you've almost been deceived into reading something quite dark, that leaves you with a long-lasting impression. I loved it!

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