Michael Frayn is the best-selling author of Headlong and Spies. His 1990 novel The Trick of It is a comical look at an odd couple. Original and witty, Frayn tells a complete story through one-sided letters.
Compact, light and entertaining, The Trick of It is a clever tale. A nameless college professor writes letters to an esteemed friend living in Australia. The professor is a critic who has dedicated his life to teaching and explaining the writings of a profound female writer. He knows her books inside and out. He, perhaps, knows more about the author than the author knows about herself. When she comes to speak at the college, the professor is overwhelmed. He worries that she cannot possibly live up to all he has made her out to be.
However, the critic and the writer wind up spending the night together. Eventually they marry, and he discontinues his teachings. After all, how obscure would it be for a husband to teach classes about his wife’s writings? As the letters continue, a picture of a strange though symbiotic relationship emerge, along with all of its moments of humor, sadness, incredulity and joy.
From beginning to end, Frayn’s easy writing style allows listeners to settle in and enjoy The Trick of It as if it were written expressly for them.
Read by Martin Jarvis