Read A Sixpenny Song by Jennifer Johnston Online


Jennifer Johnston is one of the foremost Irish writers of her, or any, generation. She has won the Whitbread Prize (THE OLD JEST), the Evening Standard Best First Novel Award (for THE CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS), the Yorkshire Post Award, Best Book of the Year (twice, for THE CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS and HOW MANY MILES TO BABYLON?). She was also shortlisted for the Booker PrizeJennifer Johnston is one of the foremost Irish writers of her, or any, generation. She has won the Whitbread Prize (THE OLD JEST), the Evening Standard Best First Novel Award (for THE CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS), the Yorkshire Post Award, Best Book of the Year (twice, for THE CAPTAINS AND THE KINGS and HOW MANY MILES TO BABYLON?). She was also shortlisted for the Booker Prize with SHADOWS ON OUR SKIN....

Title : A Sixpenny Song
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781472209238
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 208 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Sixpenny Song Reviews

  • Heather
    2019-01-23 20:45

    A Sixpenny Song is a small story, in large, spacey print. In theory, it should be punchy, powerful and to the point. Annie's father dies and she returns to Ireland to face past revelations, as well as being left the large house and land. The recurring theme of the title's song namesake may have had some significance, but seemed forced and generally a nuisance. And it stands out more because it's surrounded by so little of interest. There's characters you can count on one hand to contend with, and only one has enough about him to hold interest, and given the general lacklustre feel to the book, even that is tenuous.This is her 18th, 19th book? I can't say I'll be giving any of the others ago because, for the few pages it had, it was such a struggle to find anything to really enjoy. It had good enough potential hidden in there somewhere, but the plot was without detail, as was everything else.The only saving grace, personally, was that the font was so big it was over quickly. Perhaps this is just not my cup of tea.

  • Becky
    2019-02-05 20:26

    I found this rather disappointing to be honest. The story started off nicely and seemed to have massive potential to blossom into a moving story. Unfortunately it became merely melodramatic, and yet also strangely clipped as the novel progressed. Characters had no time to develop but simply leapt into making strange confessions to each other about intimate details of their lives. These seemed deeply unnatural and didn't work for me at all.

  • Tara Russell
    2019-02-10 16:28

    Superbly elegant writing, as always, but I found it somewhat unsatisfying. There was a certain woodenness, a stiltedness to the characters which left me detached from the story.

  • Sandra Shannon
    2019-02-01 20:41

    This short novel did not fulfil its promise.

  • Dannielle Potts
    2019-02-15 21:54

    This One Was Nice Enough But I Just Couldn’t Connect With It. A Good Attempt At A Twist But I Think It Could’ve Been Made Stronger. There Just Didn’t Seem To Be Enough Pages For It To Really Get Going & For The Characters To Develop

  • Margaret Madden
    2019-01-20 19:52

    Thanks to Tinder Press for sending me this book for review........A new book from the multi-award winning Jennifer Johnston was always going to pique my interest. This novel may be short, but more than makes up for its length with the content.Annie receives a call that informs her of her father's death. She is not too surprised, or too bothered by the fact, as they have been estranged for quite a while. She ran away to London as a teenager to escape her father's domineering ways and to try and live her life to her own agenda. Now, the thoughts of returning to Dublin is not appealing and she dreads meeting her Stepmother. However, the funeral must be attended and she boards a plane to face the music.When she learns that her father has left her the family home, she is shocked and thinks he is trying to control her from beyond the grave. She goes to the house, to clear it out, and encounters the handyman,Kevin, who lives nearby with his elderly aunt. It turns out that they both knew her mother well, and as Annie has limited memories of her, she visits to piece together some information about her mother's death at such a young age.The uneasy friendship that develops between herself and Kevin becomes much deeper the more she learns about her mother, with secrets revealed, memories re-surfacing and the past being re-written.Jennifer Johnston is well known for her masterful storytelling and classical writing style. I was a little worried when I heard the title of the book, as it sounds like one of those mundane memoirs about "desperate" childhoods. The title actually refers to a song that Annie's mother used to sing regularly and which is like an ear worm for the young woman. The story is simply told but with beautiful style and finesse. Some of the phrases used by Kevin were a bit annoying as they are not ones I would ever have heard an Irish man utter. The book reads almost like a play, with four or five main characters and had echoes of All My Sons by Arthur Miller. Buried secrets which change how you view someone's character when they come to light.I would recommend this quaint novel to lovers of Colum McCann and Colm Tobin. Quality writing from Ms. Johnton, as usual.

  • Kimbofo
    2019-02-20 17:54

    A new Jennifer Johnston novel is always something to celebrate in this household, so I was very much looking forward to the arrival of A Sixpenny Song, the author's 18th novel, at the end of October.This short book, easily read in an afternoon or over a couple of evenings, is what I would describe as "typical" Jennifer Johnston fare. Like so many of her earlier stories, this one is about fathers, daughters — and family secrets.The story, told in the third person, focuses on Annie Ross, who is in her late 20s/early 30s. She was born in Dublin, but her father, a rich and domineering man, shipped her off to boarding school in England when she was 12 — shortly after her mother died — and later, as an 18-year-old, she fled the family home to start a new life in London, free from her father's expectations and his financial support.Now her father has died and he's left her the house, which is set on about 10 acres, so Annie must return to Dublin, her first visit in more than 10 years, to take ownership. But when she returns she finds that the large stately house — "standing resplendent on what looked like its own private hill and backed by the low mountains" — represents more to her than bricks and mortar: it is a repository of her childhood memories, especially of her beloved mother.When she arrives she is greeted by her father's second wife, Miriam, who plans to decamp to her pad in Monte Carlo with the money she's inherited, and Kevin, the odd-job man and gardener, who has spent his life maintaining the property and was a close confidante of her mother's.To read the rest of my review, please visit my blog.

  • Anne Goodwin
    2019-01-25 15:33

    A woman returns to her childhood home following the death of a parent and, in the process, discovers some painful truths about her family which impact on how she perceives herself. It’s the middle-aged version of the adolescent coming-of-age story and, as such, one with which many of us can identify. If we’re writers, we might have our own version in our hearts, in our heads or on the page. But, because it’s such an obvious story, if it’s to make its way into an actual book, it’s going to have to be good. It’s going to need something extra – strong writing, unusual characters, an intriguing setting – to lift it above the morass. Another Irish writer, Anne Enright, achieves this magnificently in The Gathering; Jenna Blum does it beautifully in Those Who Save Us.In contrast, Jennifer Johnston serves up banal conversations, clichéd plot devices (such as truths revealed through the diary of a man who’s unlikely to have kept one), and intrusive snippets of the nursery rhyme from which she takes her title so dull even the main character becomes irritated with them:The king was in his counting house … counting … counting … ‘Oh, shut up,’ she said aloud, ‘just shut up.’ (p161)Yet my favourite part of the novel was a reference to another song which, for reasons that will become apparent should you ignore my advice and read the book, the narrator hated hearing her mother sing: Miss Otis Regrets by Cole Porter.More context on my blog post:

  • Carole
    2019-02-11 16:27

    When Annie comes back home to Dublin she is met by Miriam, 'Mrs Number Two Wife', as Annie called her father's widow, who, soon afterwards, takes all the furniture from the house Annie has inherited.Annie is not sorry he's dead.She hadn't really liked him very much, Dada (he preferred it if she called him father: to him Dada was an untidy name for a man of his standing).He liked things to go his way; his word was law, and always what he thought was the best for you.'I only want what is best for you.'How many times had she heard those unanswerable words? And now he was dead. She wondered if he had ordered his death as he had ordered everything else in his life.Annie plans to sell her father's house and open a bookshop in the small village but as she talks to Kevin, the odd job man, and his elderly aunt she discovers secrets but are they all lies or are they telling her the truth?A moving family drama, with very few characters and an interesting storyline. Overall I enjoyed it but I thought the story was too short, I felt there was more that the author could have told us and I felt as if I didn't really know the characters very well.Taken from my blog Carole's Book Corner

  • Anne
    2019-02-02 15:45

    Another of Jennifer Johnston's trademark short, sharp novels. In keeping with many of her other books, A Sixpenny Song concentrates on once close, but now fractured relationships.Annie left Ireland many years ago, and now works as a bookseller in London. She's as happy as she can be, fairly content and liking the anonymity of life in a big city.Annie receives news from her step mother. Her father is dead and he has left the family home to Annie. Returning to Ireland, and to the house that holds few happy memories is a journey that Annie does not undertake lightly.In Ireland, back amongst the familiar places and people, Annie learns more about her parents than she ever imagined.As always, Jennifer Johnston writes beautiful prose that is at times witty, yet often heartbreaking. Despite the beauty of the words, the plot to me was fairly predictable and often dull. The few characters are very hard to engage with, and Annie as lead character did nothing to endear herself to me. A very short novel, with huge print that only takes a couple of hours to get through. It's a good filler, but really not up to the author's usual standards.

  • Charlotte (Escapades of a Bookworm)
    2019-02-16 21:31

    Reviews can also be found on my blog Escapades of a BookwormThis is a short quick novel which focuses on family relationships that have become fractured over time due to past events. Annie returns home after her father dies, and soon learns secrets about her family that have been hidden for many years. This new past redefines everything Annie knows and changes her future.As Annie discovers more about her family, particular her mother, more and more memories and flashbacks appear in the telling of the story. While the prose was lovely to read there was something that made this story quite dull and predictable, so Annie was annoying, there seemed to be nothing that meant that I could like her or sympathise with.The recurring use of the song in the title may mean to have some impact on the reader, whatever the use of the song was meant to do it went right over my head.A Sixpenny Song ended up being a quick story that I read in a detached way, and somehow left me with an unsatisfactory feeling that made me wonder if I had actually read the book…

  • Robyn Koshel
    2019-02-05 20:50

    Annie comes back home to Ireland after her father dies. Her relationship with her father was fractures at best, since the death of her mother years before. Coming home was not the easiest thing for Annie because there was so much water under the bridge and unanswered questions. While trying to decide if she should remain in Ireland and open up a book shop- she runs into one of her mothers old friends, Kevin. As Annie and Kevin get to know each other, buried secrets about her family re-emerge and she finds out that some secrets aren’t as buried as people wished. With new insight, she begins to see the reason behind her fathers estrangement and it is bitter-sweet because it is too late to heal the rift between them. “A sixpenny song” is a lovely tale about discovery and finding out the truth about Annie’s personal history that had been kept from her for too long. Set in gorgeous Ireland, Jennifer Jones, bring the emerald Isle alive- vividly with her beautiful prose. It is a gentle story that is just the perfect length for a quick and easy read.

  • Frances
    2019-02-19 22:38

    I love Jennifer Johnston's writing. In this short novel she explores the nature of memory and the potential for the past to encroach on the present. I enjoyed Annie Ross's search for answers as she travels back to Dublin following the death of her very rich, but estranged father. I would have liked more detail and background information regarding her mother's story, but maybe the lesson learned is that sometimes the past is best left behind.

  • Aisling
    2019-02-05 21:45

    Another beautifully executed novella by a master of her craft. I love how Jennifer Johnston can weave a story out of the seemingly most innocuous events. In this case an estranged daughter returns to the family home for her father's funeral and unleashes a stream of memories that lead to the eventual reason for her mother's death many years earlier.

  • Kathryn
    2019-01-23 22:35

    I felt this could have been so much more if it was a longer novel but I will be looking out for more books by this author.

  • Mandy
    2019-01-23 18:30

    I didn't get involved with this story at all. The print is large and it is a short book. Well written but no depth to the characters at all.

  • Angelique Simonsen
    2019-02-18 22:48

    just that the conversation was so unreal. got frustrated with the fact that I couldn't believe in the story