JulyChartwell House, Kent Winston Churchill wakes at dawn There s a dark, mute presence in the room that focuses on him with rapt concentrationIt s Mr ChartwellSoon after, in London, Esther Hammerhans, a librarian at the House of Commons, goes to answer the door to her new lodger Through the glass she sees a vast silhouette the size of a mattressIt s Mr ChartwellCharismatic, dangerously seductive, Mr Chartwell unites the eminent statesman at the end of his career and the vulnerable young woman But can they withstand Mr Chartwell s strange, powerful charms and his stranglehold on their lives Can they even explain who or what he is and why he has come to visit In this utterly original, moving, funny, and exuberant novel, Rebecca Hunt explores how two unlikely lives collide as Mr Chartwell s motives are revealed to be far darker and deeper than they at first seem Going into Mr Chartwell you should know that Winston Churchill suffered with depression throughout his adult life and referred to depression as the black dog Got it Now you are ready to read one of theoriginal novels I ve read in a long time The title character in Mr Chartwell is that black dog Or something very like a dog Mr Chartwell is 6 7 , smelly, and resembles a black Labrador He has quite a few human characteristics he speaks English, walks on his hind legs, drinks, needs Going into Mr Chartwell you should know that Winston Churchill suffered with depression throughout his adult life and referred to depression as the black dog Got it Now you are ready to read one of theoriginal novels I ve read in a long time The title character in Mr Chartwell is that black dog Or something very like a dog Mr Chartwell is 6 7 , smelly, and resembles a black Labrador He has quite a few human characteristics he speaks English, walks on his hind legs, drinks, needs an apartment and is employed His job is persecuting Winston Churchill Chartwell has been hounding Churchill for years In 1964 when the novel opens Churchill is retiring from politics after sixty years The idea of retirement does not sit easily with him and neither does having the black dog as a companion once again.Chartwell has his teeth in Esther Hammerhans as well Esther is a young widow with a room to let She s naturally reluctant to rent it to Chartwell when he shows up but he has a way of not taking no for answer and soon moves in Chartwell finds the grieving Esther an easy mark and takes over Like an unloved and persistent stray Chartwell grabs a hold and insinuates himself into Esther s life It s the old repulsive fascination thing for Esther She finds Chartwell hideous and obnoxious and yet is seduced into waiting on him and caring for him anyway or maybe it s just that misery loves company, any company I won t be forgetting Esther or Chartwell anytime soon What is Chartwell after Can Esther and Winston help each other Will Chartwell ever leave Can a novel about depression have a happy ending What does it all mean Why isn t this novel a gigantic mess Questions, questions, questions most of which I m not going to answer Discovery is a big part of the oddball charm of this novel I will tell you that the boldness of Mr Chartwell is astounding This is unique, metaphorical, very humorous novel by a first time author Don t think that this is all pretentious, experimental, is anything ever going to happen writing There is as much storytelling in Mr Chartwell as there is invention Impressive The author, Rebecca Hunt paints vivid word pictures in this excellent debut She has a clever, winning way with description Hunt is successful as well in making a depressing subject, Depression, funny You feel the weight of this debilitating disease and you can empathize but you are smiling while you do it and you have to wonder what for goodness sake is Rebecca Hunt going to write about next 4.5 stars I need to write adetailed review of this later Suffice it to say it s a fantastic read and no idea why the GR rating on this is low If you ve ever experienced depression, you ll love this book evenA fantastic exploration of depression s effects through the use of Winston Churchill and a Black Dog Terrific read, and a first novel amazing. This was a tricky one for me I thought it was funny and very moving I really liked it But My apologies to Mr Churchill, but the black dog metaphor just doesn t work for me Depression as an annoyance, an uninvited guest who shows up and bugs you, chewing rocks and whispering in your ear, crushing your chest and hogging the bed just misses something Depression is so all encompassing and I ve found that it s very internal as well It s not a visitor, it s an all out crippling assault your o This was a tricky one for me I thought it was funny and very moving I really liked it But My apologies to Mr Churchill, but the black dog metaphor just doesn t work for me Depression as an annoyance, an uninvited guest who shows up and bugs you, chewing rocks and whispering in your ear, crushing your chest and hogging the bed just misses something Depression is so all encompassing and I ve found that it s very internal as well It s not a visitor, it s an all out crippling assault your own mind turning against you, changing you into a person you don t recognize The black dog islike having the blues You know what s going on you can wallow in it for a while It even makes a nice companion for a bit, just like a real dog does not expecting much from you, content to just sit on the couch or whatever Depression takes everything and then goes back forObviously, it probably varies for everyone But for me, I don t like the term It gives depression this strange charm, like Death playing board games with Bill and Ted Anyway, regardless of that, I still really did like the book This is a subject I usually avoid reading about because I m wary of triggers, but Hunt s treatment of the subject was light enough to be enjoyable I listened to the audiobook edition of Mr Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt As is my habit, I added it to my library list of books that are available in the audio format way before I got the audiobook from the library I only wish I could remember how this book came to my attention In my opinion, the most important component of an audiobook is the reader performer, narrator Mr Chartwell was read by Susan Duerden and she had the perfect clipped British accent She made each character an individua I listened to the audiobook edition of Mr Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt As is my habit, I added it to my library list of books that are available in the audio format way before I got the audiobook from the library I only wish I could remember how this book came to my attention In my opinion, the most important component of an audiobook is the reader performer, narrator Mr Chartwell was read by Susan Duerden and she had the perfect clipped British accent She made each character an individual with her voice and articulation I always seem to prefer books read by British performers It adds an appreciated charm aspect I came to the book knowing that it was somehow about Prime Minister Winston Churchill I soon learned that Chartwell was the name of Sir Winston Churchill s home along with his wife, Clemintine who was Winston s emotional rock and his most trusted confidante What I did not know was that Churchill suffered from depression The book opens in July 1964, where Winston Churchill wakes at dawn in his bed chamber at the Chartwell House There s a dark, mute presence in the room that focuses on him with rapt attention Soon after, in London, Esther Hammerhans, a librarian at the House of Commons, widowed for two years, decides to rent her late husband s study When she goes to answer the door to her new lodger, through the glass she sees a vast silhouette the size of a mattress His name is Mr Chartwell and though Esther is astounded to see what seems to be a huge dog, standing there waiting for her patronage, as any patron would, it all becomes quickly, if not completely, plausible to Esther and to the reader Though many reviewers begin with the all too real metaphor of Mr Chartwell, to be known as Black Pat, as a physical representation of the blackness of living with depression, this reader initially had no idea I think my cluelessness worked to my advantage It allowed me to be put smack into the story from the very beginning and pretty much stay there to the end Mr Chartwell, the dog, was written from the first with such wit and impudence, charm and repulsion, appeal and disgust, intelligence and fatuousness, that I accepted him, nay, I relished in him As the book proceeds, Sir Winston Churchill, Esther Hammerhans and Mr Chartwell s stories intertwine, coming together in a very satisfying way At some point, even this, slightly dense reader began to understand the metaphor working in Mr Chartwell and that Churchill s and that he had lived with the black dog depression for many, if not most of his years As for Esther Hammerhans, Mr Chartwell is visible to her as well, because the loss of her husband has left her depressed and empty The fact that Winston Churchill was hounded no pun intended by the black dog of depression became the conceit for Rebecca Hunt s novel and from it she wove a tale that for me wasthan entertaining It was one of the most gratifying and captivating books that I have read in a very long time And, while you never forget that depression is serious, she made it possible to laugh as you dry away the tears This novel is based around a simple conceit Winston Churchill s depression, which he referred to as his black dog, is not metaphorical but actual He is, in fact, an enormous creature variously called Mr Chartwell or Black Pat who haunts both Churchill and Esther Hammerhans, a widowed library clerk at Westminster Palace, who has her own depression to fight off as the second anniversary of her husband s suicide nears.There are clever elements here, but in general I thought atalented w This novel is based around a simple conceit Winston Churchill s depression, which he referred to as his black dog, is not metaphorical but actual He is, in fact, an enormous creature variously called Mr Chartwell or Black Pat who haunts both Churchill and Esther Hammerhans, a widowed library clerk at Westminster Palace, who has her own depression to fight off as the second anniversary of her husband s suicide nears.There are clever elements here, but in general I thought atalented writer was needed to pull off the concept effectively Hunt seemed uncertain about whether Mr Chartwell was ghostly or corporeal he doesn t need a key to get into Esther s flat, yet he has chosen her location because it s an easy 50 minute commute down to Churchill s place in Kent He leaves clumps of fur around and chews furniture, but he is invisible to all but three characters Likewise, Hunt cannot seem to decide whether Mr Chartwell is an innocent, playful imp or the devil incarnate come to steal souls There was also some very strange wording and made up 1960s slang which served only to confuse rather than to evoke the time period.Though built on a good idea, the book was clearly too ambitious for this first time novelist hm Well This book was an interesting take on depression Rebecca Hunt uses the figure of a large, black, beastly dog over turning and overtaking people s lives to attempt to illustrate the despair and life owning horror that is depression I really thought the imagery et al was interesting and fresh I like the language of her writing, but was often bored and slogging through I was determined to finish reading and I did, but it was difficult.Readhere hm Well This book was an interesting take on depression Rebecca Hunt uses the figure of a large, black, beastly dog over turning and overtaking people s lives to attempt to illustrate the despair and life owning horror that is depression I really thought the imagery et al was interesting and fresh I like the language of her writing, but was often bored and slogging through I was determined to finish reading and I did, but it was difficult.Readhere Picked this book because of the narrator.Started listening not having a clueto what the story was about.What a pleasant, laugh out loud, treat Really enjoyed the creativity of the author.Narrator Susan Duerdenbrings each character to life.Clean with a little mild Foul Language. Rebecca Hunt has created an interesting novel set in 1964 featuring Winston Churchill, in the days before his final retirement, Esther Hammerhans, a librarian at the House of Commons, and a Black Dog Of course this isn t just any dog but Churchill s black dog of depression that has been with him for much of his life I am tempted to say the dog has been anthropomorphized but can that refer to dogs Well perhaps there is some other term but I will leave it at that You must read the book for Rebecca Hunt has created an interesting novel set in 1964 featuring Winston Churchill, in the days before his final retirement, Esther Hammerhans, a librarian at the House of Commons, and a Black Dog Of course this isn t just any dog but Churchill s black dog of depression that has been with him for much of his life I am tempted to say the dog has been anthropomorphized but can that refer to dogs Well perhaps there is some other term but I will leave it at that You must read the book for particulars.I found this novel intriguing, odd at first, then increasingly interesting and ultimately very effective as a picture of the effect of depression on individuals lives.how they cope or don t cope with it The fact that it s done in this format is amazing, so creative I think I will recommend this to some friends Mr Chartwell centres around a single idea, though it s admittedly quite a striking one based on Winston Churchill s famous description of his depression as the black dog , it imagines the physical incarnation of depression as an actual, huge, walking occasionally on hind legs and talking, black dog, the Mr Chartwell of the title We see how the presence of the dog Black Pat, as he decides to call himself affects two characters Churchill himself, facing the official end of his parliament Mr Chartwell centres around a single idea, though it s admittedly quite a striking one based on Winston Churchill s famous description of his depression as the black dog , it imagines the physical incarnation of depression as an actual, huge, walking occasionally on hind legs and talking, black dog, the Mr Chartwell of the title We see how the presence of the dog Black Pat, as he decides to call himself affects two characters Churchill himself, facing the official end of his parliamentary career, and Esther, a young widow approaching the second anniversary of her husband s death.This is an easy one to read it s quite short, the chapters are brief and get straight to the point, and the premise is interesting The idea of the book grabbed me as soon as I heard about it, and when I started reading I was immediately engaged and wanted to keep finding out what would happen next As well as this it is, certainly at first, really quite funny Black Pat is a rather irritating and repulsive character, full of maddening one liners and disgusting habits Churchill in particular is very well drawn I could picture him saying pretty much every line Hunt had given him she s captured his voice brilliantly and Esther is immediately likeable too The characters surrounding Esther, however, have a cartoonish quality to them and, ironically, end up seemingunrealistic than the anthropomorphic dog While I warmed to the character herself, I couldn t muster much interest in her situation perhaps the book just isn t lengthy or fleshed out enough to create a proper background for the main events The dialogue is weirdly disjointed at points, yet the style of writing and the author s turn of phrase are original and often remarkable.I admire the fact that the author has found an unusual and amusing way to approach the tricky and, well, depressing subject of depression, but at the end of the novel I didn t feel Mr Chartwell had been entirely successful As someone who has suffered from depression, it didn t particularly affect me, provoke feelings of recognition or make me feel sympathy with the characters It sounds stupid, but I couldn t really get my head around the dog as a metaphor thing either the reader knows Black Pat isn t really there, but much of his behaviour is physically destructive intrusive, and I didn t really get how this was meant to correspond to the mental effects of depression though innovative, it was all a bit heavy handed at times I feel like I d have been able to identify this as a first novel, even if I hadn t already known I think Hunt is a talented and promising writer, but while this is an interesting read it doesn t quite hit the mark