Just a little bibliophile! ;)
This is some of the best, most artful writing I have read in a long time. The author is incredibly talented in the way in which she crafts the world of this story, the characters, and even individual scenes. She really builds and conveys the atmosphere and environment surrounding the characters, so that you feel you are there. She conveys the southern culture and vibe without getting bogged down in sticky-sweet cliche. I have rarely experienced quite the same nuance and suspense as the way Ms. Myracle can build up a scene without it being over the top. This story and the characters completely drew me in. It is not a "light" tale and does certainly address some difficult and even dark subject matter, but this is a story that you don't want to miss. The hard subject matter is balanced out by character growth, and some aspects of the plot where good "wins out" in the end. The narration is also good, I felt the voice totally drew me in to the main character's POV and the other characters were done pretty well for the most part. I did feel some of the male voices could have been done just a little bit better and more distinguished from each other, but that is a minor complaint. It really did not take away from my listening experience at all. I highly recommend this!
I highly recommend this book! This richly imaginative and detailed story is so unusual and original it's almost startling in a good way. The author displays first-class talent in her writing, especially considering her use of a non-standard (and non-contemporary) speaking style to tell the whole story in first person. A brave (risky?) artistic choice that I believe will continue to pay off for her. I look forward to more from Ms. Young, and hopefully more with these characters.
Shakespeare, Dickens, Homer, Mark Twain, Walt Disney, History.
I avoided this book for a long time: who wants to read a book about a person who's so good everyone around him thinks he's an idiot?
Boy, was I wrong. This is an intense and brooding novel, filled with Dostoevsky's usual array of deeply conflicted characters and blistering monologues. The idiot himself, Prince Myshkin, is no pushover: maybe he's a bit naive at times, but he insists on treating people as equals and assuming their good intentions until contrary evidence is overwhelming. He suffers from epilepsy, and in the course of the novel has a couple of seizures that dramatically alter the direction of the story.
Superficially, the novel is about Myshkin's conflicted relationships with two women: Aglaya, the youngest daughter of a distant relative, with whom he is in love; and Anastassya Filippovna, a "fallen woman" who's been fobbed off by her former lover and who seems to be drifting from one self-destructive relationship to another. Myshkin may have loved her once, but now he mainly pities her. Aglaya, who at one point seems willing to marry Myshkin, ultimately breaks off because of his obsession with Anastassya.
But that's only one small facet of this complex, teeming book. The characters are captivating, the scenes at times almost hypnotic in their intensity. I've only read a few of Dostoevsky's novels, but so far I'm inclined to say this is probably my favorite.
Robert Whitfield (=Simon Vance) gives a stellar reading. Of particular note is his ability to distinguish the voices of the many women in the book: sometimes the shading is subtle, but I always knew instantly who was talking. Well done, highly recommended.