trying to see the world with my ears
This listen managed to combine my two favorite types of lit - realistic depiction of another period (especially its social history) and reflection on faith in a troubled world.
I listened to this shortly after the more contemporary "Foreskin's Lament" and "Disobedience" -- and although I enjoyed those two (each in their own way)-- oh, how I wish I had listened to this first!
In addition to a beautiful "coming of age" portrait of two young Americans in the WWII/post war era, what a compassionate depiction of Jewish faith coming to terms with modernism! As other reviews point out, the novel portrays universal truths while giving outsiders to the Jewish faith a glimpse of its richness and diversity in the story's specifics. There are enough symbolism and imagery to satisfy a reader/listener without the literary complexity that demands much effort to digest.
I thank the reviewer who named Potok's follow-up novel, but since that is not on Audible (yet), I think as a follow-up, I will re-listen to Doctorow's "City of God" and hope for a re-release of "The Promise."
This is a delightful mixture of light Austen-like comedy of manners with a dash of P.G. Wodehouse mania. There is no bodice ripping, violence, or sex (but no gritty social realism or insight either,of course) -- just "happily ever after" written (and read) well enough for the listener to suspend disbelief.
Heyer's books have stood the test of time, while I don't think most chick lit will. If you are in need of distraction, may Heyer be as pleasant a discovery to you as she was to me. I think if you are new to this author (I am a relative newcomer but have zoomed though five novels in the last stress-filled month), then I think either "Frederica" or "Cotilion" is worth a chance download. (But warning, this stuff can be addictive -- when tired or tested, I keep thinking that I will download "just one more...")
(aka Doneda Peters and Nadia May) because you'll be listening to so much of her here - and from reading reviews of other books she's narrated, listeners usually have a love or hate relationship with her. She has an older-style narration (Talking Books) and she shines in classics with multiple-claused sentences and in nonfiction. I love her, and that was the tipping point for this download for me -- because although I love historical fiction, I usually can't stand anything earlier than early a 19th century setting.
I really didn't expect to like this novel - I thought it a good value for listening and learning while I did chores, etc.- but I VERY much enoyed the listen too. It's not a Ken Follet page turner, but I think the details will linger in a listener's mind more than those from a potboiler. Rutherford knits together a unique novel-docudrama
He does take century long leaps in time and in conjecture, but after about ten hours of listening, this starts to seem natural! I did not experience the technical glitches mentioned by other reviewers, BUT it does sound like an older quality recording (back when Wanda was getting paid about $15 a hour).
So know what you're getting before you hit "cart" -- or like me, if you have days to fill with listening, take a chance in case you too will be pleasantly surprised.