A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
Let's just get this out in the open -- Michael Chabon is an amazing prose stylist. Occassionally, I imagine I can grow up one day and become a writer, then I read Chabon and I recognize just how HIGH that hill can be. His dexterity with the English language borders on magical. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is at once playful and soulful.
Listening to AAoK&C, I was reminded of Saul Bellow's ability to dance with language while also keeping the novel briskly centered on its well-paced story. Chabon's characters are boyantly alive, cinemagraphiclly painted, and infused a with dialogue that seems to require a high level of stereophonics (all enhanced by Colacci's amazing reading).
Even in comic books, good doesn't always win over evil, but it seems like with Chabon love still conquers all. A fantastic novel to view the 20th century through. Chabon expertly captured the colors, smells, and magic of New York. Anyway, Kavalier & Clay is a world I don't ever want to escape from.
The reason I am drawn to literature, to art, to books considered to be classics, is to watch some middle-aged, bearded man put on a pair of (excuse the flamboyant analogy) skates and suddenly pitch himself into the center of the ring and pull off a triple Salchow. I love risk-taking, experimental literature. With 'The French Lieutenant's Woman', Fowles is boldly moving in a lot of directions at once (pushing down fourth walls [Chapter 13], jumping forward and backward in time, throwing himself into the path of the protagonist Charles) and manages to control it all with a sharp elegance that is breathtaking.
He (re)creates a Victorian period novel and then deconstructs, dissects and parodies it while we watch. He bends into it elements of Darwinian and Marxist thought (two revolutionary Men who lived during this period, but are never displayed in the works of the Brontës, Hardy, Gaskell, Dickens or Trollope. Doing so, he subverts both the age and the novel. 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' is a work of genius and a book that teased and challenged me on almost every page as I read it.
O'Connor was ruthless in her vision. The struggle of Tarwater and his uncle Rayber against their joint destinies and the pull of fundamentalism and secularism is fully realized in this short novel. The Violent Bear it Away is biblical, American and absolutely brutal in both its imagery of destruction and language of redemption. I can only think of a handful of writers who seem to grab both my brain, my spine and my gut at the same time. O'Connor can't be over-appreciated; she was an absolute genius of passion and power. So brilliant and terrible was this novel, that I still exceedingly fear and quake.
trying to see the world through my ears
-else the detail might drive a listener crazy, but I found all three parts of this Darcy novel a very relaxing listen. By part three, I even enjoyed the narrator's style, almost.
If you have the time or inclination for only two parts of the series, part 2 could be skipped.
Part one covers the period up to the departure from Netherfield to prevent the Bingley-Jane alliance; part 2 sees nothing of the Bennets except the knowledge that Jane is in London and cut by the sisters Bingley; it then diverges into a gothic mystery entangling Darcy as he tries to find a society wife; part three picks up at Darcy's encounter with Elizabeth at Rosings and and follows the P&P plotline and past to the wedding (I think the author ought to have ended where the P&P plot did, but then again, if she produced a part 4 that imagined the Darcys' married life, I still probably would listen.)
The biggest faults in the listen for me were the overwrought "romance speech" scenes and the quick references to stereotyes of Irish rebels and misunderstood Celtic spiritual traditions. But there are gems of imagination to compensate, such as Darcy's valet portrayed as a bit of a Jeeves character.
If you want some good chick lit for listening, you might as well get this homage to the ultimate work of chick LITERATURE. Now can someone re-write P&P from the servants' viewpoint?