This novel works better in concept than in execution. The idea of "the rapture" as a dark comedy is appealing, but as the author implies in his post-read interview, what starts out as a humorous spoof on the remnant that is "left behind" quickly moves into a story about loss and about dealing with sudden bereavement. It's reads like a comedy of manners gone wrong, and while Perrotta maintains an ironic, amused distance from his various personas, the reader is left with few relatable characters or situations. There are multiple story lines, a structure which works well, but the narrative elements are all viewed from a detached clinical distance. I like the book, especially the title as a parody of the "Left Behind" series, and do recommend it, but Perrotta's signature tone seems to work better when it's not so heavy-handed.
The narration is perfect. Boutsikaris' voice is mellow and sonorous, un-accented and without unnecessary drama or extremes of expression.
I didn't want this book to end. And really, it could have gone on for another 14 hours. The writer must have been reading my mind as this was a perfect listen.
Full of insight and delicate nuance, this book took hold of my attention from the start. There is a vast range of terrific characters with understandable frailties, described and defined with stunning clarity. There are commonplace situations that this writer infuses with depth and dimension, finding wondrous realizations in everyday life and elevating the ordinary to a spiritual level.
The narrator was one of the best I have heard. Ironic when appropriate, but not heavy on drama or thick with accents.
I may have to listen again.
I will add one thing. It seems that I have recently read a fair number of audiobooks that, while very good, are not contemporary. This must be the fourth book in a row that takes place in the 1990's and early 2000s. Are all the recent books confined to the violent thriller bestseller genre? Since thrillers are not my preference there appears to be a lack of current fiction with a "family and relationships" theme. Introspective books that explore emotional perspectives seem to be missing from audible's selections lately.
I have always enjoyed the McCall Smith characters and the various series, whatever their locations, Edinburgh or Botswana. I grab each one as soon as it is available for download and I am never disappointed in the economy of expression yet attention to nuance contained therein. McCall Smith has an excellent grasp of the various moral and situational ambiguities inherent in modern life and is proficient as well as entertaining in expressing them.
I thought this latest episode left a few compelling threads dangling, however, although perhaps that was intentional, leaving the reader wanting more. There was also a significant variation in my attention level, as the narrative went from yawn to laugh-out-loud hilarity.
There were a few passages that were not really critical to the story lines that could have been shorter, in my opinion, but at least this listen was around 11 or so hours instead of the usual 6, so there is access to a longer interlude with the inhabitants of 44 Scotland Street and their cohorts.
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
Nevil Shute's writing is so wonderful! This book, of an ordinary man who finds himself in extraordinary circumstances, and who must respond in extraordinary ways, is just simply a great story with a wonderful (if perhaps a bit predictable) outcome. Somehow, I didn't want the reading to end. . . loved the narration as well as the prose. If you are a traveler, this story takes the listener from Britain to the South Pacific to Hawaii to the lumber industry of the state of Washington. If you have a mechanical interest, this will certainly be of interest as it deals with hobby crafts and industrial applications. As for me, I am neither, but I loved the story just as if I was both a traveler or engineer. Highly recommended.