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.
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 love that this book takes a very quotidian situation - housesitting & petsitting - and turns it into white-knuckle-level high drama. In that way the writing reminds me of the "44 Scotland Street" series by Alexander McCall Smith, though "Wooden Floors" goes into much more detail and is augmented by heavy doses of black humor. In fact, found myself laughing out loud - some of the situations were written so as to be so amusing I had to actually stop running in order to get the most out of the hilarious visuals.
If this was all about daily dysfunction, or Murphy's Law, Laurel & Hardy style, that would be enough, but there is character learning and intellectual growth, with exploration of maladaptive personality quirks thrown in.
The book also brings to mind the Mark Twain quote (or was it Oscar Wilde?): "I've had a lot of problems in my life, most of which have never happened."
Loved reading and listening to this!
My sister gave me this series of books (printed) years ago, and I never got around to reading them. I think it was because the cover art looked so pompous. However, in searching for titles read by the estimable Simon Vance, I came across them, and thought I would give a listen.
I am so glad that I did. I love the writing, which is witty, literate, and interesting. I love the narration. Simon Vance is one of the best vocal actors around, with the ability to create specific individual voices for a multitude of characters.
As others have said, the plot is dilatory, but what do you want from an epic that spans the greater part of the 20th century from the point of view of a callow youth as he, along with the century, grows and develops.
I will definitely purchase the next three sections--though I am stretching it out over a few months, because already I don't want it to end.