Years ago, I took up audiobooks to make a long commute more tolerable. Now, I love how a good performance can enhance an already great book.
For some reason, my brain has a tendency to want to believe 'newer' is always better, classic or critically acclaimed works tend to be overrated and consuming anything intellectually stimulating is going to be hard work. Maybe this is a symptom my generation or my upbringing? I don't know.
Then I take a break from the brain candy to pick up something like this, and I wonder how I can keep falling back on such dumb stereotypes. Sure, there are classics and acclaimed works I've had to struggle through and ones that in hindsight, weren't worth the time and energy. This isn't one of those.
I always say that the best fantasy and science fiction create a world you can not just imagine, but almost taste and feel. It's all about the details and descriptions. For an American like myself, who has never been to a place that comes even close to the Africa described in this book, this might as well be a work of fantasy. The best fantasy, too, where the characters are so rich and the experiences are so genuine that when you are reminded at the end of the book that this isn't a collection of autobiographies and journal entries, it comes as a shock.
I can easily recommend this book to anyone purely on the merits of the storyline. However, it is the gift of perspective this book lends that makes me want to buy extra copies to hand to family, friends and strangers.
enjoyed detail of African life with which I am familiar.
characters well developed and interesting.
I have read several of her other novels. love her style. narrator did very well on African pronunciations.
I found this to be a story about a self-righteous, hard-core, overly religious (not spiritual), bigoted missionary, apparently driven by guilt over his experience during WWII, who ruled his family (wife, Orleanna, and four daughters) with an iron fist.
The part about how they managed to get extra stuff to Africa was amusing, one of the few lighter segments. It was interesting how each of the daughters grew into adulthood so differently.
The separation of the chapters was hard for me to follow, due, in part, to the narrator reading at "warp speed" and barely breathing between sentences. It took me several chapters to understand they were chapter breaks and that the different daughters were giving their own version of their lives. I decided to reread the book, slowing the speed. This made it easier for me to follow and comprehend. Also, I jotted down the names of the daughters, making more clear in the scheme of things their personalities as girls, then who they became as women.
I read this book, the way we most often have to, because of school. This book is an immersion of all things Congo. you look up from the end and realize, you too reside in the Congo. If you dont, you might not have read it right.
A Cognitive Science Master's student who loves learning more about his field, but has a great love for literature and science fiction.
One of the best audiobooks I've listened to so far. One narrator with subtle changes to differentiate between characters. Perfect for sisters and their mother.
The different ways each of the sisters describe the same situation is compelling. Especially when Ruth May is involved near the end.
When Adah speaks to her mother who is clutching Ruth May and asks for Help.
Yes. Too many to count.
The thematic content of this novel is amazing. I feel like it is a great counter-thesis to Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness.
I love this book- I read it a few years ago and listened this time. It is probably one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read. At first I didn't love the narrator, as she sounded too much like a teacher to me. But, a few chapters in, I changed my mind. The narration is perfect for this novel. Recommend.
I loved this hard bound book so much that I couldn't put it down and couldn't read another book for a month, because the characters were still so much alive (and I still had to mourn the ones that passed(
I loved this book so much that a year later I bought the audiobook just to hear it in my spare time. Sadly, I couldn't get past the first 10 minutes.
The style of a narrator can make or break a book listening experience. I'm grateful I read it first. This narrator felt pinched and strict and aloof, a disciplinarian. Maybe the author approved of her style, maybe it changes as the story professes, but I couldn't embrace it long enough to get there. Though the tale is tragic, there is so much to love here. I'll say again, try the printed word first on this one.
I tend to be a tough critic and was unsure about this novel due to its subject matter and scope. However, Kingsolver's language is profound. Some of the most affecting, surprising prose I've ever read. The story is both frustrating and triumphant, but it's the writing that steals the show. A masterclass in fiction.