Partial spoiler alert. Barbara Rosenblat's narration was the only thing that got me through this book. Regrettably, I didn't fully hearken to earlier reviews and bought this, but I fully agree with the review that classified the psychologic ruminations of the characters as "drivel," and also with the reviewer who pointed out that for all the investment of time listening, it is difficult or impossible to determine what the point of the book actually was. It had a disappointing ending too, not so much because it was tragic, but because it seemed almost too tackily predictable--perhaps the author bored herself to tears as well and had to end it all quickly.
I very much enjoyed this book, and I thought that the narration was fantastic. It was very philosphical and - to me - had meaning beyond the language on the pages. However, the ending caught me by surprise. Was the author's intent to show that someone like Mme. Michel really could not break out of her class, or ??? It keeps me thinking. How very French.
I managed to finish it but it was a struggle. I never connected with the characters... I didn't care if Paloma killed herself or not. ugh. Two things you should know 1) I don't think I like this "type" of book and 2) I listen to audiobooks in mini chunks of 20-30 minutes and this book would probably have been better served by large listening portions.
I loved this book. The two narrators, the woman and the young girl, are fascinating characters - totally believable, funny, thought-provoking and deeply touching. I really, really cared about them, and I won't forget them. And two readers are two of the best I've heard on audiobooks. At times the story's arc is as eccentric as the characters but stick with it, especially if you have any interest in philosophy, language, Japanese film, commas, the perspective of outsiders, or the meaning of life.
Barbara Rosenblat reads the character of an intellectual and contained Gallic concierge as if she were performing a one woman revue of a gossipy shrew from Little Odessa. The narration is actressy and irritating, brimming full of embarrassingly misused pauses for underlining effect. I regret not going directly for the printed novel.
I don't want to listen to the pretentions and supposedly esoteric musings of this woman, or the girl, although the girl was easier to listen to. I didn't have a problem with the narrators as other people seem to have had. I thought the ending was horrible and sudden. I am shocked this book has been on the NYT best sellers list for months. I can't explain why!
I really wanted to like the girl and the concierge because of their intelligence. But I couldn't relate to them because of the disdain they had for the bourgeois and others who weren't as intelligent and aware as they were. Yes, I understand this is supposed to be a satire but I really had a hard time understanding the need to hide intelligence. I thought there would be some development or awareness, so I hung in there. But after 2 hours, I gave up. I have no use for characters who have no real compassion for others despite their faults. Hello, people! Humans are not perfect but should be admired for some positive aspect of their character.
I couldn't make it through the book. I've only done that once before, stopped mid-way through a book, but listening became too toxic.