I bought this book because it showed up on Daily Deal. I have looked at its description many times in the past, but it didn't give me a clue as to what it is really about. One of the best books I have read in last 10 yes. Philosophy has never been presented in a more palative form!
I didn't like any of the characters in this book. The concepts of the novel were presented as lofty intellectualism, when in reality they were little more than subjects addressed in my introductory philosophy classes at university.
What is this genre? Drab? This is not the usual kind of book that I read. It was a book club requirement. and I would not gravitate to something like this in the future unless compelled by some outside force.
Acceptable, non-invasive, unremarkable.
Anything with the self appointed autodidact apartment manager. OR the self important over valued teenager.
No- because it did not move me, and was not memorable. The setting was interesting, being Paris, but the setting was not a big enough part of the book: no descriptions. The ending was a bummer.
The language. It was a beautiful story to listen to. It's actually fairly astonishing, for a translation to have been so deftly handled!
I thought Barbara had the absolute best range, ready to carry her character through the terrific transition. She was wonderful. Cassandra Morris drove spikes through my ears.
I really didn't like it - I was frustrated and annoyed - for the first third of the book. I detested all the characters. I was so put off by their judgment and disdain for everyone around them. I really had to battle through that, and was pleased to eventually see the story develop so that I could understand that.
I never did really like the 13-year-old angst or buy into it, but the rest of the story was terrific.
While the narrators were very good, the story wasn't something I could finish. It just didn't work for me despite really wanting to like it. I abandoned this one.
Readers were fine. Story, plot, and character development were sorely lacking.
The entire first book. Nothing consequential happened until the last couple chapters.
Lacking protagonists and scenarios which incited change in main characters. No significant change in setting. Plot was drawn out for no apparent reason.
This is the kind of styles I like: good pace, cerebral, well-documented, meaty, mind-bending.
An interesting experiment, this a blend of many flavors:
- part social commentary, the way of life and futility of the French bourgeoisie,
- part coming-of-age, the life of young but spunky Paloma.
- part philosophy, the inner thoughts of the intellectually muscular Renee
- part romance, the nascent love story between a concierge and a handsome older gentleman.
I so much this had worked. The main characters have flesh, the environment of the concierge in a high-standing building has potential and the writing is lively. Yet, in the end, the blend is not successful mainly because these four main topics do not blend in any meaningful way. I'll give here a few illustrative examples.
1. Renee's romance is entirely taken from the booklet of pink literature: the poor misunderstood maiden, the rich handsome man, the artificial crisis, etc. (and of course, on top of this, the ingenuity toward these affairs that only a pink novel could come up with).
2. The thoughts about culture or philosophy often stated by Renee and sometimes by Paloma have absolutely no connection to the rest of narrative, and they mostly appear as completely random thoughts that could have just been placed in any order, or even outside of the book.
3. Whether coming-of-age or social commentary, the intrigue is completely static. The entire character set do not change, at all. They remain true at the end to what they were at the beginning.
Finally, to complete this disappointment, it becomes quickly apparent that there are only two characters that exist in the novel, the rest being mere reflections. Now, that would be fine until, after very little time reading, one realizes that Paloma and Renee are just the same character. It just does not ring true.. So much potential for a great book wasted by poor writing!
Story has an interesting format: older woman and young girl expostulating on life. Voice acting was good. But I thought it was somewhat pretentious and I got bored.
I'm not ruining the plot here b/c this is in the first few pages, but it's about a suicidal 9 yr old girl and her boring landlady. One of the worst books ever!
The performance is unbelievably annoying due to the grating and obnoxious voice of the child narrator. I'd rather shoot myself than listen to this girl ever again.
I'm not turned off from the genre but I'll be sure to be more careful about which narrators I choose.
Mostly the language I found pretentious which marred what might otherwise be an engaging story.