The pace is a bit slow, but the detail and language is quite lovely. Interesting thought processes between characters, though possibly unrealistic in some ways. I found the different narrators comfortable in their transition between voices. Easy to pick up between car trips.
This first half of this novel is all about two people who need each other that keep missing each other as they work hard at hiding from everyone else. Paloma and Madame Michel are hard to like at first, both very intelligent but alienated and snobbish in their own way as they judge the people around them. It isn't until the second half of the novel, with the appearance of the wonderful and gracious Mr. Ozu, that they come alive and connect-- and so does the novel for the reader.
I really loved this novel, even as I admit that I mentally checked out during some of intellectual discourses of Paloma and Madame Michel. There is a scene in which Paloma is having tea with Mr. Ozu and blatantly mentions to the reader that she is not even listening to what he is saying, but that being with him, the person, is a wonderful feeling. That is exactly how I felt with this book--I didn't always listen to the lecturing, but I developed a huge amount of affection for the characters. I also loved the sound of Barbara Rosenblat's voice and loved her performance, and that of Cassandra Morris. Highly recommend this book.
The narrators are wonderful, particularly Barbara Rosenblat. The philosophical musings & literary references go on longer than desired, but because the fundamental story is so good, you'll find yourself recommending not only the book but the audio version. I don't speak French, so the audio version was so much more delightful because I could hear the pronunciations correctly.
The good are too good, the bad are unredemable. The philosophy is wonderful. Barbara Rosenblat, as always, is sublime, and Cassandra Morris is very good.
... and not in a good way. All of the references to War and Peace made it dreary. The mention of several philosophies made it boring. Rene's character was, as others have mentioned, melodramatic (or, possibly, just very French).
The story is compelling, though, and Paloma's and Ozu's characters are charming. Unfortunately, for the listener, Rene's character carries most of the narration.
It was a little bit strange reading this book, because although the characters have really clever insights, you don't always understand why they think in such a strange way. Both characters are well-narrated, but a bit pretentious, I felt. I only started to accept the book more when a French friend of mine explained how some of the behavior in the story was typical of French people. Lots of really great moments in the book, but I absolutely hated the ending and what it implies. Still, I am glad I read it.
This is an audiobook that I really, really enjoyed, and I've been listening to excerpts since I finished it. I loved the two narrators. I thought it was beautiful.
It's a translation, and the English is beautiful. I thought it was funny and sweet, and I highly recommend it.
This is one of the few audiobooks I couldn't stomach. I am going to read it, instead. The narrators are inappropriate. Barbara Rosenblat (who I think is terrific, usually) sounds like a crabby old yenta. She does not sound the least bit Gallic. Cassandra Morris is completely off tone. She sounds like a character in "Clueless." -- a Valley Girl with no idea how to pronounce correctly in French. Paloma has a much loftier opinion of her intellectual prowess than is portrayed by her thoughts and actions.
She sounds like an ordinary snotty know-it-all teenager to me. I have a feeling I will like it in print when I can be free of bad narration.