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.
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.