Barbara Rosenblat has a huge following for her audiobook reading. But in this case she actually spoiled the book immensely for me. Her interpretation of Rene didn't come close to what I felt when I originally read the book. It was over the top and melodramatic. It seemed that she was more interested in her performance than the content or character. Kinda like many people who drag out the singing of the national anthem to show off their voice.
Sadly it seems that this a trend. Having listened to books for more than 20 years I can see it. At first it was a revelation when readers put some drama like an actor into the reading. But it has gone way beyond that. Also some of the readers are playing the same character no matter what book they are reading.
I very rarely stop listening before I finish but I just couldn't go on. Especially since this is such a lovely & deep book.
I was at 5-stars all around for this book right up until the last 20 minutes, during which the author and I had a significant difference of opinions about what should happen next!
The book is very charming, with great humor, characters, and narration. There are moments of Barbara Rosenblat's delivery that are both hilarious and timeless.
Alas, the ending doesn't work for me, but the rest of the book was lovely.
The book is technically very good; the translation is smooth and readable. The narration is more than adequate. THE HOWEVER and SPOILER: I do not want misanthropy in my books and the final chapters read, to me, more of a 'f*** you' than anything else. I do not recommend the book to people I care about and will certainly never read this particular author again. As always, this is a subjective, emotional response to the book which says as much about me as it does the author. And it is the mark of a well crafted book, that ability to evoke a strong emotional response, n'est pas?
I found the story lovely and the written word so eloquent. This was chosen for our book club and many of those who read it (versus listening to the audiobook) did not like it at all. Having two narrators really helped sort out the characters and as always, having someone who knew how to speak the French words correctly was really nice. The story was an amusing and sad portrayal of French upper class life and the references to Parisian idiosyncrasies were interesting as well.
Immigration lawyer in Kansas City. I like Character driven dramas, fantasy (monsters, magic and witches oh my!) and coming of age stories. Favs include: The Book Thief, The Game of Throne series, Harry Potter Series, Dresden Files, Nightside series, anything by Neil Gaimen, 100 Years of Solitude.
This is a charming story about second chances. I loved the narration and the insights of the characters.
This is an example of a terribly poor choice for narration of an audiobook. Such a fabulous book - unfortunately it becomes frightfully annoying and trite given the mistaken interpretation by this narrator. After having read the original in French I was looking forward to hearing the translation. Unfortunately - was extremely dissappointed by this audio version which totally and completely misses the nuance and hope in this story which was one of the best French publications of 2009. Such a shame. So annoying I couldn't finish listening - a first amoung my Audible purchases. What a waste of excellent writing. Needs to be re-recorded.
I cannot remember disliking a book on so many levels! By turns a treatise on philosophies, a naturalistic portrait of the bourgeoisie, a romantic comedy, a coming-of-age narrative and (briefly, and altogether unconvincingly, a Hardy-esque gothic), "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" veers among genres, stopping only to pick up the creakiest cliches from each, before hurtling to its reader-cheating end. I love genre fiction -- the sonnet-like formalism within which infinite changes can be rung. But I ended this book feeling irritated and tampered with. (And yes, I ended that sentence with a preposition, in honor of the two protagonist's fervent worship of grammar.)
I read this book after reading so many positive reviews for it. However I was greatly disappointed as the book is a series of long winded philosophical musings without much plot or character development. The story takes place in a a french apartment building where the concierge develops a friendship with a new Japanese tenant. Part of the book is narrated by the concierge who has a highly developed and unrealistic knowledge of art and literature from philosophy to The Matrix. It is also narrated by a 12 year old girl who lives in the building whose viewpoint is also very unrealistic for a 12 year old. The reader of the concierge part is very good, but the reader of the 12 year old girl part is annoying.