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.
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.