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.
The two leads. Both of them insufferable. I endured listening for 90 minutes, against my better judgement. I knew after the second chapter this book was a poor choice.
Little bit crazy but prefer the term eccentric. I am a recluse by nature so I live for my books and the friends I find within their pages.
I read this book because it was recommended to me and I loved it. It is a thinking persons book not for those looking for an escape from reality. Smart, funny and very sad. Characters you become invested in as you follow their journey. Have purchased 3 copies and sent to friends for christmas presents.
I do recommend this book. The characters are well drawn and the setting is vivid. It is easy to listen. The task of the three protagonists is, I'd say, to learn to reveal themselves and while they are not sweet or charming exactly, the result is a bitter-sweet and charming tale.
Possibly the ending.
Couldn't read the book, but enjoyed the character that the performances audio gave it.
The readers made the story transform my world.
I am in the middle of Chapter 3, and although I found the musings of the concierge interesting and intriguing at first, listening to her micro analysis of everything in her life - from the placement of a comma to the death of her spouse, is exhausting. And her disdain for the "upper classes" is tiresome. She definitely needs a hobby. I will put the book aside and try again, because I do enjoy the other characters.
This was a good one to listen to because of the French words and expressions. Barbara Rosenblat was at her best. Cassandrea Morris had a great English accent and yet her French sounded convincing to me.
A Sweet story with good thoughts about life and people. They would be philosophizing and then say something very earthy which was quite out of place and very funny. I liked the characters and the ending was surprising and poignant.
An enjoyable listen. It would have been better if I how know more about philosophy.