I liked listening to the book until the end. The story was well written and I eagerly anticipated the final revelation of how everything would come together. After such lovely detail and insight into the characters' minds during the first 13 hours of the book, it was a great letdown that the ending was so understated and fast. I felt locked out of the characters' experiences when Dubus shifted to an overview style.
I should have paid attention to the previous reviews. This book is boring. The diatribes of the terrorists were of absolutely no interest. The stripper but good girl is so clich?. The only character that held my attention in the slightest was A.J. This book just dose not compare with the House Between Sand and Fog. Not even close!
i am only about half way, and find myself looking forward to getting back into the story.
Characters who are complex, real and you care about what happens to them. A plot that moves along and keeps the listener in suspense.
I kept listening thinking it was going to come together but it never did.This book has no purpose, the characters are uninteresting and the writer has you in each charaters head and they think and say the same things over and over and over again.
What I especially didn't like was the little sound effect that was used everytime a person was supposed to be speaking on a phone, or calling from outside, or listening to a tape. It was ridiculous to have the reader suddenly sound like he was reading into a voice changer so we would know that the conversation was taking place on the telephone.
I did not like anything about this book.
Here is a lovely book about unlovely people - flawed people, living fairly mundane lives. Ever wonder about the motivation that led a person to make a poor decision with terrible consequences? That is, in part, what this novel explores.
The well-developed characters - from a woman who must bring her child to work when her regular babysitter is hospitalized (it happens to many of us, but in this case, 'work' is a strip club) to a man who honestly believes that what he is about to do as one of the hijackers in the 9/11 terrorist attack is a holy act - are believable if not likable. The multiple storylines are thought-provoking and are, for most of the characters, stories of growth, change and redemption in sometimes surprising ways.
Mr Dubus doesn't overlook detail nor does not dwell on or exploit the horror of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. When he writes so intimately from the female perspective, one could forget the author is male. While the character of the terrorist is not a sympathetic character, he is drawn so well that we come to understand that he is a multidimensional human being, capable of love and fear, craving the approval of his family and his spiritual leaders.
The narrator, Dan John Miller, is to be commended. His well-modulated voice conveys just the right amount of emotion without inserting himself into the story. His accents - particularly when he's reading the role of the southern men - are genuine. I plan to sample some of the other books he has narrated.
Beyond boring, characters that are the ultimate losers and who do nothing to change your view of them, an author (if I may use that term loosely) in love with his own prose. Run for your life and do NOT bother with this.
The reader isn't too bad except he doesn't know how to pronounce "Moet" instead saying mo-ette. About the 20th time he mispronounced it I wanted to slam my iPod through the floor.
I wish I had known how dreadful this was, I would have saved my money. It's been sitting in my iPod for 2 years. I should have let it sit, unlistened to, and turned on some music instead.
I also loved House of Sand and Fog, but read that book instead of listening to the audio version so I don't know if that made a difference. I found the story somewhat interesting and once I got into it, I wanted to see it through. I do agree with many of the other reviewers...I did not like any of the characters and although I found the story somewhat interesting, I didn't really find myself very interested in what happened to any of them. I thought the narrator was okay, but I really disliked the way he narrated for the women. He made them all sound exactly alike, whiny, and the although the dialogue may have been written well, the way he emphasized certain words and tried to convey emotion made most of the female dialogue sound fake, contrived and not believable.
This book really felt like a waste of time. All of the characters are uninteresting, average, everyday people, including the highjacker. They're self-absorbed and whiny and it is very difficult, from the first moment, to really care what happens to them. The whole book felt like I was watching some yokel being interviewed on the news and feeling embarrassed to be watching it. The use of September 11th as a backdrop feels cheap, given the shallowness of the characters.
The narrator was okay, though he did make the women awfully whiny, though I never could decide whether that was his fault or the author's.
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This is a favorite author of mine, he can really involve me in a character and story line no matter how diverse.I find myself caring about a struggling underachiever as well as a failing widow or a devout Moslem. This story reminded me of Spike Lee's "Do the Right thing" Everyone doing their best and the results vary from devastating to redeeming.