Winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and a National Book Critics Circle Award Winner. An excellent book. It is much more than a story of free blacks owning slaves. It is a complex story set in times of American slavery and involves good people, bad people, good people who become bad people, and wonderful things and terrible things happening. The word "Property" is used to describe and call the slaves. An excellent story line, woven in elaborate time warps and beautiful language. Well narrated.
This book is great literature and carries itself along with well-developed characters with whom you will identify -- painfully so at times. This book is attractive for its quality writing, memorable characters and intriguing story line, not for page-turning suspense.
This African-American author's first novel.
Book prizes are no guarantee of a good book, but this book clearly well deserved its awards.
The last ten minutes of the audio is a fascinating interview with the author.
This is one of the books that seems to have a never ending narrative. After about 4 hours I had no real sense of what was occuring other that the comings and goings of many, many people. My wife calls me the "goal oriented" man, and she is correct, as usual. I look for a theme or direction in a book.
Well written and gently narrated, it just never seems to go anywhere. The patient, poetic souls out there will likely enjoy this audiobook, but for me, I shall never know how it ends...
I listen to audio books during exercise and while driving. This book is structured in a complex way, jumps back and forth in time, and has too many characters to count let alone remember. While I respect the high purposes of the author and the prose, such a book is impossible for me to ingest in audio format. Rather, I would recommend buying the book so you can flip back through the pages for reference.
I was very disappointed with this book, the slow pace, the innumerable characters, the flashbacks and flash fowards were confusing. I also felt there was a lack of character development that would explain some of their actions. Although there were some interesting characters, I would not recomend this book. It was very hard to get through.
I completely agree with the other reviewers who said this book was meandering and had too many characters. I loved the premise of the book, but I was so confused trying to make mental notes about which of the approximately 20 characters were related to which and when events happened that it was a major chore to just get through the book. I did enjoy several of the story lines within the book, but the book as a whole lacked cohesion and a sense of purpose.
I expected a lot from this book but stopped listening after about 4 or 5 hours. I just didn't get it. It read like boring non-fiction, I'm from the South and I still didn't get it. I actually fell asleep nearly every time I started to listen. I kept waiting for something to happen but it never did, it was like listening to someone read the encyclopedia brittanica.
First the bad news... The book is hard to follow. There are too many characters (which in itself is not that bad)... but the constant shifting between timeframes and characters makes it hard to follow. It took me until well pass the half way point before I can start to follow it ;-(
The good news is that it is actually a very good story. The characters had a lot of depth; and it provides a good glimpse into the world of slavery.
So at the end of the day, 1 star off for a story that do much bouncing around. Otherwise, could have been a 4 (if not 5 star) book.
I am not the only one (there are three of us who listened to this book) who found this too long and too confusing. The circuitous nature of the story, why did we keep coming back to Henry? The interesting historical references to anchor the ideas helped a bit.
I found this book very frustrating, particularly for an Audiobook. The book jumps from character to character, and from scene to scene, from time to time, and place to place so often, that it never has time to capture one's interest in the characters any particular story line. I tried to give the book a chance by listening for 4 hours, and when it had not tied itself together in an interesting way by then, I finally gave up. Perhaps, if one can bear on past the first four hours, one would be able to "get" this book, and why it would be recommended by anyone. I found it confusing, without any consistent story line that would flow on for more than 5 or 10 minutes. The author has so much interesting material. Too bad it did not gel for me. If you do elect to listen to this, buy the book and make a list of all the characters so that you might be able to follow along - and be prepared for the long haul. Too bad, the author had such interesting material to work with.
Actually 2.5 stars from me - a mixed bag.
This book was highly recommended to me, and I did enjoy it. However, I was annoyed by 2 aspects that some of the other reviewers have alluded to, and I'd like to add my voice to warning you BEFORE you buy. This book desperately needed a good editor. Jones' writing is really good and the plot is impeccable, leading to a wonderful story that I may reread some day. But the good writing is diminished by the fact that an editor never made Jones make decisions about how to best convey what he wanted to convey, whether he wanted to be clear and direct or purposefully convoluted. The result is passages of breathtaking power and beauty amongst a lot of words, not all of which add to the story nor even the narrative style.
I also did not enjoy the reader. I admit that I just said that the author was not always clear where he was going or wanted to go, but the reader didn't help either. I had the impression that I was listening to someone reading the story for the 1st time, unable to put much life or expression into his reading and extremely inconsistent with character voicing (mostly not at all, but sometimes somewhat!)