Retired to mountains of California. Sell on eBay as Prsilla. No TV. Volunteer in wildlife rehab. Knit, sew or embroider while listening.
Some people had a hard time with this author jumping back and forth in time, linking up all the people. I did at first, thinking, Oh, gosh, now who is this? And what color are these people? And what relationship? There are long scenes in which you simply follow one character. When I found myself not paying enough attention, I just backed up or moved to a different activity for awhile. I have only listened once -- with several back-ups! I want to get the print book. I found Edward P. Jones through the recent marketing trick in which authors told about their own favorite authors. I sifted and took notes, and came out with paydirt like this! I am pursuing African-American authors for new personal reasons. I called the suicide hotline one night recently and a man answered. I told him, "I'm going through something absolutely outrageous and it reminds me of what black people have put up with for a long time and while I'm white, if you're black, I think you can really help me!" A man's soft voice answered, "I am black." I wanted to know how black people cope, how they get up in the morning and feel hopeful. How they deal in their own interior lives with hoo-rah and nonsense coming from unworthy people who nonetheless are in positions of power, people jerking us around in our immediate personal lives, little Nazis. The conversation we had was extremely helpful, freeing me to do the most healing and beneficial thing for myself because "we could come back in ten years and maybe nothing would have changed!" This seems to me at first like giving up. Then I realized I was going into tailspins trying to write letters and getting involved in situations not my own immediate business. Emotional energy is limited.So let's save it for the poetry, music, color.
Actually, this book inspires me to do some writing, myself. Mr. Jones has a wonderful writing style, telling what a character was thinking about, who did what, who said what, but not many adjectives or even adverbs. When shocking things happen, they simply happen. This makes them more shocking. I have not read Hemingway in a while, but Mr. Jones is spare like Hemingway. And yet he pulls together a rich and colorful "known world". I see patterns of intense jealousy when some people show tremendous talent as well as good work ethic. Still happening! Strong women and weak women. Hierarchies based on energy, intelligence, inspiration -- and color. Men and women praying for all they are worth. The woman weeping as she milks the wonderful cow. The bride who is given a slave girl for a wedding gift and never actually frees her, despite saying she is against slavery! The good white man who had blackouts and might have lived longer except for a bad tooth. The ordinary house with a stairs that didn't creak and the woman living there who always had a tablecloth -- that came from intelligence, industry and refinement. I relished the way a few people got away to fresh vistas and to un-dreamed-of joy and fulfillment.
I've sent for this author's two short story collections in print because I don't do so well listening to stories and I have a huge wish list anyway. I do hope this author is percolating another good book!
I found Kevin Free a perfect narrator for this book and many others -- I have him neck and neck with Humphrey Bower, another favorite. He can do Irish and white gentlemen and low-life truly evil good ol'boys and sweet black people and uninspired black people. The reading is seamless. You forget he's reading. Great clarity, no mispronunciations. I had to google his name . . . oooh, dimples too! Thank Heaven we live in a time when talent and industry can be recognized, enjoyed and rewarded.
I am happiest with a story in my ear. I earn my living as a strategist and work hard as a mom of 2 boys. I'm 45, mixed race, Black & Jewish.
No, I don't think so.
My husband absolutely loved reading this book, which is why I got it. I think the story is a really intriguing one, but I just couldn't keep up with all of the characters and the plot line while listening to it. I also found the voices that the narrator used really annoying. You also have to be emotionally prepared for the subject material, and as an African American woman, this was hard for me.
The voices of the characters just grated on me. I don't know if it's possible to use two actors -- one male and one female -- to narrate a book, but I think in this case, that would have been ideal.
The plot of this book and the characters are complex and subtle enough to completely immerse you in their world which feels so real and compelling. The level of detail makes the story extremely rich without bogging it down at all. A powerful exploration of human nature.
When this book started I was captured within the poetic descriptions and rich visuals the words conjured, but by about half way through I was wondering if there was ever going to be a point of any kind. Worse still I realised I had actually heard it before some time ago and had managed to forget the entire experience, something I didn't think was possible for me with any book.
I found myself board and desperate for something exciting to happen. It didn't.
This is a rich and moving story of the impact of slavery on the people in a small area of Virginia. It makes no moral judgements, just lets the characters speak. Yes, there are many characters and plotlines but each tells an important aspect of a tale that is far more than the sum of its parts. Very highly recommended.
But I just couldn't grab hold of this story. The author has a wonderful unique way of writing and I certainly appreciated that, but oh goodness... too elongated for me...at least for now. I lasted 2 hours and had to move on to something more contemporary. I will come back to this book because I realize it is a worth while read. But for now I favor stories that are so compelling I just want to lie in bed, close my eyes, and do nothing else but listen.
If you are looking for light, simple reading - don't read this book.
BUT, IF YOU WANT a truly quality read that gives you insight into a world you might never have known, you HAVE TO READ!! It's got depth of characters, love, action, adventure, fear, worry .... and it makes you think about today.
This book is challenging but well worth the effort. It is beautifully written, but the style may take some getting used to. It's very "stream-of-consciousness" - and very much the way most people talk while telling a story about something that happened in their lives. It's disturbing and thought-provoking and one of the best, most original books that I've read/listened to in years. The narrator is perfect.