I thought I knew where this was going at the start: in what seemed an interesting but conventional experiment, Fowles used the form of the Victorian novel to encompass the unspeakable passions of an early Modern one; that is, it felt like Jane Austen meeting D.H. Lawrence.I liked that part of the novel well enough, and the narration -- crisp and formal in an upper-class English fashion -- complemented it. I'd just finished reading Austen's Persuasion, so it felt all of a piece.
Then, and I do not want to spoil the wonder with too much detail, the novel turns into something altogether different. It leaps stylistically from 1840 to 1915 to 1970 in massive strides, and it rips you from one aesthetic/moral frame to another. It's disconcerting in what it asks of you, but the effect is brilliant: you're asked as a reader to experience the disorientation of its point-of-view character as he too confronts a radically transforming Victorian world view. And Paul Shelley somehow (and subtly) captures that transformation. I think the speed of his narration picks up, but I can't be certain even there. All I know is that his voice ceases to be as comforting and, at the same time as the bottom of the novel drops out, something in the overall sound becomes more insistent, harder to turn off.
As brilliant as all that is, the novel grows even more complex in its multiple attempts to answer the central mystery confronting that character. The book is both provocatively feminist and misogynistic at the same time; it feels as if it's anticipating your responses and then subverting them, too.
I knew the reputation of the book as one of the major accomplishments of the later 20th century, but couldn't know until finishing it that it lives up to it. I could have stopped half way through and admired it. I had to get to the end to realize how extraordinary an achievement it is.
I found the author thoroughly irritating because he kept putting his voice into the story, talking about the writing of it. I'm sure there's some great literary reason for this, but it just kept pulling me out of the story. The storyline captivated me though, and it's stayed in my thoughts. Despite the irritating side lines from the author, this book was beautifully written and written in such a way that what might have been a fairly mundane story was instead transformed into something that felt incredibly personal and evocative. Narration was good, took me a few minutes to get into it but then I was hooked - this seems to be the norm for me with audio books.
If the author had stuck to the story and dropped his increasingly interrupting asides about the victorian period relative to his perspective when he was about to retell the story from another angle. What I originally thought would be a creative read, became a tedious listen and toward the end, I found myself completely tuned out during his diatribes and needed to rewind when I finally tuned back in to discover that the story had finally continued.
No, only from this author.
I would have put the book down by halfway through as the author's interruptions became worse and worse as the book progressed, but the narrator was an engaging reader for me. I don't understand how he managed to read such a tedious book so well.
A good pair of scissors and a hard copy would redeem it for me.
I hate to give negative reviews and I can even enjoy an authors interference in a plot line, but this book was excessive.
Stop interrupting the story with reminders that it IS only a story that he's making up; and make it actually have a storyline that goes somewhere.
Do not waste a credit on this book. It was NOT what I thought it would be and took me at least a month to finish listening to it. I kept thinking that it would make sense at some point, only it never did.
I tend several gardens,Im a mom,I listen to Audible ALL the time.
I could not believe that in a book that is this long, you could have such a huge lack of details about the characters. I spent hours with the characters, but I still dont know them from Adam. I can however describe the dress the heroin was wearing in great detail. This writer is a man who is writing about what and how she does what it is she does, but he failed miserably to make her real or intelligent or anything other than a lying,manipulative,sick,sad and very shallow character. All of this would be fine if he was writing from the point of view that she is all of those things, but he does not, he writes a story where she is a heroin, who is understood by him (not me ) and celebrated. I just could not believe that I had been duped into listening till the end. The last two thirds of the book are so.................long and boaring. I thought time and time again "this book will get good soon, it will shock and enthrall me soon" Needless to say, it didn't. I was told of this book by a very good friend who is a 60 year old man. He swooned over it, Said the author really got into the main characters head (Sarah), now Im left wondering if my friend is actually some intellectual who gets this author in a way that is far deeper than I do, or if he is just like the author "DENSE".If you are the type to analize a character and the motives and the sub plot, then stay far away from this read. If you can get caught up in a book without analyzing or thinking about obvious discrepancies, then this might just work for you. I hope this helps
I chose this when it was on sale, and hadn't seen the movie, but had heard of it, so thought I'd give it a listen. I really didn't enjoy the story...it was complicated, which is OK, but I personally thought it strange that the author inserted himself into the story. And I didn't like the way it ended, which is a personal thing, but ended up feeling disappointed and wishing I had picked a different book. Well, at least now I know...
Nothing could help this book
very good voice
The writing was tedious, unfocused and pompous. The characters were ok, the naration was exceptional but nothing could save this book. I truly despised it. The story could have been told in about three sentences if one eliminated the garbage meandering of the author.
Now I understand why the movie by the same name was so bad. It was based on a a nonsensical group of words with very little character development, no coherent plot, and no middle or ending. This download was offered as a sale item. Now I know why it was on sale; and this from a fan of nineteenth century fiction.