Say something about yourself!
First off, you will be more inclined to like this book if you are the kind of person who routinely does a search that begins with the phrase "Etymology of the word (include your favorite strange word here)..."
Also suitable for the person who peruses the dictionary for fun. And likes a slowly unfolding read.
The primary narrator does a great job catching the lost, slacker tone of the main character, a recent college grad who finds himself in a small New England town working in the deadly unexciting world (at least by this book's description) of dictionary editors.
My main gripe with this is the disconcerting narration provided for the secondary characters.
The main character is, for example, describing a conversation with Mona. When it's Mona's turn to talk, a brand new female voice springs in, says Mona's lines, and then the male voice comes back in to say, "Mona said."
I've never heard an audiobook do this and it's really jarring. I did get used to it and fell into the small mystery of this book. And I do mean small.
I think this book strived to be something like "The Secret of Lost Things." Or maybe even something a little gothic like "The Thirteenth Tale" or even one of Carlos Luiz Safron's book-centric tales. At least in terms of loving books and words.
There are some brilliant moments in terms of prose. There is some seriously good writing here, and the characters are clearly drawn, unique, and even likeable in their unlike-able-ness (yeah, I know I won't find any etymology on THAT one).
All in all, it's a small, nice story, but not great. It's very slow...and I LOVE slow books.
The premise of the story was great and I enjoyed the unusual setting and even liked the characters, but I thought the book lacked drama and suspense. After the first part (14 chapters!), I was beginning to wonder when something was going to happen. Or, as my home-from-college son asked, "Have they found the corpse yet?" It's not a bad story at all, I just missed some excitement. I found the last few chapters interminable, like a sermon that goes on for too long. No one likes to wait for the end!
Really well written and interesting. I started reading the dictionary after hearing this novel about lexicographers and mysterious happenings.
One of the most enjoyed books. I had no particular expectations but .... what a joy.
The story commences with fragments .. like a literary jigsaw in which the full story slowly falls into place. The dictionary references reminded me of The Surgeon of Crowthorne and anyone who loves words and language will find this a great book.
It's difficult to tease out a single scene. The best was probably when it dawned that one of the literary citations had originated in the very office where the characters were located. Then I knew this was going to get more and more intriguing.
Does someone have to die to get a word into the dictionary?
This author deserves great acclaim for a literary triumph.
Blogger of accidental discoveries through books
The author uses an unusual backdrop to this story, that is, lexicography. The building of the story, piece by piece was at a pace just right for me and the characters were given a wholeness which made the story perfect. Excellent work!
Sometimes clues to a mystery may be found in the most unlikely places--even in dictionary entries. This is the premise to this well-paced and engaging story. The 2 protagonists piece together the clues to uncover an old secret. Held my interest right up until the end.
I didn't expect to like this book, as I suspected it would assume I would be fascinated by the dissection of both the dictionary and words. It does both; but only to set the groundwork, and as a secondary musing. I normally don't care for dual character voices, as they never seem to sound as though they were recorded at the same time, or in the same room. However, this carries it off without the annoying pauses where you can imagine the splicing occurs, and isn't as distracting. The depth of the story is in its analogy to the meaning all the characters place on their lives. It almost tries to sound boring at first; but, in spite of yourself, you get caught up in the seemingly whimsical escape from the mind-numbing work of the lexicographers. My only complaint, given it purports to be in all ways grammatical, is that they, like so many authors/editors ignore the correct use of past tense and adverbs. The HEAD of the lexicographers incorrectly uses adverbs such as "drive safe" rather than "safely". Also, they must have missed the class on tenses, as well; as "sunk" is used instead of "sank" and "stunk" instead of "stank". Aside from those editorial faux paux, it is really an intriguing story.
This book may well not be an instant crowd pleaser but is all the better for it. A charming and somewhat eccentric blend of a commedy of manners, a romance and a mystery within the setting of an office of lexicographers makes for a delightful read.
I thought this was a mystery for someone with a love of words written by an author with a love of language.. I find myself strangely disappointed and ashamed of myself for listening to the hype and buying this book, wasting a valuable monthly credit on a book that throws around 4 letter words like a monkey throws poo. Nasty. I'm sad that such a solid and interesting story was ruined by that kind of misuse of the english language. This entire book is about words, the meanings, their uses.... could this author not have come up with other ways to portray the characters as young, cool, modern, and complicated?
I won't be relistening this book or recommending this book sad to say.