A compelling story with complex characters set against the back drop of the horrors of World War II. The story unfolds with a Hungarian Jewish family and their three boys who set out to make their way in the world. Their progress is hindered by the slowly growing anti-Jewish sentiment which insidiously makes it's way into European thought and policy. The reader is caught up in the struggles and triumphs which ultimately lead to the horrors of the camps, and the amazing strength of the human will to survive. I am prevented from giving this book a five star rating only because of the sordid details of Klara and Andrais' love affair, which occur in the early chapters of the book. The story could easily have stood on it's own without them.
The narrated did an excellent job of using a different speech pattern for the numerous charactors in the book.
Andras Lévi was my favorite character because he was so full of life even face of the misery he faced. He did not loose his humor in face of the enormous hardships he faced.
His narration of the book help me separate the numerous characters of the book.
Andras Lévi. Andras has all the characters that I adore in a person. He was niave, brave, and had a dry sence of humor that help him face his many challenges.
I'd say fairly high on the list.
Nice character development and beautiful prose.
Very good story and characters the author makes you care about. World War II from an aspect I had not read of before, the labor service mainly consisting of Jewish men. Parts of the story were very disturbing but, I am sure, historically accurate.
The story is told through the journey of one Hungarian Jewish family from comfortable assimilation to persecution and devastation at the hands of both the Germans and Hungarians. It is exquisitely written.
It was heartbreaking, describing the ruthless brutality and unfairness of the oppressors. It was rich in both specific details of events, and in the emotional and psychological journeys of the protagonists.
His sensitive reading made each character distinct.
No, though I couldn't wait to get back to it once I put it down.
A superb book. One of the finest books about the Holocaust.
I have not read the print vesion -- loved the audible one.
This is the kind of novel I can get lost in. I miss it now that I've finished listening. I learned a lot about the 2nd World War and how it affected everyday people in Hungary. It is a perfect book for additional novels about the same characters.
I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.
The list is too long to mention all the things I loved. Firstly, the characters were so real and believable. I could see and feel each one of them. Secondly, it was an eye-opener regarding what the Hungarian Jews went through during the second world war. The writing style was also exceptional.
I loved Adras, but I also loved Tibor and Klara. How do you pick your favourite?
I think that Andras and Klara were the best portrayed... which is fascinating since a male voice did both of them. But the intonation during Klara's parts was just feminine enough to make it clear that she was speaking without sounding ridiculous.
Every character was memorable. I can't pick just one.
This was perhaps one of my favourite audio books of all time, behind only Cutting for Stone and the Outlander series.
Julie Orringer clearly has a love of words and a masterly hand for painting word pictures. It's also apparent that she's done a great deal of research into a lesser-known aspect of Holocaust history; i.e., what happened to Hungarian Jews. This aspect of the book is different and should have a particular appeal for anyone who has an interest in the social history of Europe during WW2.
I appreciated this story, but I wasn't fully drawn in. The main characters, Andras and Klara, seemed two-dimensional. In this lengthy novel, there was too much dwelling on their morose love affair for my taste. For no good reason, Andras often imagines that Klara has been unfaithful to him. His emotional immaturity makes Klara's love for him a little hard to believe in completely.
Several side characters tended to be more interesting. Andras's brother Tibor and his best friends, Mendel and Eli definitely fall into that category. I wish more of the book could have focused on them.
A truly successful novel should have some element of humor in it. Even in Holocaust literature, I've read many books that had that element. It's often bitter, dark humor, but humor nonetheless, that made those books rise above the rest of the genre. This book's plot plods on in its dour way from one event to the next, with only one exception. Andras and his friend Mendel collaborate to create three underground newspapers when they are on their various labor service assignments. The excerpts from these papers are satirical and clever, and bring the book to life in those pages.
Despite these criticisms, Julie Orringer's talent is obvious. She has a real work ethic, a love of language and I hope next time around she will present more vivid, compelling characters and tighter pacing. I will give her next novel a try.
I cannot recommend the audiobook, narrated by Arthur Morey. Morey's voice tends toward the monotone and his emphases and emotional content often seemed to me not to be what the auth
This is one of the best books I have ever read. The auther brings to life the old world with all the hopes, sadness and real people.. This book should be made to a movie. The narriator did a fantastic job.
Trite and yammering, full of unnecessary and boring detail, and narrated by one of the worst readers I have ever heard: his voice is grating, he has no ability to effect different voices for different characters...and TOTALLY butchered the large amount of French in the book. It's inexcusable that someone with so little knowledge of or ability to speak a language as common as French should narrate a book like this. Who KNOWS what he did to the Hungarian?!
The author took time to build the story, to let us appreciate each central character, and then to unfold a brutal history of war time without ever losing the sense of telling a human story that had human compassion even in desolate dark times.
Arthur Morey told the story beautifully.