What an imaginative work! It took my thick brain a bit of time to get the picture. I am sure I would benefit from a second reading w/o worrying about who is doing what to whom! This was one of the most creative works I have had the pleasure to try to figure out while enjoying the character struggles that are so much the same for all of us to some degree. It did seem like so segmented chapters put together, but it is a book that I would (do) strongly recommend to friends. Thank you Jenifer
The 13 intertwining characters grow old as we reflect on their lives. Depressing and uplifting as some people get what they deserve and others don't, but interesting and thought provoking. I like the music themes as well.
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
I like the message of this book and the artistry of it... the way the characters are revealed in fits and starts over a period of years, and how we don't really see the logic of how or why they are included until much later. And the message: that life and time are not kind to us and, in fact, are like a goon (thug) who robs us of our youth, innocence and sometimes our success. It is also interesting the way every single chapter is written in either a different style or a different point of view or tone or something to make it stand out from all the other chapters. The problem is that it isn't that compelling , for me anyway, to read because half the time you don't know why things are happening or who a character is, and it just gets annoying. Some chapters were annoying for that reason at the same time you could appreciate the beauty or skill involved in the writing. The power point chapter was pretty boring , BUT it also revealed what happened to Sasha who was one of the main characters so, in a way, it was really satisfying and poignant - and I did appreciate the skill in using that format and managing to get a story across and also make me feel sad, happy, and appreciative at the same time. (Best to read/see/hear the Power Point chapter on J.Egan's website, BTW.) So, for me it was both good and bad. I loved the description of the Uncle Ted who folded his passion in half, and then in half again, and again.... until there was nothing left. A great image. And the chapter about Jules Jones interviewing Kitty was hysterical! Lots of skillful writing, so it wasn't all bad by any means.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
Egan is a talented writer, and I'm glad I picked this one up. The book is less of a novel and more a collection of vignettes about a loosely affiliated group of characters, many (but not all) of whom are connected to the music business in some way. The stories switch voices, perspectives, locations, and decades, but the same themes run beneath all of them -- getting old, getting off-track, finding that the world is passing you by. Most of the pieces in the book are marvels of well-realized characters, poignancy, humor, and subtlety. I liked the way in which characters in one story appear again in later chapters, seen from the point of view of someone else.
That said, I was a little disappointed that the book wasn't a novel. The interconnected histories of the various characters certainly lend themselves to a more traditional narrative arc, and I wouldn't have minded spending more time getting to know Sasha, Bernie, and Scott directly -- the focus on them from different peripheral viewpoints gets to feel a little gimmicky. Still, I can't really judge a work by the story the author chose not to tell. There is something poignant and beautiful about the fleeting connections between each piece, the way each encompasses its own glittering shard of time.
Audiobook note: the narrator is hit-or-miss, nailing some of the many voices in the book but overdoing others. Still, her renditions were competent enough that they didn't get in the way of my enjoyment.
Really struggled to keep going through this one. Most disappointing investment of book time in several years. Just didn't do it for me. Now on to something hopefully better.
I know that this novel won't be everyone's plate of cupcakes, but I found it exciting to listen to, especially after the first couple of chapters when I cottoned on to the structure. (This wouldn't have been an issue with a physical book.) Shifting points of view, multiple narrators, timelines that extend into the past and into the future: love it or hate it, we're living in a post-modern world:) Egan does a great job at keeping all the balls in the air, and providing sufficient clues to the reader as to time, place, and who did what to whom. Her characters are complex and flawed and exasperating at times, but I found their stories interesting, and I enjoyed Egan's darkly humorous view of our times in America. The narrator does a nice job, and my only complaint was a confusing sound effect in one of the later chapters, which, again, wouldn't have been an issue if I had a page, electronic or paper, in front of me.
Oh, how I tried to get through this. Hated the reader, with her breathy whisper and heartily fake male voices. Hated the pretentious writing. All I can say is that I saw a young and fatally hip guy reading this book on a crowded subway who tried to beat an elderly woman to an empty seat. He seemed to be enjoying it....
Like nothing I have ever read or listened to. A series of short stories that are sometimes related to one another - each remarkably different and thought provoking. Although there is a general theme of sad, self-absorbed, and disconnected people, most of them are engaging and interesting. The narration of Ortega is very good.
While the author brilliantly manages to switch between voices, decades, perspectives and writing styles, the narrator doesn't manage to keep up. Ortega simply doesn't have the range necessary to pull a book like this off. Would have been much better if read by a larger cast, as was done in
Let the Great World Spin by Colum Mcmann
Lover of historical fiction. I have turned to audiobooks to supplement scare reading time, amidst a busy job and parenting.
I stuck with this book for several chapters but finally dropped it. This seems like one of those highbrow award winners that lacks a good story. This may be judged to be top notch in terms of craft (I note that other reviewers admire how the story comes together... but I would have needed to get to the last chapter to understand that). I didn't feel like listening to a whole story I didn't find interesting to admire the job Egan does tying these stories together. I put this in the same category as Franzen's book "Freedom" - too much navel gazing. I read to enjoy and learn. Apart from the opening chapter about the kleptomaniac, from whom I learned a lot, neither was happening here.