Anthony Powell fans, I guess
Nothing. It seems like it was a great book for the times, but is now irrelevant, to me at least.
I didn't listen past the first hour.
The narrator kept me listening, but the story couldn't sustain me.
Won't be listening to Anthony Powell again, but would like the same narrator reading something else.
People who like traditional British understatement and detachment.
I can't think of one single exciting incident the main character experienced. He sounded like wallpaper. While the background could potentially provide some interesting characters and stories, the main character appears to be detached from everything and everyone - so the characters are not really developed. Perhaps with the same backdrop the story/plots could have been developed better and made more interesting with a more animated author.
Simon Vance is excellent here as always. I imagine I completed the book because of my previous good experiences with him. Alas the book did not pick up.
The main character, Nick Jenkins. His detachment (since he's the one telling the story)blunted my appreciation of the potentially more interesting lives of others around him.
Please take down the first 2 -3 comments. Completely misleading. I bought the book because of them and I feel misled.
I would be so glad to dive into this series, it is covers a central part of my history and includes social and emotional and political understanding. I'm aware of the people who lived this season of our history slipping over the horizon with all they lived and knew, as the decades pass. And they lived it without self pity or over-analysis, so a considered and nuanced understanding of life and it's meanings then is valuable to us now.
Why I stopped listening was from a sense of irritation, it felt arrogant and pointless. This is a clever book, intelligently written; for me, though, truly good reading and intelligent writing naturally include a dimension which adds value to the reader.Cynicism without the leaven of love for the protagonists, as I see it, undervalues the human condition which I love.
I'm a geologist and I use Audible books to while away long hours on the road... My pickup truck is my reading room!
Anthony Powell never manages to raise English public school angst to the intensity that Waugh does. Too much rumination, too much action left latent, to little drama. The only thing that recommends this series is that Audible's library of unabridged Evelyn Waugh novels is so inadequate....
As usual, Simon Vance's narration is excellent.
Disclaimer: I was not able to finish the book, It might have gotten better later.
This book might be enjoyed by someone who likes meandering plotlines and well thought out descriptions of things told with a nostalgic tone. It's literary fiction and if you just want to sit back and take in some poetic language and experience a scene, it might be fine.
If, like me, you like things to actually move the plot forward, this isn't for you. This is a little like On the Road if Kerouac's main character had been an English schoolboy.
Lack of movement. Lot of great language but it was just boring. There's a character called Stringum, and because my attention drifted for a moment I briefly thought it was a girl and that made the story a little interesting because it would make for a nice love interest. But no. All the characters are boys and none of them are gay as far as I could tell before I stopped listening.
I don't know what the main character wants, I can't see any sort of conflict. There is something about somebody's uncle that has gotten in trouble with the law for some reason, but no one seems all that concerned, it's just seems like a topic of dinner conversation. I might suspect that I'm just not English enough for this, but I listened through Bleak House and didn't get bored so I don't think that's it.
I think overall the emphasis in this book is in depicting how things look and feel, and not so much on story.
Simon Vance is mostly a narrator. It's been a while since I listened but I don't remember him doing any voices.
An abridged version might be better.
This understated book is the first of a series that grew on me and became enthralling. Written in form of an autobiography, it tells the life of an author from his boyhood after the first world war through his youth in school and at Oxford, his military service during the second world war, and afterward through his old age in perhaps the late 60s. The story is an assemblage of small moments in his relationships, in the military and otherwise mainly with artists, musicians and authors. One character recurs throughout, acting as a sort of archetypal figure of trage-comedy.
Some may find the pace too slow; there is little action, but give the books a chance. I found myself feeling as if I was there, too, seeing, hearing, feeling, even smelling, life as it was in England then. Taken as a whole, it has a mythic force. I found it haunting and well as amusing. Simon Vance achieves a tour de force of portraying widely diverse characters completely convincingly, enabling me to become immersed in the story.
I recommend listening to rather than reading these, at first, because the various accents of the characters are key to the story. Being unfamiliar with British class society, and their various accents, I would have lost a great deal if I had started with the books.
I got through about the first half of Part I. It introduced a number of interesting characters, but I couldn't discern any real story line.
Did I give up too soon?
I am afraid I have not finished this book, to hard to get in to it is slow and monotonous, 3 hours in and the book is going no where, bought on the recommendation of the narrator in a review. never again.
Listen nearly every day to an audiobook.
The print version of this book received rave reviews on other sites. Based on the reviews, I did not expect the book to be plot focused. I usually love British classics. Unfortunately, Simon Vance's performance seemed uninspired by the novel. I could not tell whether Vance, or the author, did not develop the characters into memorable individuals. I have listened to a number of well-acted audiobooks by Simon Vance. In this performance, I did not lose myself in his performance of the novel, and instead, found his distinctive voice a distraction.
I really really tried. I listened to over 13 hours, I even started over once thinking I was just not paying attention. I couldn't finish it. There is no plot. The characters are boring. I love long books. I love series. I love historical fiction. I hated this book and I have powered through some long slow starters and mediocre books before, but I just couldn't do it. I really wanted to love this book. I can't even say I liked it or it was "okay" I have over 600 audiobooks in my library and this is one of three that I just couldn't finish. It's dreadful! I rarely write reviews, but I needed to warn others to stay away!