While I understand the grand sweep of black history thing, the resulting book struck me as more of a soap opera consisting of a collection of dramas – most of which do not stand on their own. I found myself wishing the book would just finish up and hoping that there might be some redemption in the end.
To make matters worse, there were shocking production issues with this audio book. Much of download 2 is haunted by sibilants, and there are 2 places where the narrator corrects herself and starts over.
On the positive side, the narrator is generally excellent. Miles is very easy on the ear, and it's easy to follow the characters within a conversation. OTOH, she doesn't have a large enough repertoire of male voices to cover all of the characters in the book. Several males ended up with the same narrated voice. Her singing is a mixed bag. It was strongest earlier in the book and weakest with the opera.
I'm a country potter, gardener, flute player and tin tinker living with my husband, an electrical engineer & cabinet maker.
The performance of narrator, Robin Miles, is wonderful. Her many voices and singing add so much that I could never put into my head by reading it myself. The story is long but I'm sorry that there are times where 10 years pass in a paragraph. I want more.
It's well written. Very well written and that's a treat compared with some of the books recently read such as Pillars of the Earth and Kindred.
The women characters can be foolish, especially as young people, but many are admired by their fellow characters in the book while the reader also finds them strong. The men seem to start strong and then either run out of drive, die young, or suffer from self abuse. Only Deacon, easy to hate and hard to forgive, seems to transform into a stronger person.
I really enjoyed the strong female characters and Robin Miles' beautiful and versatile singing.
When Lizzie's father sold his farm and left his family. The banker's treatment of the sale made me sick.
When LIzzie helped children escape the Nazi's in France.
I thought it was well titled as it was about generations of women and the mostly poor choices in men. They were almost all singers and performers, but had many heartbreaking experiences throughout their lives.
I really liked this book but would have liked it better if they wrote more about each character and either made the book longer, or wrote more than one book. There were too many characters, especially toward the end. It was hard to develop emotions for some who were in the story for such a short time.
First, Robin Miles gave an excellent narration. Not only reading the story well, but she has a beautiful singing voice and was able to give life to the music in the story. Unfortunately the editors of the audio didn't do a great job and there are a few instances where comments while recording are still in the audio track.
Now to the story. It seems the characters in the story rarely get a break. And to be honest, it was just too much of a bad thing over and over again. There were also missing pieces where I was left wondering what happened, such as in the sale of the farm property. I needed back story on why they weren't paid. There were other gaps and occurrences which left too many holes for me and made some of the character's actions implausible. Too many love at first sights, too many occurrences with no foundation.
I don't know how this audio edition compares to the print version since I have not read the print version. I can only comment on the audio version which was absolutely stunning! The story can alive with clarity interest that heightened the images in my mind. Robin Miles did a great job of reading and singing enhancing an already engaging story. The collaboration of Shange with her sister Bayeza was brilliantly written in one voice. My only regret is that I did not
I especially liked the deeply developed characters and the several generational storyline.
Phat Girl Slim
This was a long book, but it didn't seem that way. The time just flew by. I was a little sad when it ended. There were a lot of characters, but I never got confused about who was who because each character had a life of his/her own.
The little history lessons were a nice touch. I can tell that a lot of research went into this book. I especially enjoyed how the lives of the fictional characters intertwined with real life historical figures and real life celebrities.
I came across this book after listening to Robin Miles read "Half of a Yellow Sun" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She did such a brilliant job reading that, I looked for more books read by her. She really brought this wonderful story to life. Her voice is pure magic!
The narrator brings the characters to life, the descriptions of people, places and time periods are very good, the main characters are interesting and the story captures your attention. There are some slow spots, but it's worth staying through to the end.
Yes. Overall this is a good story and the narrator makes it even better.
Her ability to make the voices clearly distinct and capture accents and dialects make the story seem more real. She does an excellent job switching between genders and brings the songs to life. I wasn't expecting singing and she was very good.
Osceola to listen to his dreams about the future.
There are a few editing errors - the narrator starts to read a sentence, says something quietly about starting over and reads the sentence again.
Mary E. Griffin
It was difficuly to understand the dialect in the beginning. Some problems following all the generations as one generation would leave off and another start! I often replayed section to understand, but what a great story!
It's long and normally I like long books, but this one felt pasted together without much quality control. Some memories, some history, some social history - I don't regret having listened, but I don't feel I would have lost anything valuable if I hadn't. I did like some of the characters and cared about them, but was uncomfortable with parts of the performance. (One of the characters is (apparently) a talented opera singer - but the narrator isn't one and it left me, as I said, "uncomfortable.") The story covers a large swathe of African American history but I don't feel I learned a whole lot.
After I listened to the interview of the authors at the end of the audiobook I understood why the story seemed so drawn out and sometimes disjointed. It was written in "sections" by the two sisters so their styles differed. The characters were drawn in great detail then just disappeared from the story. The narration was excellant and listeners get to enjoy the singing parts as well. The story is fascinating, the women interesting, the history relevant, but as one of the authors said, "It could have been at least three novels". It is sad that the authors came to the conclusion that any woman who followed her dreams had to give up on her personal life and other women gave up their dreams for a man and family.