Avid reader of classics and fiction, history and well-written genre novels. Music lover and huge audiobook fan.
Read this for a second time after passage of a decade. Hadn't remembered how depressing the story was, and how frustrating the characters, but was stunned by how very deeply down the book made me feel without allowing me to separate from it. I had to keep reading. The prose is beautiful and continues to draw you in for even the saddest and most absurd developments. There is a line in this book that i love about how can one even stand when you don't understand how difficult another's life can be. It is such an amazing and critical line that it stays after with me long after I have finished the book. THat is why I read. I want to imagine how difficult it is to live someone else's life because that understanding makes life easier to live for me. I found this an amazingly honest and compassionate book despite how very uncompassionate it starts out.The reader is excellent although the woman's characters got sort of high-pitched voices that can be really irritating.Excellent narrator and interpretation. Highly recommended
This ranks in the middle 50%. I went on forever with drawn out sub plots. I identified with the main character and that made it painful. I'll try another Franzen book and see f I can get through it without getting frustrated.
That George Guidall was the reader.
You know, that's a hard one for me to answer. EVERYTHING that George Guidall reads comes to life. It's quite amazing. The way that he can truly separate one character from another; the way that he does wormen just makes him the very best in this art form..I have reached a point in my audio book listening experience that has me looking for books that he has read, no matter that I have no idea about the author or plot. I felt the same way about Muller and sorry that he has passed and there will be no more.
Al's infirmity got to me. I'm his age.
Keep 'em coming.
Second book I listened to by this author. He has a lot of observations and definite opinions on certain issues i.e., religion, politics, sex, the environment, etc. His characters have a lot of depth. I like the fact that he is such an observant writer in the sense that he really gets into detail with the characters, and also includes a variety of topics and kind of goes off into tangents and works them into the story. Feel he is getting his opinions out there through his books; different from most authors that just want to tell a story. Bottom line would recommend reading to see if you like his style. His other book I read was Freedom.
Say something about yourself!
Usually the unabridged version of any book is the best one- -however, after listening to the abridged version of this book, which was 9 hours long, I saw there was a new unabridged version. Of course I thought I had missed a ton of material since the unabridged book is 12 hours longer - so I listened to the unabridged version, which was 21 hours long - I've got to say the additional 12 hours did not add much substance to the book. There was some value in that explanations of some of the events were more understandable, but overall it really was not worth it. Both versions are good, but I would recommend the abridged -it gets you there without all the "fillers"-
The book is a masterpiece of the understanding of human emotions, but also of all the secret motivations that drive our daily lives- -we all have our own agenda's- I applaud the author on his incredible insight.into the human heart and his ability to translate those feelings with such skill.
By the way, the narrator of the Abridged Version is the very best to listen to- he hits the perfect mark everytime on all characters and just the right pauses and tempo!
"Listening with my other ear"
I am not sure if I will ever listen to or read another Franzen work, but we shouldn't say never
I love Mr. Guidall's work, usually, and here as the voice of the older couple he is great (and even the younger men), but I just didn't care for his voice for the women. It was hard for me also because their are no chapter breaks in the audio book and because of this and the fact that Mr Guidall's voice really didn't show the changes, it was often confusing.
I think this gentleman is an incredible writer, but sometimes that isn't enough. I really hated the characters and everything about them, I would have loved just one person in which I could relate, but this whole family is perverted and sad! There wasn't one I rooted for except maybe the young book reader. I don't mind a few scenes of passion or whatever you would like to call them,or characters that are harsh with their language if the characters stay true to their form. But, good lord, I finally found myself saying out loud, "COME ON", "Geesh", Get A Room! When a writer is an incredible word smith but is self indulgent, for me, this can makes for a awkward read. Some things are better left to the reader's imagination. This kind of writing, to me, is like the gratuitously made movies in Hollywood today. A little go a long way. And that's my two cents worth
funny, annoying, sad
I'm 10 years late to the party but will always be glad I came. This story creates a scenario where the pressures of adult life are squeezed by the reponsibility of aging parents . . . and poor/selfish choices.
The characters are infuriatingly flawed at times but it adds to their realism. At times I hated them and was shocked by their selfishness, but who is to say that a close review of our own lives wouldn't evoke similar annoyance or disgust in others. We are all flawed and these characters are too.
The reader's voicing of the declining Alfred was spot on.
I'm off to explore more Franzen.
Others have described the great things about this book better than I can, so I'll leave it to a simple "I loved this book." And, the narrator is amazing.
I'm usually pretty easy to please when it comes to audio books, but this one I gave up on after three hours. The characters were just overwhelmingly unpleasant. I get what the author was going for, but I prefer to read/listen to stories where I care about the characters at least a little.