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.
Franzen's ability to get deep inside the heads of his characters and reveal their thoughts, emotions, and motivations is fascinating. Some characters are likeable. Others are not. But they are a very human mix of fear, frailty, hope and desire.
Repetitive and very, very slow moving.
The book could be 1/3 shorter and nothing would be lost in the story.
Brilliant. I bought the book strictly because George Guidall is the narrator. He is my favorite narrator, and I've listen to well over 100 audiobooks. He has a great voice, does exceptionally well with foreign names and place, has a lot of variation in his voice which distinguishes the charactors well (and the voice for each character is appropriate.) His pace is also very, very good.
I can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud while listenting to this book. It is so well written, and so well read! I would listen while on the treadmill and get totally absorbed.
I don't know that this book is similar to any other I've read or listened to. The writing is somewhat similar to Franzen's "Freedom." Franzen is a true word smith!
Not possible to choose!
No -- it has to be savored. The writing is wonderful, but dense.
Get it. Take your time. Enjoy!!
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.
full disclosure, i didn't finish the book. i got so bored half way through that i gave up on it. surprising given how much i enjoyed freedom by franzen. i think the problem was the character gary lambert. the book starts off focused on other members of the lambert crew, and i like it, then about a quarter of the way through franzen fixates on gary. the guy has no redeeming traits, he's both unlikable and at the same time boring. i don't know if franzen every moves on because after listening to a couple of hours of gary's story i couldn't take it anymore.
I never read/listen to abridged novels because, as an English PhD, I cannot bear to let someone else decide what is not relevant. However, in this case, I wish I had listened to the other reviewer and bought the abridged version. There is a mildly interesting story here, but it is burried under so many self-indulgent narrative tangents that it gets lost. There are WAY too many details about characters and places that really do not add anything to the novel and slacken the tautness of the narrative.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book, in any form, but I think it would be enjoyable abridged.