OK, so maybe it's not going to be a timeless classic a la Eliot's Middlemarch, but the structure is the same and the writing is really quite enjoyable and insightful. Rowling takes on the psychology and motivations of over 15 characters in a small English town and paints each one with a brush both critical and compassionate. Unlike Eliot, she doesn't necessarily give you the ending you want, but draws the logical conclusion based on the people and circumstances. I was absolutely drawn in, rooting for everyone and no one at once. The realistic and complex portrayals of parent-teenager relationships as well as relationships of social class were thoughtful without being maudlin.
At first I couldn't tell if I was enjoying the book so much simply because the narration was outstanding. By the end I had to admit that the story itself is truly unique and compelling. But I am so glad I listened to this book. Hollander was able to communicate each character with just subtle inflections of his voice. The performance was flawless, I could see the story unfold as if I were there.
This one is top shelf. I drive long distances and make it a rule that I can only listen when I'm in traffic. I broke the rule with The Casual Vacancy.
Clearly Ms. Rowlings has studied the human condition. Her depictions of personalities, human behavior, internal suffering seemed spot on. Providing a gamut of emotions and often humorous account of social situations was beyond entertaining.
Narrators can make or break a book. Tom Hollander was a joy to listen to as he had so many English dialects down pat.
Please don't think that this is remotely Harry Potter - although they were lovely. This is for big kids.
The way she wove the fragile adults and their personalities among the teenagers and their growing pains.
Each voice was so clearly distinct. No confusion. All great Brits yet so diverse.
Tough one! I enjoyed them all, but Samantha hit a home run as the unhappy middle aged woman losing her looks and frustrated with the reality of her life. She was fun to conjure up an image.
I wish it were longer. The ending was certainly surprising.
The story and the way the writer understood them and was able to convey them
Barry Fairbrother. He seemed to be the only truly compassionate person in the story.
Pleasing voice. He didn't try too hard to do different accents etc.
Name is perfect.
J K Rowling is a wonderful writer.
yes and i did
the red house
great, and funny
no it take a little more listening to figure out out the characters
this also goes for the host by Stephanie meyers. STOP ASSUMING that their next book is suppose to be like the last. Deal with it.
Good for JK to branch out and do something different.
If you go in expecting a masterpiece, then you will most likely be disappointed. Just start it with an open mind and be prepared to enter a world full of entertaining people. It's a funny read. I loved the character development.
This certainly must capture modern life in a small British community. I am hardly an expert on that, but, lets face it, J.K. Rowlings certainly is. It matters little, though, where the story is set. Needless to say there is many secrets and scandals hidden in this ordinary town. There is sexually explicit parts in the book , and violence, and sexual violence towards children, drug abuse, self harm etc etc.
I have to put this at the top. I am huge on character development, and I felt she did a fantastic job of doing this. As I finished this book, I was sad to leave behind these folks, wanting to know what would happen later in their lives.
I honestly can't compare it to another.
He is by far the best narrator I've experienced so far. His inflections kept me every bit as invested in the characters rather than rip me out of the story as other horrid narrators can do. His performance did a great story the justice it deserved.
Absolutely Crystal Whedon. She needed to know how strong she was.
I highly recommend this book. It can be difficult at times, as the characters are somewhat raw, and sometimes thoroughly unlikable. However, the story is compelling and drags you along even if you want to give up on the lives and petty concerns of the inhabitants of this small town. By the time I reached the end, I was sorry it was over, and sorry that I would not be traveling farther with the inhabitants, about whom now I want to know more. It was beautifully read.
Hoosier transplanted in Virginia Beach who is a fan of good books and travel.
JK Rowling is an excellent writer. We know this already from her thousands of pages of Harry Potter stories. Her ability to describe minute details eloquently rivals few other contemporaries. We loved this when she described a made up magic world in Harry Potter. When she describes this sordid realistic world that we may or may not recognize, and would prefer to avoid, it may make the reader uncomfortable. This story is chocked full of characters, which is typical of British books but sometimes tries the patience of American readers (just get on with the story!) However, once the story unfolds and marches toward the inevitable ending, it becomes very "readable"and everything ties together very neatly. It is helpful to know that the working title of this novel was, "Responsibility". Are we our brothers' keepers after all?
The ending leaves us wondering, "Was this inevitable?" Could any of these characters have behaved any differently to prevent it, or was this fate set in stone? Did the dominoes have to fall this way? Is this the world that was left behind because of the death of Barry Fairbrother?
The narrator's many voices and accents for each character added so much to the experience, especially for an American reader.
There were so many memorable characters, it is difficult to choose. Crystal was memorable for her tough character and impossible situation, her mother Terri was interesting for her pathetic despicability, and even though we did not know Barry, we felt like we did because of all the "Barry anecdotes".
This is a far cry from Harry Potter, there is a great deal of vulgarity, but the author is trying to depict a world that most of us prefer to turn our heads and not deal with. She seems to be saying that whether we deal with it or not, it is still our responsibility, and our lack of action has consequences, just like every effort pays off in some small way.
One of my favorites
Couldn't pick just one
The English interpretation and pronunciation adds to my understanding
So hard to choose because all of the characters were so well written. I truly was drawn into their lives
Up to the top. Kept me engaged throughout the telling. Great character development.
The demise of Crystal. Can't say too much without giving it away.
Crystal's Mum, Terry.
Crystal. Most complex and speaks to the rebel in me. Reminds me a bit of my confusing high school years.
Glad I didn't listen to the naysayers regarding the fork in the road of JKR. She is a storyteller first, last and always. LISTENING to the characters and the setting was more helpful than reading this story.
The character development. The story. The reader.
Umbrella. Crystal Weadon & Fats in the cemetary. Kay's first visit to the Weadon house.
Crystal. Samantha. Andrew. Kay.
Samantha. I am sure we would have plenty to drink.