I read so I can write
If it were 8 hours, I might have gotten through it, but it was about 20 hours too long to suffer. The story sounded to great but narration didn't.
If the author had taken out 90% of the adjectives, and if a different narrator had read it there is a possibility it would have been tolerable. I don't know about a 4 or 5-star experience.
The sappy love story. Really!
He just droned on and on.
It could have been an interesting story. I really wanted to finish the book. I tried. I really tried. I finally had to give it up. I just couldn't do it any longer. The overblown writing was bad enough but the narration was exhausting.
I love a good story, usually a mystery with a bit of irony or satire. I can listen to a good book in 2 days.
A different narrator and an editor with sharp scissors.
Almost any narrator would have been an improvement. Runnette's sentences had one cadence, no inflection and he sounded like the guy on "Prairie Home Companion" who extolls the virtues of catsup. I really wanted to listen to this book because I wanted to finish it and I had a long car trip when I could listen. But I just couldn't stand to listen to this narrator.
This was a great idea for a story - a good plot line (I guess it is plausible that a humanities major would take on a mobster), and fairly well developed characters, but Helprin's digressions were so numerous and often so overblown that they just barely allowed you to suffer through them to get to the story.
It was like going for a walk with a poet in a beautiful garden. Sometimes he stops, examines a flower and writes a poem. Other times, he stops, examines a flower and smokes a joint.
I love all Helprin books. They're truly transporting. His stories are always vivid, dialog fantastic, and he puts you "right there." Have just started this one -- am deep enough into it to be engaged.
He's sonorous, ponderous, pompous and DULL! It's hard enough staying with any Helprin novel but this narrator will put you out as sure as an anvil dropped on your head. In fact, sometimes I'd prefer the anvil.
I LOVED this book, though the ending broke my heart. I couldn't, couldn't believe that Helprin would persevere, would end it as he did. And yet, all the way through this stunning, brilliant book, he never compromised, always told the truth. The language is simply ravishing, direct and yet so illuminating, so unanticipated. Often very funny, even. I loved his description of society dames:
"Evelyn, were she in the slightest bit malevolent, could concentrate upon him the female death ray that only a mother-in-law or potential mother-in-law can deploy, that comes from frustration of a hundred types, that is as old as the monkeys, and for which there is no antidote.
"Park Avenue and its environs". . . "were full of caked and powdered reptilian women and florid panting men who lived to shop and eat, with muscles evolved mainly for approaching a maitre d', lifting a poodle, or carrying glistening packages. At home these people did not breathe. There was no air, no room to move, no space to stretch out an arm without shattering Lalique, no sunshine, no water, no waves, only a coffin-like bella figura of life as still as a wax dummy."
A tour de force, a simply wonderful wonderful book. I can't praise it enough.
And Sean Runnette's gentle voice was perfect for this book. Peaceful and lovely to listen to--a very fine matching of voice and book.
While the overall story is interesting, I found that the author's style became more and more ponderous, pompous and irritating, as in, " look at me , aren't I writing beautifully?". The book is far too long, and has too many, unnecessary plot diversions. As a result the reader's voice and inflections become monotonous and drowsy.
overwrought prose, silly plot, characters not remotely believable
listened to a good editor who might have trimmed the book down by half
Couldn't stop listening
First time--super good job
No laughs--some tears
Halprin may be the best American Novelist writing today.
Yes. It is a rare treat to be honored with the most glorious description. Mark Helprin has unsurpassed English language skills. Never has place and time, feelings and perception been so exquisitely rendered. A love story of life fully embraced. I can't wait to listen again. Only wish the narrator wasn't such a sad sack.