mother of six
I learned so much history from this novel.
The characters were interesting and engaging.
Jean Gilpin's performance was extraordinary. I am now searching for other books she narrated. I honestly cant' imagine why anyone would give her less than five stars. Every character came to life through her voice.
Ha! At 39 hours? I guess if I had no other responsibilities.
The best thing you can make is joy.
The only - main - problem with this book was that as the book jumps from period to period (not necessarily a problem) the narrator DOES NOT read the chapter titles.
So in the first three chapters we go from late 1800's to early 1800's to the 1200's - with no audible change in the presentation of the book.
I feel that MANY of the problems other reviewers have had would have been taken care of by simply READING the chapter titles.
I had to look the book up on Amazon, copy the chapter titles and keep that on my iphone so I could easily look at what period I was supposed to be in.
I also do NOT understand why the audio book doesn't use the same chapter titles as the printed book does. So unnecessarily complex, so easy to fix.
I would appreciate a response from Audible on this. Once again, I feel I've wasted a credit on a book I had to 'research' in it's print form to enjoy.
loved his other "place" books, but this one jumped about so much, it was difficult to follow at times.
I lived in Paris for two years in my 20's. This book brought back memories of the many places mentioned. At the same time I learned the history of these same places from as far back as the 1300's. Rutherfurd wonderfully brings together the many different families as we move through the centuries. My only complaint was the narrator's voice that seemed a little monotone but I guess if I am going to listen for 38 hours I would rather have that monotone rather than an overly dramatic version. All in all, a very good book.
The massive sweep of history about this world-class metropolis is well covered in this novel. All the epic moments in history through which Paris experienced major upheaval and change are covered. Very informative. As with his other novels of a place, the main character, "Paris" is a living "being" formed by the humans who dwell within it and wander through it.
Having characters describe expositional details is a bit stilted. I love history, but the dialogs in which a character explains the vision or engineering behind a building or history of some notable location, the character basically loses their own voice and becomes the voice of the narrator. People don't generally talk like this (expository dialog). Every once in a while it can be helpful in a novel, but whole sections in which an character describes some recent or past event with incredible accuracy seems artificial. I enjoyed the way he chose to tell the story by jumping forward and backward through time. I have read his books "Sarum", "Russka", "London", and "The New Forest" which all move linearly from past to present. In this book, he jumps back and forth, which adds some interesting twists and turns to the story line.
The performer delivers the dialog in ways that are unique to her interpretation. When I read a book, the voices of the characters do not have the depth that I get when I listen to an audiobook. Gilpin does a good job covering the voices of the huge sweep of characters in the novel. Sometimes her young adult male characters sound too young, but overall, she has a decent range of voices and accents to add valuable color to the dialog and to avoid confusion as to which character is speaking.
This is not a book to listen to in a distracted environment. The year of the given chapter is indicated in the first sentence, and if you are distracted for a few minutes during which this happens, you can easily become confused as to what is going on. Because this novel is a host to many characters with the same last name (following a family lineage), keeping track of who is from what time period and what has already happened and what will happen (that you've already heard).
This is by far the longest book I've listened to, but once I got into it I loved how long I got to enjoy it. I am currently living in Paris so I read it while strolling up and down the exact streets the book was based on. The story is complex because of the many generations of characters and families intersecting, but I was blown away by the creativity with which Rutherford pulled it off. Really enjoyed the narrators performance as well, it's something you would lose if I'd just been reading the book. Definitely recommend it for those who are spending a significant amount of time in Paris, or those who are as fascinated by the city as I am!
I LOVED the narrator. Excellent voice work. The story was lovely- did a beautiful job of reminding one of French history while allowing one to learn about works of art, wars, and movements through the eyes of (fictional) Frenchmen of various classes. Fascinating, enjoyable listen!
Listening to this book was a wonderful glimpse into life and history of this fascinating city. I listened to it just before travelling to France and Paris and completely enhanced my visit. If you love history without just the dry facts, I would recommend this book. Also great to have it read to me, as I have other Rutherford books and they take some time to sit and read. This was a treat
Memorable characters weave their way through the history of France. The fictional lives make historical events come alive and inspire me to look again at these events. I especially enjoyed the thread that connected these characters through out the story and how time was not linear in the telling so their connection bloomed like spring flowers. I will be reading it again
I've read some of the authors other books, so I was pretty sure what I was in for. It fulfilled my expectations.
My problem is that the narrator used such a heavy French accent on the proper names that I have no idea what she was saying. Other than that frequent annoyance, she was fine.