I may not feel fondness for them, but I can usually grow interested in unlikeable characters as I come to understand the history or motives that drive them, or even the necessities of the plot. Liking the character is the least of my requirements for a compelling read. In this special case, I spent the entire considerable length of this recording feeling my dislike grow into loathing for the main character and feeling worse and worse about listening. What was the point of this unremitting avalanche of hatred, with every plot development and nuance carefully detailed? She comes across not as mentally ill, but just as a really crummy person.
Why bother listening (or reading) about a person who is unremittingly self absorbed and selfish, who has no redeeming qualities and who is swindled by people equally selfish, albeit more glamorous and well dressed? In my case I guess I was holding out for some meaning beyond that there are people in life one should avoid. The only lesson I learned was to avoid Clare Messud.
I disliked the narration as well, but given how awful the character was, perhaps that was good reading.
The good reviews sucked me in to listening to this rather tedious book. I found the main character to be generally unlikeable and, honestly, couldn't have cared less about what happened to her. The "surprising" ending I had been expecting was pretty anti-climactic and I was just happy to have it all end. Although well written, I can't say this was a particularly captivating story.
I read and listen to a lot of books but I rarely write reviews because taste is so subjective. I like narrater Cassandra Campbell but not for this novel. I picture a harder charactor with a harsher attitude. It comes off as a Hallmark movie of the week and I think it was meant to be deeper. More like Sundance Channel after hours.
There is nothing better than a good book!
I LOVE this! Twisted, dark, honest, and so intimate. This is a must have! The end will shock you...
Don't waste your credit. Cassandra Campbell is an excellent reader. She gives wonderful voice to the characters. The story itself is more than disappointing. Nora is unlikeable and vacuous. I kept waiting for something to give some point and meaning to the story but like the rest of the book, the ending was pointless and disappointing.
This novel, like the main male character in the work, needs to be less a talker. Lots of meaningless, seemingly endless chatter, or so it seems. A few lovely sentences but not enough to sustain all the noise.
I loved Messud's THE EMPEROR'S CHILDREN and would still recommend that.
She captures most of the characters really well and performs a range of accents and age groups. She does least well with the main character, who is from New England--a slight Southern accent peeks through.
Skip this book and read the first one if you haven't.
I may be impatient and superficial, but I just don't get this book. It's not that it's bad - it's just not going anywhere. Halfway through it, I've decided to put it aside and not bother unless there's nothing else to read. I understand it's a story about frustration and anger, but it falls short of almost every mark. It's too narrow in its focus - we don't know (almost) anything about her life outside her obsession, though life and affections exist on the fringes of obsession in every case. And I'm tired of the cliches on academics and the rarefied world they inhabit - and I'm also very suspicious of her reading of foreignness, which I find superficial and downright silly at times.
Enjoyed it so much! I can't believe this was the subject material that turned into a mini-storm over likable characters. Of course Nora is likable. And not likable. It's a brilliant portrait of a whole person, including a great deal of contemplation on the artificial nature of personal charm. Brilliant novel. I loved every minute.
another girl, another planet
I haven't listened to other books by this reader but I don't think I will be able to as her intonation here on every third sentence made me want to scream. She sounded every few lines exactly like Jenna Mulroney (an irritatingly vapid character from NBC's 30 Rock) which distracted me from the story.
Pretty good story. I liked it - nice twist at the end especially, but I didn't love it and found the character a bit pathetic at times. But maybe that was the point. I was also distracted by the noticeable echo in this recording. It sounded as if the reader hadn't soundproofed her studio properly.