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This book kept coming up in my Goodreads recommendations so when it finally became available in Audible I snatched it up.
What a letdown! It felt like more like a collection of short stories with the same cast, but no solid plot.
Sure it was interesting to hear details about the same events from different points of view, and I have to admit that it did grow on me as it went along, but ultimately I was expecting something much more compelling and was left disappointed.
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, I love to learn about a great many things, and I enjoy a wide variety of genres. Me, bored? Never!
My lack of "full" enjoyment for this book is probably a combination of factors. I'm well-versed in the idea of parallel universes and multiple versions of the same characters thanks to a lifetime of comic books, and I went through this book on the heels of a James Bond novel, which is himself a character with many different incarnations, so that helps to illustrate my mindset. So why read this one? I try to shake things up and read something "literary" every so often because I do enjoy variety. And nothing says variety quite like parallel dimensions. Imagine my disappointment when the potential of parallel universes in a novel like this is limited to the mundane and boring.
That's not to say there isn't something about this book to enjoy. As a character study, this is very well done (within its rather limited scope), until you get towards the end, at which point it disintegrates into nonsense because the author clearly hasn't read enough comic books to help her solidify what this idea might be about. High concept is one thing, but if you can't express your idea fully, regardless of medium, the idea comes across as rather pointless. This book is probably for those who aren't immersed in the fantastical and rather gimmicky nature of whatever it is the author is attempting to explore.
On those lines, I feel like the author is trying to say that this potential for all of us to have multiple versions of ourselves exist, but there is only one version that is "perfect." I find that to be extremely cynical and depressing. It's pretentious. And if I'm misinterpreting that, then Ms. Atkinson has my apologies.
For me, the shining point of this book is the writing style. Atkinson's prose is lyrical and enjoyable, but it just feels like the most beautiful voice in the world is singing the phone book. The very nature of the story is that it could go quite literally anywhere, and it goes to a great many versions of nowhere instead. This is made worse by the fact that our multiverse protagonist shoots Hitler in the opening scene. After a promising start like that, you'd think there would be something incredible in there. I didn't expect this to be an action novel, but I expected more variety from the concept. Instead, it's shades of bleh. What a letdown.
Writing exquisite. Creativity of story line most unusual. Reader delightful. A gem about war, family, integrity.
I love it when I have no idea what's going to happen next.
oh how I wish I could give performance more than five stars. This is definitely an interesting book dealing with life consequences as well as themes of reincarnation and the "butterfly effect." but, as many other viewers have noted, what really makes this book stand out is the narration. how the narrator is able to switch between different accents, different genders and different languages, is beyond me. this is simply the best narration I've ever heard.
I liked the book in general though the ending wasn't satisfying. Not enough plot devoted toward the awareness and then execution of the heroine's special abilities, especially considering that's a main talking pound about the book. But I did enjoy the leadup and slow subtle reveals of the details of her lives as they unfolded and refolded. Beautiful writing, nuanced characters.
I could listen to Fenella Woolgar read the text on a cereal box and I would be utterly rapt. Her voice can insinuate a multitude of complexities in the most simple sentence. The story was very good but made superlative by the most amazing narrator imaginable. She is beyond brilliant.
The satisfying thought that given enough chances it is possible to get life right. Just when you are reduced to tears you start again. Wonderful book beautifully written. Thoughts not usually voiced - are.
I love a good story. Audible allows me to be outside, hiking and walking and keeping up on great literature.
I loved the twists and turns, and simply the whole premise of the story. It took a little to get into at first, but I quickly became enthralled.
I still don't know I how I feel about this book. It took me forever to finish, because I could not get invested in the story for the first several hours. If you can make it through the first 10 hrs of audio, the story does begin to pick up. I am, however, tempted to listen to the book again or read the print version, because I am sure there are things I missed that would maybe help explain the story better. Or maybe not. Maybe there is no answer, but I do feel like I can know listen to A God in Ruins which has gotten more positive reviews, but of course I had to listen to the original before I could read the sequel.
I'm not even sure how to review this book. As far as the narrator, it was fantastic. I was very interested until the halfway point, where it seemed to drag on and on. I held hope that something would grab and pull it all together. That never happened. The premise was so intriguing and I feel this book could have been so much more.