Audible brings the printed word to vibrant life. It's such fun to listen while driving or doing the chores.
Ms Tartt is a compelling writer, and she captures the essence of a scene, the speech patterns of different classes of people, of recent times in America, and the atmospherics of family life brilliantly.
ut she overwrites scenes (the aftermath of the museum bomb) and many conversations between Boris and Theo.
Also, for me, that last part of the book seemed like an afterthought, Theo wandering the world and meditating about the meaning (or lack of meaning) of life, page after page after discursive page, without really connecting to the book itself or adding that satisfying sense of closure we all love to feel when we finish a great book.
Ms Tartt's characters seem stuck and maybe that is what she intends. It isn't that I have to love or agree or approve of every character in a book. But these characters are walking non sequiturs, and I found it hard to understand what motivates their decisions most of the time and this had the effect of distancing me from caring about them or what happens to them.
Perhaps it is not surprising that most grown-ups would not be all that interested in the circular, running-in-place antics of two lost boys high on alcohol and drugs, a situation that doesn't really change enough in the 15 years covered by the story.
So why did I finish the book? Two reasons.
First, the superb narration by actor David Pittu, who lifts the characters right off the page and breathes personality and life into each of them, kept me with this book when I might otherwise have given up. His performance was precise, nuanced, and so emotionally true.
Second, this is not a bad book just because I found it relentlessly tedious and way too long, and since so many other readers liked it, I thought I'd defer to the wisdom of the crowd and see it through to the end.
No, very good at start and end but slow in the middle. Would not have missed listening once however.
The first third of the book "setting up" all of the plot was very absorbing. Mid portion of early life in Las Vegas, not so much.
It was ok
Pippa. Wouldn't dare be out with Boris, who knows what could happen. The Barbours were not my kind of people. Theo would likely be stoned. If Pippa was not free would be happy to hang with Hobie.
Like so many others, I wanted to love this book. Sadly, I did not. The story started off wonderfully creative and I found myself excited to keep listening but it never really went anywhere. I was frustrated with the main character and his lack of common sense. For such a smart kid, he sure was dumb. More than once, I found myself thinking "help yourself, Kid!" or "Okay, we get it, move on." But he didn't help himself and the story dragged on through aimless angst and self-destruction.
The performance was engaging and my only issue was with the narrator's female voices--they all sounded like life-long smokers from Jersey. Not that there is anything wrong with life-long smokers from Jersey.
Wow, Donna Tartt can write! Her vivid descriptions bring each character, room, object, to life in the mind's eye. The story is full of memorable characters. Yes, the book is longer than necessary and somewhat repetitive at times, but the writing is so good, that I didn't mind. Some reviewers felt that the main character, Theo, was unlikeable, but I didn't find him so at all. He is alone in the world, scarred by the tragic loss of his mother, and is struggling to find his way. My biggest complaint would be that that women play such a small role in the 771 pages/ 32 hours of this book. I alternated between reading and listening, just so I could get through the book sooner. The narrator did a good job, which made listening a real pleasure.
Better editing of the story. There was obsessive attention to detail and long sections of unfocused writing.
I listened to this book as I performed tedious, non-thinking work, but I could have better used the listening time for more worthwhile books. I felt that this book badly needed a good editor. It was chock full of cynical similes and negative descriptive words on top of meandering "stream of consciousness" narrative. The latter was "justified" in the last few minutes by the explanation of the story's having been written from a meticulous journal kept by the protagonist. The book seemed like endless word dropping (and drug and dope dropping) that expressed the author's belief that she knew a lot. However, at the end when she was expounding on her philosophy of life, she seemed rather confused and pretty muddled in what she was trying to express, much like the preaching of a young person who thinks he alone has just discovered the meaning of life. This book wasn't for me.
I plan on listening to Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century
The performance was excellent. Pittu changed voice flawlessly and read with good expression. However, there were many passages that even Pittu's vigor could not raise above tedium.
I think this book appeals to younger people who especially associate strongly with the New York ambiance. It also may appeal to gallery goers. I enjoy art and like learning about great work, but this book, while spending a lot of time on the inner appreciation of great art, bored me with its expounding on the subjective "understanding" of the works.
This seemed like a book for pre-teens. I'm not interested in all of the drinking, drugging, stealing, fighting, etc of teenage boys which seemed the major action of the book. Main character was in a mental fog for various reasons throughout most of the book, which was tiresome. End of book laboriously laid out all of the book's intended themes and it felt like a high school lecture. Ending was ridiculous and not satisfying after slogging through this very long book.
The narrator made Theo's friend Andy sound like Kermit the frog and Andy's father sound like Thurston Howell III. Female voices were terrible as well, as if he was trying too hard. Russian accent was ok and was the one saving grace. Narration in general was distracting to the story.
Where do I even begin?
Strong words, but they are the best I can manage for what has to be the most disappointing work I've ever slogged through. I pushed my way through more than 3/4's of it, constantly thinking it would eventually pay off... that the idiocy of the protagonist would have purpose and reason... but I gave it up, unwilling to spend even another second wasted on it.
The main character never wises up. What situations we find ourselves in childhood, we are supposed to surpass and rise above when adults we have the maturity and intelligence to make better life decisions. Not so for this novel's central character. He perpetuates a childhood situation, much too far into adulthood, with one drug or alcohol induced episode after another. He's totally un-likeable. I cannot identify with anyone so lacking in self respect and decided I was wasting my time trying to do so, regardless of what final 'earth shattering revelations' the author may have had in store in the last pages.
I feel utterly suckered by the publisher's overstated promises of what this work was and would advise anyone who doesn't enjoy novels about weak minded drug addicts to keep looking.
This narrator has an amazing range of distinct character voices, particularly the female characters. He was truly the only bright spot in this terrible waste of time.
Only the narrator.
The story was engaging and kept me interested for many long driving hours.
Theo was my favorite. Mr. Pittu, please don't do Russian and English accents. It hurts.
Ms. Tartt, you are awesome, but fire your editor.
The unrelenting sadness and negative attitude of the main character. Many tragic events happen to him but he is unable to recognize any of the good things that comes his way.
All of the thought tangents that were unnecessary to forward the plot but added length to an over long novel.
Probably Boris, his resourcefulness and mostly positive attitude was a good counterpoint to Theo's depression.
The excessive details of all the drug use. The point could have been made with greater brevity. Also the long pages of Theo's worry and self doubts were grating..
The reader was excellent. I also appreciate the author,s fantastic vocabulary.