This book was a whole slew of crazy, creepy, intrigue. I loved every second of reading it.
The narrator was so shady. He starts off this normal guy...and as it all unfolds...I got more and more freaked out by him. I loved how he described the crows that haunted him. I thought he was so scary the more and more involved he became in the "patient's" story.
The historical aspect of the novel...the whole story about the patient and her family and WW2...was sad and rich and heavy. At times i found myself as engrossed as the narrator.
This novel was fantastic. I love the feeling I got while reading it. Like in a way I was as creepy as the guy listening in. Because I began to almost root for him to get more involved. I wanted the patient to find the truth, too.
I also liked Malcolm Hillgartner's reading of this book.
So so so good.
this book was fantastic. it made me so emotional -- sometimes giddy happy, sometimes crestfallen, sometimes very very angry.
it's a really poignant story about the journey of a young woman named Eilis, who comes to Brooklyn from Ireland in the 1950s. over the course of the story, she grows becomes independent, bold, courageous. she falls in love. she takes control of her life. then she has to go back to Ireland because of a family emergency...and all of this growth and development seems to have stayed behind across the ocean.
i was deeply disturbed by parts of this story. some decisions that Eilis made were very upsetting to me. to me, it's a sign of a great writer when i'm sitting here reading the book and talking out loud to the characters. this is what i was doing while i read this book, especially the final part. i was hoping with all my might that she made the decisions that i wanted her to make. i felt like i had a stake in her life.
i loved the charm of this story. the little surprises that kept me interested. and the interesting choices that were laid in front of Eilis.
one of the best books i've read this year. definitely on my top five for 2013 (so far).
like other reviewers, i cannot believe that i haven't heard of meg wolitzer before. she's written a ton of books, and if they are anywhere close to as good as this one was, i'm excited that i've discovered a "new" writer so that i can go back and read all of her work.
this book was so realistic. it was the story of six teenagers who meet at art camp and it follows their lives through the years into their 50s. the narrator shifts between three of them, but is mainly told by Julia dubbed early on "Jules". she's such a tender and relatable character. she's welcomed into this group of "interestings" -- without fully understanding why. she feels they are the apex of coolness and style, and that she's somewhat unworthy. from her first time in their "inner circle" (in the teepee of art camp) through the last page we see of them together, she's got doubts and questions...lack of confidence...and insecurities as to why and how she belongs.
the story is told over the years, jumping back and forth from past to present to somewhere in the middle..and seamlessly unfolds this story of friendship, marriage, success, failure and love.
Jen Tullock was, to me, the perfect narrator. she embodied Jules perfectly - but also played Ash, Ethan, Jonah, Dennis so well. She even gave ancillary characters their own perfect spin, voice and piece of the puzzle. I loved her reading of this book.
Amazing story about two "orphans" from different time periods who's lives intertwine in a way that brings joy and comfort to both of them.
i thought that both these women were such strong characters. Niamh/Vivian had such a heartbreaking yet hopeful story...the truth behind the story of the Orphan Train is also something crazy to behold. Of course after reading this book I did extensive research on the actual train, and it's insane! What the government of our country used to allow is just unfathomable. Molly was a character, of course, that I could relate to. Goth, literary, snarky. I loved her.
I found the book to be a joy to listen to, despite some of the darker parts. It is well written historical fiction with extremely strong female characters that drive the reader to engage in their outcomes. Jessica Almasy does a fantastic job reading both Vivian and Molly...which is pretty amazing being that they are such different characters.
I LOVED it.
this book was amazing, freaky, scary, frustrating and totally totally F'ed up.
this is a story of obsession and insanity, yes. but it's also a story of friendship and love, unhealthy love. of dependence and self loathing. of how decisions can stunt and haunt someone. it's a story of race and intolerance. it's a story of art and literature and beauty and freedom.
nora, a teacher in cambridge, is psycho. i mean...seriously. she becomes obsessed with a family -- not as a family -- but as three separate units. she's in love with all three of them, mother, father, son -- in unhealthy and insane ways.i truly do think that nora is clinically psychotic. but god, what a fascinating narrator she makes for this story. so...i will say without any doubts, i did not like nora. i think for all she pats herself on the back for being such a great person, friend, woman, teacher...she's really kind of an asshole. but i guess it all goes back to the fact that shes INSANE. and so, as unlikeable as i find her, i couldn't stop reading her story. of course in a book like this, i know upfront that i cannot trust her as a narrator and so i found myself doubting everything she said. at times, she even said as much...that she was telling these events as SHE perceived them...maybe not how they actually occurred. but how well Claire Messud wrote her perceptions....it's amazing. i reveled in hearing each moment she spent with the three members of the Shahid family (reza, sirena and skandar). i was excited for every new development that progressed in each string of the story...and how they all wove and intertwined with each other.
i've listened to a few books read by Cassandra Campbell in the past. i'm the first to admit that she is not usually my favorite narrator. there is something about her that irks me. and in this book -- that only lent itself to making her voicing nora's insanity strong and true. it sounds strange, but the fact that i don't love her narration worked for me in this story -- because i didn't like nora either.
i was on the edge of my seat this entire book, waiting for the other shoe to drop...and was horrified and amazed when it did.
this is a really wonderful book with strong female characters. four, each with their own personal "traps" -- things that have held them back from truly living for a long time...each with hopes that things will get better.
over four days, we learn, briefly, their lives...and see them all heading down a path where they will all intertwine.
the story is a good one. i especially liked Vivian and Lynn...the story was a quieter, deeper one...but of course all four women had their pieces that fit into the well written narrative.
the only reason i don't give this 5 stars (i pondered over the rating for a while) is that i think that each story could have been developed a little bit better. perhaps a slightly longer novel would have brought the women from stories on a page to real and exciting characters. i felt, a bit, that the story was rushed....and tidied up a bit too quickly at the end.
that being said, this story was written beautifully and read beautifully...each woman's reflections were powerful and resonated with me...i really liked it.
wow this book was disturbing. and it was beautiful at the same time. every time i put my iphone down, i couldn't stop thinking about it. i wanted to just listen to it nonstop so that i could be done with it. but in a good way.
i know that sounds weird.
let me try again. this story was so...real. the way that this father describes his life, his love, his daughter. his life and love for his daughter. it's so true, so real. there are moments that i was reading this and i couldn't feel more connected to the narrator.
then there were moments where i was so appalled by him. and upset, horrified, disgusted. i got angry at myself for feeling empathetic a few moments before.
as i said in the title, this is an amazing and disturbing read at the same time...i loved it.
this was my first jonathan tropper book..not sure where i've been. but now i know what i've been missing. there were some great great one liners in this book. so many that i found myself bookmarking an over abundance of pages...with multiple marks on each page. by the time i got 1/3 of the way in, i stopped bothering...realizing that the entire novel was basically mark worthy.
judd, the narrator, was relatable in a depressing sort of way. self depricating, lost, sorry and sad...and speaking the voice of my generation. ramon de ocampo had the perfect voice to display the inner workings of judd...snarky and sad at the same time.
i laughed a lot, i also cringed a lot. the true-ness of the way tropper writes is at the same time eye opening and also upsetting.
so, this family was nothing like mine...but i don't care. they are obviously all caricatures. each one more deliberately miserable, discontented, and awful to each other....then alternately sensitive and loving in a way that reminds you of relationships you wish you had. anyway, all of this just contributes to the greatness of this story. it makes for a truly interesting dynamic filled with laughable and poignant interactions...all topped off by judd's truly insightful punch lines.
i could easily see this novel being turned into a film...hope that actually happens.
oh how i love the unreliable narrator. the narrator who at first, you kind of like, laughing at his jokes, agreeing with his commentary. the narrator you feel compassion for -- his story and opinions. the narrator that throws everything on it's head as the story progresses and makes you feel almost angry at yourself for feeling the way you did in the beginning of the novel. when the truth is actually laid out there and you see what he was saying all along.
clive mantle does a great job with this narration.
this book is DARK. i mean...like....really really dark. in a long while i haven't read anything this shocking. its full of people you won't like...full of scenes you won't ever want to read again (and won't soon forget).
i think the pacing of this novel was really well done. to use a food metaphor (this is "the dinner" after all), the unfolding of each layer of the onion brings out new facts, new understandings, and therefor new questions. there was a perfect amount of the "now" and the "before". a perfect amount of insight, introduced course by course.
***one thing i will say is that this book is NOTHING like Gone Girl. i dont know why so many people are comparing the two. i mean, i've read no less then 5 books in the past year that have so called 'twist' endings...and none of them can be compared to one another. so...if you liked GG, you may not like this...and if you hated GG, you may still love this -- so don't take that comparison as your judge. just read it.***
what a fantastic adventure this book was. though it clocks at close to 1000 pages, i didn't feel that the book was labored at all. i really enjoyed every single second of it. tom stechschulte's narration only benefited the story...he was fantastic with every single character's voice and spirit.
the main characters, swan, josh, sister, roland are all just fantastic. they are so richly written...their history is brought into their present...they make sense as characters. and they make sense in relation to each other.
i am a big fan of a book that is written as separate stories...all intertwined and leading to the same path. it was like i could envision the physical paths moving across the united states -- waiting for all three stories to finally connect and reveal the climax of the story.
i'm also a big fan of post apocalyptic stories...especially ones that mix fantasy and magic and demons into it.
i was never disappointed in the outcome of each and every metaphorical (and literal) mountain that these characters had to climb....we lose some characters that we don't really want to lose. and some characters end up surprising us in the end.
i'm not sure how i missed this novel for so long. i mean, it was written in the 80's! why did i not know it existed?
bottom line here is -- this is not a grand work of literary fiction that will change your outlook on life -- but it is one hell of a good story about a band of great characters surviving in the world after the world as we know it (or knew it in the 80's) ends.
i really wanted to love this book. i set myself up to rave about it....but i just can't. based on all the reviews i have read (here, on goodreads and otherwise), this book seemed to have all the makings of a story i would love. fantasy, female narrator, gothic horror and the promise of an incredibly talented author.
Caitlin Kiernan is a talented author. this much is true. there are words and paragraphs and portions of this novel that are so beautifully written they begged to be framed as art. but then there were parts that were so...so...hmmm.
let me try to explain.
Imp could be an interesting narrator, but the fact that you never quite know (because of her schizophrenia) what is reality and what is fiction gets quite tiresome very quickly in this novel...an element that never sat right with me -- and never gets resolved. the novel ends in ambiguity with more questions than answers...and not that i need a neat and tidy ending, but i would like to feel some sort of resolution or growth or something that makes me feel like the book ended where it should have ended.
some of Imp's ramblings are so difficult to pick apart and understand, it is frustrating. i dont want to be tired after reading a novel. not to say i don't like reading a difficult book. look at how American Gods left me...thats a difficult book that i found immensely satisfying. but this book felt like all work with no payoff. again, i just felt that i was left with nothing at the end. just confusion and sadness and i was actually rather annoyed. maybe if i had read the physical book instead of listening to this it would have been more manageable?
final note -- no real likeable characters in this. including Imp. i wanted so much to like her. really i did. but i just couldn't.
there is a lot of folk lore and fairy tale in this book, which i did enjoy...but as i said, those portions were few and far between, and couldn't hold the rest of the book up on their unsteady stilts.
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