Unfortunately, I downloaded this for summer beach reading on the strength of an NPR review. It was far too dense for that. Here it is winter and I'm still "reading" it. Moreover, I never found a way to care about the protagonists, Olivier and Parrot. Aside from that, I enjoyed it as an historical novel and it was interesting to re-think Democracy in America as having been written by a snotty, immature and conceited French aristocrat brat, which now I get he undoubtedly was.
Loved Toulouse-Lautrec as the libertine/amateur detective/sidekick! Also enjoyed the inventive and funny mcguffins -- Vernesque steampunk stilts, witch-burning in Chartres, the nutrition in cemetery snails. Jumped the shark a couple times, as with Oscar Wilde and his inspiration for Dorian Gray. Still, all in good fun.
I'd love to see a sequel where Toulouse-Lautrec solves other fin de siecle mysteries, murders and scandals.
I'm a devoted fan of the series and my expectations may be unreasonably high. I love Ms. Harris' characters and the Louisiana she offers readers. I was certainly entertained, but disappointed on several counts. Strengths: The dialogue quality is excellent in this installment. The tone of the book is darker but appropriately so given FDTW foreshadowing. Some foreshadowing in previous books realized quite nicely(e.g., fairy dangers, were reveal). Bill does more than pine. You get more Eric than in past books and I loved it that he talks a lot. And while there is a major relationship development early in the book, there wasn't anything new revealed about their depth of feeling for one another. If FDTW gave you hope for a big, squishy "talk," you'll be disappointed. There's plenty of satisfying dialogue between E and S, but well, I think after waiting out 4 books, we deserved more. I suppose my beef is with the loads of ink spent in clearing old subplots, removing secondary characters and inserting placeholders. I agree it was time to pare down the cast, I was just jealous that every page spent on that stuff was one less page devoted to Sookie's men. Still, I thank Ms. Harris and don't know what I'll do with myself waiting for the next book.
Ever wonder about the difference between an abridged audio book and the real thing? I did an experiment and listened to both. I'll never choose the abridged version of any audio book again.
I would read anything by Wilde, but listening to this poor recording was torture.
Became an instant fan of Lewis' in the 1980s with Liar's Poker. It was about mortgage bonds (snore) so when I learned this one was about baseball (louder snore), I wasn't put off at all. Lewis could write about vanilla pudding and I'd read it.
Others' comparisons with Tartt's The Little Friend and The Secret History are right on. A fun mystery , the denouement of which I didn't see coming, and yet the plot isn't even the most interesting facet of the book.
Wish the recording had been of higher quality.
How did this book get greenlighted for publication? Inane. A colossal waste of my time. Why did I keep listening after the first 15 minutes? I kept hoping it would pay off as is usually the case with anything from Amy Sedaris or Stephen Colbert. Trust me: there is no pay off. Re-read Amy's entertaining-at-home book or watch any re-run of the Colbert Report or simply hit your iPod repeatedly against your head and your time would be better spent.
If you've heard Hitchins talk on television and radio then you know that his manner of speaking, cadence and rhythm, along with that intellect and wit, are what make him worth listening to. So thank goodness he was retained to read his own book. So much of his argument that religion is poison is illuminated with his personal experiences -- and they would sound hollow if some professional had been hired to read them. I would discount the remarks of other reviewers about his narration style.
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