I should start out by saying I am not a Jennifer Egan fan. I read "The Keep" and did not understand what the hoopla was about because I didn't care for the book. The seemingly universal great critical reviews for the hardcover version of "A Visit From the Goon Squad" convinced me to reconsider. I guess I just do not "get" this author's voice.
This novel tries too hard to be a hard-boiled film-noir novel and it fails miserably. It's a cheap imitation with a main character that is so unlikable that you'd like to see him get hit way before the book is over. Want a good read in this type of genre? Read some Jim Thompson, or early James Ellroy, or Richard Stark or Charles Bukowski or Dashiell Hammett.
I listened to this during "Banned Books Week" as tribute to Mark Twain whose writings, and this book in particular, were often banned. This is one of the great american novels and I could never do it justice by attempting to review it, except to say that Elijah's Wood's narration (acting might be more appropriate) is incredibly good. Mr. Wood truly brings something original to the story. This is my 4th "reading" of the "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and Elijah Wood's narration made it fresh and renewed.
I did not love this story. Maybe I missed some subtlety that other reviewers picked up on, but for me, the novel was relentlessly filled with misogynists, perverted religious believers, sociopaths, and violence that went nowhere and served no purpose. The book was disjointed and felt more like a series of short stories or novellas that were too neatly tied together at the end. The violence and perversion seemed to serve no other purpose than to shock.
The narrator was excellent. Great performance.
The narration of this novel was so awful that I actually found myself making fun of the narrator and imitating him. His cadence and intonation were so off-putting that I could not finish this novel and really could not get past 20 minutes. It was almost like valley-girl speak - just dreadful.
Sarah Winman has pulled off quite a triumph in this debut novel. Her unique voice and command of language keep what could have been (in less talented hands) a trite genre coming of age in an unconventional family story. In stead, the voice of the novelist and her turns of phase makes this story different, warm, funny- very funny, affecting, endearing. Truly a breakout novel.
Mary Doria Russell does it again with another detailed absorbing tale. The narration was excellent and really brought the story to life.
Unbelievable job by Bronson Pinchot. I was mesmerized by his reading of this deeply affecting story.
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