Confusing beginning, weak ending, but some good stuff in between. Some fine bits of descriptive writing worth finding.
There are many topics and issues in this work, still, unexpectedly, it came together as a complete whole.
'When Women Were Birds' is part memoir, part natural history writing, part clear-eyed social commentary, and all poetry.
The writer does a very fine job of narrating her own writing, which adds dimension to the listening experience. Enjoyable to listen to, and gives much food for contemplation.
Jane Gardam always creates fascinating characters in gripping circumstances, but The Queen of the Tambourine's structure didn't hold together for me. I experienced this to a lesser degree in other novels of hers, but this one just fell apart. Many times, I wasn't sure whether it was worth the effort to sweep together the scattered fragments. Of course, I finished listening to it ....... a real credit to her power as a writer.
If the interviews that came after the reading had come BEFORE the reading, I'd gotten a lot more of of this -- after all, it's an illustration of chaos theory. I needed a 'heads up'. It is witty, and intellectually stimulating, so I might give it another go.
Two sets of characters in two different time periods are hard to follow by ear alone, unless the performances are carefully designed to be easily distinguishable.
'Just Waves' washing up on the shore and 'Just Rain' in a steady downpour, what better to sleep to? I like that there's nothing to wake me up.
I was concerned that the dreaded and loud 'You have been listening to Audible' announcement might be a problem, but I set the sleep timer to avoid that. Don't even know if it's on there....
I did read (listen to) it all. I'm not entirely sure why, but it held a puzzling fascination for me. If you are interested in the interior workings of a mind losing it, this novel is instructive. ...a bit threatening to the reader's self in spots, as in a 'Crime and Punishment' or Edgar Allen Poe manner. The side story, which might have been the main story, was a rather artificial fantasy plopped into an otherwise straightforward and interesting novel. Requires mental juggling.
dull, dull, dull. I just couldn't care about these self-centered academics. The closest they got to lifting their eyes from their own navels was to gaze at those of their friends.
The book was absorbing, thought-provoking, and entertaining. Most definitely quite a few cuts above the usual.
This is another of those stories that start with color and intensity in a foreign culture at a crossroad of historical events, only to end aimlessly in the contemporary USA with its life blood drained away. I would have rated it much higher if the story line had never moved so far away from its core.
Just love her for the wonderful character actor she is. This book is largely a list of performances throughout her career.
Nhat Hanh can be listened to many times over with something fresh to contemplate nearly every time. His firm, benevolent calmness always reassures me.
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