As a writer I found this to be quite fascinating; however, I would like to have been able to hear it clearly. I couldn't make it all the way through but I appreciate that it was free; just a heads-up to potential downloaders.
First, a note on the narrator: No matter how you feel about this story, it would have been nowhere near as good without David Pittu. I will seek out other audiobooks that he has done, and I can't say enough how much I loved his reading. He has the right type of voice that is easy to pay attention to, great inflection and wonderful accents...Fantastic!
Some, like Stephen King, have referred to this novel as Dickensian and I suppose that is one way to look at it: a sweeping novel that stops to ponder different social classes, the conflicting good and bad in all of us, "wordiness," unrequited love. Maybe its because this book won the big prize, but since the beginning I was trying to find reasons to dislike this book. First, there was the premise. I didn't want to be thrust into a book where a child was orphaned, because then I would be forced to feel sorry for the protagonist. After the mother dies, I did stop listening for a bit. But about a week later, I found I was thinking about the characters, and wondering what happens next, so I continued to listen. And that was the way it was with this novel - "It was the best of novels, it was the worst of novels" - falling in love with characters like Hobbie and Boris, and then not caring at all for others like Kitsey. Some parts of the novel seemed cliché, but then these clichés would evolve into some of the most beautiful moments in the novel - moments that are described beautifully. One reviewer said commented it was "full of all the senses, small visual details, sounds, smells, feelings, ambiance, even memories." And just as I was being sincerely awed by these passages, they would go on just a little too long, or become a little too vast, and loose me. The story - the ending - is all a little too convenient for me, and wraps up a little too nicely. And since I just finished listening last night, I don't know how I feel about the metafictional ending, but I did think the way the ending moved was very skillfully done. It winded its way through many different interpretations for the meanings of life that we are all trying to get to, or understand, or articulate in some way that makes sense. Then Tartt intuitively moves into a different subject, wrapping up a piece of the plot that leads, again, into more deeper realms of human contemplation. Sometimes the best novels are ones that you are unsure of - ones that marinade and get better over time and with thought. I've seen great reviews for this book, and reviews bashing nearly everything about this book. I lie somewhere in-between. I can certainly see why this won the Pulitzer Prize. It is a contemporary bildungsroman that makes a sincere effort to answer very important questions in a very beautiful ways.
The poetry is beautiful, wonderfully narrated. However, I am required to read certain parts for school and there is no way in the Audible manager or the app to navigate to a specific poem. This is a terrible flaw - anyone should be able to look through the listing of poems and click on which one(s) he or she wants to hear, whether for school or for pleasure. Poor design. Unfortunately, there's no "rating" for this technical aspect of the audiobook.
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