One of the great strengths of this book is the level of detail it provides. The whole second part of the book was stunning for how vividly it brought to life the world of Vienna both before and during WWII. It was captivating. For the first part of the book, that dealt so much with art, I found the level of detail a bit overwhelming. As someone who knows little about "the art world" and simply isn't drawn to it that much, it felt like it just went on and on sometimes. But the second part more than made up for it.
It was a powerful experience reading this, and a hugely admirable accomplishment by the author.
Masterful story crafting and masterful reading. This book completely grabbed hold of me and immersed me completely in this world. Does a wonderful job of showing the humanity and heroism of the people fighting while also showing the absolute futility and wastefulness of the war.
The plot of this book and the characters are complex and subtle enough to completely immerse you in their world which feels so real and compelling. The level of detail makes the story extremely rich without bogging it down at all. A powerful exploration of human nature.
The plot was entertaining, but just a bit crazy enough to turn me off at times. I mean, so far as I can tell, nothing like the nefarious activities that go on at the temple actually happened. Or if they did, perhaps that could be made a bit clearer so I could accept it more easily. The reading was strong early on, but it did get annoying that the Japanese characters were given English, Irish, etc., accents in the chapters with only Japanese characters.
The rich detail of much of the story was captivating and definitely made this a very enjoyable read. It also means that while much of thos book is pretty forgettable, many specific aspects of it definitely stick with me.
The reading of this was excellent, and certainly enhanced the experience. I came to realize what people meant when they criticized the book for everything always working out just right. The characters were extremely likable, and they weren't without their share of sometimes intense problems, but I actually found myself a few times wishing the author didn't have to make everything so neat and sweet.
The range of experiences covered and the fact that everyone was indeed so likable made this a great read in itself, but also a good antidote to the experience I feel I often have where I'm like, "Does everything have to always NOT work out?"
The story and the characters are powerful, and the book is great in both highlighting the overt but also the subtle ways racism plays out. This was one of those books where I didn't want it to end. I loved the reading and have to say this book ranks as a favorite.
The characters and plot line are so archtypal at times, especially the macho-ness of the main character and his understudy, that it turned me off, but the story and the reading are so captivating and vivid, and the story is so danged interesting that I became addicted and whizzed through all of Name of the Wind and the sequel, and now am waiting eagerly for the third part.
I haven't read Kundera in a long time, but I remember really loving his work. So perhaps when others said this wasn't a typical Kundera, I should have paid more attention. The story had just enough interesting reflections on life and love to keep me going, but I almost quit a few times. I feel like the reading was also a bit annoying, but it could be that it was simply a faithful rendering of a story I didn't enjoy that much.
If I had a friend who was interested in reading this book, I'd say go for it. It's interesting in its character development and plot. But I wouldn't recommend someone go out of their way for it. The reading was fine -- it didn't add or detract from the experience.
Wonderfully entertaining while also deeply moving and meaningful. A favorite that I'm listening to again right away.
This was one of the best narrated books I have listened to.
It has, for me, a rather abrupt tie-everything-up ending, that would have been far more satisfying to draw out a bit in line with the delicious pace of the rest of the book.
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