The author did his research and tied this work of fiction relatively well into historically significant events, like Kruschev's "Secret Speech" of 1956 and into the Hungarian Revolution of the same year. I didn't know about these historical events until I listened to the book, and did a bit of research afterwards. I feel both entertained and feel like I learned something - I am left impressed with this piece of historical fiction.
It was hard to want to continue listening to a young man so weak and self-absorbed, but I kept listening. Maybe it is because I thought he would mature, but more likely simply because the characters are just so real (I had to keep reminding myself that this is fiction).
This book works on many levels. It does a terrific job telling the stories of people who live through internal turmoil and/or external tragedy, and grow from it. It also puts human faces and human emotions to individuals who live through tragedy in ethnic or religious conflict. It shows the challenges of immigration to the West, both in getting here and establishing a life, and it shows the sacrifices that parents make for their children. It is disturbing and inspiring at the same time.
It is easily the best book that I have ?listened? to since I joined Audible, and I would highly recommend it to any other listener.
The narrator, also the author, does an excellent job of reading, really telling an excellent story. He conveys a mood and emotion that ranks with the best of the narrators that I have heard.
That said, this could best be called a "light" listen. There are a lot of characters and storylines in a short 9 hr audiobook, with probably too little time devoted to any one of them.
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