As an English major, I had read Gatsby many times, both in undergraduate and graduate work. I THOUGHT I was downloading this for a nostalgic easy listen - and instead, by hearing the words read by Tim Robbins, I had a chance to experience the flow and poetry of the words in a different way (maybe because I wasn't busily highlighting sections to write a paper about the Death of the American Dream). The words that come to my mind are gorgeous, lyrical -- it is hard to describe how such fanciful language can explain a whole narrative incident or a character with such surgical clarity. Just listen to the descriptions of characters who wander in for cameo roles, never to be seen again, and yet note how they are as vividly drawn as the main characters - a man selling dogs to poor, gullible Myrtle, the three black occupants of a limo who laugh at Tom and Nick's amazement, etc. Near the end, Nick comments that this has been a story of the West - and yet so clearly it is a story of the expansion of this country and how we, as a people, have been as careles as Daisy and Tom in breaking anything that gets in the way of ours heart's desire, whether good or bad. Can't recommend highly enough!
This is strange, sprawling, and entirely wonderful book, unlike anything I have ever read. Teenage narrator Blue Van Meer begins speaking in a voice so clear and distinctive that for the first hour it's like having someone sit next to you on a bus bench and begin blurting out the most personal details of their life. Don't let the rambling beginning throw you -- you are about to be taken on a meticulouly crafted story of a high school senior in a new school who suddenty and inexplicably finds herself pulled into a popular and snobbish group who are the "teacher's pets" of a glamorous and mysterious film teacher. As the social mores of high school are recalled in painfully focused clarity, a murder mystery abnd the moral dilemma of a lifetime devolve. Long and dense, but you won't be sorry.
"Simple declarative sentence," he said. "Trite response," he said. "Barking orders," he said. Military acronyms, acronyms, acronyms. I am a big fan of books in this genre, but how I wish I hadn't wasted a credit on this one! I couldn't make it past the first hour. Slumping, limping careworn plot. To make it worse, the narrator has one of those 40s-style radio voices better suited for cornflakes commercials than fiction. I could say more, but I've already spent enough time on this sorry piece of fiction.
It's as if Upstairs, Downstairs - Jane Eyre - The Great Gatsby - The Blind Assassin - and Atonement were all combined. If you love fin de siecle novels set in England, this is the one for you. The narrator has a pleasing English accent - my commute was much brightened by this find. BTW, for some reason, the CDs for this on Amazon are priced at well over $100, so apparently the download is a good value too!
I am only about 2 hours into this book, and the reader has worn out his welcome! Slow, droning delivery such as one might expect in a commercial for cereal with extra fiber. The various characters are read so amateurishly -- added to the typical Cook adjective overkill, it's enough to make you crazy. Having paid for this thing, I will try to persevere, but I really meant the title -- usually my Audible keeps me aware and happy during my commute -- tonight I ended up actually turning the damn book off. Caveat emptor!
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