I am looking forward to reading the new complete and authorised version appearing on the 100th anniversary of Twain's death, but I couldn't resist listening to this "self-censored" version read with such skill by Bronson Pinchot. Twain's humor is legendary, but here we get a close look at his tender side as well, as he writes about his family. The quotes from his daughter Suzy's childhood biography of her father add special depth and the narrator does an excellent job of communicating how Twain must have felt as he revisited her writings years after her death. The details of his travels, daily life and professional and political considerations are so lively it's hard to believe that he is describing events that took place more than a century ago. Pinchot is wonderfully present too.
I have long enjoyed Paretsky, but this narration takes all the fun out of the book. Not only does the narrator miss V.I.'s wit, the flattened rhythm makes it hard to follow the story. This reader should have had a pronunciation editor. i have never listened to a book with so many mispronunciations, it became very annoying. I wish I'd bought the paperback instead!
An exotic look into a culture that few western readers are likely to discover otherwise, translated and read with a feeling for making the strange familar and the familar strange. The "dramatic" coup is underlined by the enigmatic ending that leaves the reader wondering where the lines are drawn between what is real, what we invent for our own, various purposes, and what other perceive as reality. Pamuk well deserves his Nobel.
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