I don't know how I am going to go on to my next book. Andrew Solomon's voice, physically and emotionally, has found its way into my soul. If you are reading this review, you know what this book is about (is it dry, you ask?), you know it is very, very long and that some people have said that his narration is flawed.
The book has more than research; it weaves research with case studies that makes the research live and breathe and stay with you far longer than you can imagine (I usually read fiction!). It is very, very long, but I slowed the listening of it down at the very end because I couldn't bear not to be listening to these stories of profound courage. I relished its length.
And Andrew's voice (I am calling him Andrew because he shared his story with me) brings you carefully and warmly into these people's lives while delineating his comprehensive but not boring research. He doesn't compare to Colin Firth but who's comparing? It doesn't matter because once you get the cadence down, he is telling you a startling story and he will capture you. AND he is a beautiful writer.
I am grateful to have been able to listen to this book.
This is not an easy read - the length and the story definitely require a commitment to the story's end and the characters' journey. But what a ride! Donna Tartt's style is riveting - she writes and you are there, caught in the web of her exquisite descriptions. Her characters are so solid, so endearing, at times so frustrating, but ultimately unforgettable. I generally stay away from "dark" books and this one is dark but it isn't ponderous or without hope. It is SO worth the ups and downs because it is such a fine piece of literature.
A particularly telling standard I have for if a book is good is if I listen to it as I am walking the 5 minutes -- not half hour, but 5 minutes -- to my office from where I park which I did throughout my read of this one. It definitely interrupted my life - the two strands of the love story and the commentary on race in America and in Nigeria kept me glued to the book in many unusual situations. I walked more as I read this book and I listened whenever I could and still be responsible. It is beautifully written, the characters are plucky and memorable and the story is very clever. Perhaps most important, it will shake your beliefs around a bit - and when is that not a good thing? The New York Times was right in naming this one of the year's ten best!
Once again, for the past week, I have been in the enviable position of loving a book so much that I didn't want it to end. I have found Elizabeth Gilbert's name, unfortunately for her, will more often than not pull a rolling of the eyes from someone when I mention it. I have had to convince my friends and family that Gilbert is a fine writer - even if you didn't want to go with her on her self-reflective journey which I found more of a romp than a great work of non-fiction. Nonetheless, if you have this prejudice, don't let it stop you from listening to this excellent book.
Gilbert can tell a good story and this one is a dandy! It spans 80 years but I never lost interest and found myself plugging in to the story in the oddest of places just to hear what came next: the equivalent of a page turner. The characters are vibrant and riveting and the tale is full of life. Juliet Stevenson is one of Audible's very best narrators,truly; if you have never heard her read a book, it is your loss - she is nimble and talented with the change of character. Great story, fabulous narrator - it doesn't get much better than that.
Elizabeth Strout is a talented writer and brings people into my life whom I would probably never otherwise meet. These are simple, genuinely kind people who, like all of us, are trying to navigate life's difficulties - in this case, a mother and 17 year old daughter who don't really start communicating until they are faced with major obstacles. The characters are beautifully drawn and the changes they come into are authentically depicted. I loved it.
I have read many of Ivan Doig's books because I love Montana and the way Doig tells a story with characters that I feel like I have met sometime in my life. Some of his books are more successful than others; The Bartender's Tale is one of his best. Once again, Doig spins a tale of a simple life with complex flavors and, again, I didn't want this book to stop. David Baker is excellent in catching the sounds and pauses of the characters so well that I was immersed in that life and how the story unfolded. This is a sweet story, a story about a wonderful young man and his Dad, his best girl friend and all the other gems and crazies that one might come across in a bar in Montana. Ivan Doig, thank you for this gift.
I downloaded this book to listen to while I was driving to Wyoming with the purpose of keeping me interested in being in the car for hours. It worked because Dan Brown can tell a story but it's still not great or even good literature. There is a place for this but don't expect to remember much about it a week later.
This is such a treat to read. Yes, I live in the northwest so I am already greeting the story with open arms, but it wouldn't matter, truly. Daniel Brown knows how to tell a story which is the essential component for me to veer into the non-fiction realm. He takes a compelling story, humanizes it by closely following one of the participants and creates a momentum that is very hard to resist. I found myself wanting to stop people on the Seattle streets to suggest they read the book. That's a pretty good measure.
There are so many levels in this book and Koch is masterful at slowly ridding us of our assumptions so that, in the end, we are left startled and wonderfully surprised as to what just happened to us. The story is not only hard to put down as a kind of thriller, but it leaves us with important lingering questions about our own platforms we are so sure are solid. It is not a long book, it is beautifully written, wonderfully narrated and left me shaking my head with both awe and delight. I wanted to read it again - and I will -- but for the first time!
I wish I could read about Olive again for the first time and I am not sure there will ever be a book like that one,but Elizabeth Strout is a great storyteller and the Burgess Boys is another great example of her artistry. She has an affectionate way of drawing her characters that gives you an understanding and appreciation for them that is slowly woven into the story line. Se is a master and I was sorry when this story ended but look forward to her expertise in whatever she sets out to do in the future.
I went to camp,made good friends and grew up on the east coast so this book was an okay read. The characters were well drawn but almost too pat and the story sagged in the middle which I believe is one of the possible shortcomings for a story that takes place over so many years. I enjoyed it and didn't stop reading it, but I wouldn't highly recommend it.
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