I read this story many years ago, so the events depicted were not new to me. The narrator brings great gentleness and beauty to the writing, though. I loved it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this well-crafted novel - can't believe it was the author's debut work. The narrator was perfect too. It is more of an emotional than an adventurous journey, and Blair Brown tells it very well and with obvious understanding of the intent behind the author's words. Chick lit? No, definitely not, even though the main characters are women.
If you prefer your books action-driven, fast-paced, more linear, chronological, this is probably not for you, although the war action is there in all its devastating detail. The story alternates between events in Iraq in 2004-2005 and alienation and repercussions back home in the US afterwards. The narrator did a very good job of portraying the internal voice of the young soldier. The story, as it is pieced together, is heart-breaking. What takes this book way beyond the usual war novel is the exquisite writing. One of my favourite books this year.
I would've ended it properly. It seems the author ran out of time, perhaps because of deadline pressure. Most disappointing.
All of the men are perfectly done. The women less so, and Claire sounds like an airhead sometimes. But the narrator is very good nonetheless.
I really was disappointed about the sudden ending. Especially since this is not a series with the next instalment coming up soon. If one is going to wait so long for the next book in the series, at least leave the main threads neatly tied up. I do believe the author ran out of time - we know she has no qualms spending pages and pages on details. But in the last part of this book, she brushes over most issues as if they have no real significance. Pity.
The author is brilliant at devising twists and turns and connecting the dots. The book is well narrated, as are the others. But the book directly before this one in the series is unavailable, which means there are important gaps to contend with anyway, and then the abrupt ending.
Depends on the friend's reading tastes... If you are more interested in whodunnit, then this drawn out account is probably not for you. If you appreciate truly excellent writing alongside many unravelings of exactly the same events, then yes, I very highly recommend this book. And if you are likely to appreciate a most remarkable reading/rendition in terms of accents and eccentricities and atmosphere, then yes, I highly recommend this book to you.
When the older brother writes about the day of the double murders to his younger sibling. Almost every single description of Watson is memorable. All those downtrodden women are memorable. The overall impression of the islands is amazing too. Of course, the racism is gut wrenching and most revealing of place and time.
I am not American, so I should probably not attest to accents, but to my ear they were authentic, real - that's what I think people in the deep South sound like. His reading was astonishing, not an easy task considering the quirkiness of characters. Perfect all in all. He definitely draws one in and keeps one present in ways the printed book cannot achieve.
EJ Watson, by far, but it is the other characters that make him compelling. I suppose I wanted him to come out of it okay, not a murderous swine. Those were hard times, the place was harsh, clearly, and all the men seemed ... hard? So within those parameters, and even though I knew Watson had done some terrible things, I didn't want him to be merely evil. I also think his sense of humour was too intelligent for his neighbours to grasp. :-)
I love Peter Matthiessen's work. And I would love to see more of his books on Audible. "In the spirit of Crazy Horse" was just as astonishing in terms of vast research and intelligent writing and gripping story-telling.
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