As I've always found with Winchester, there is a marvelous combination of rigorous history and anecdotal context. It's like looking at the workings of a mechanical clock - the outside is smooth, functional, every changing and easy to understand. There are glimpses of the research and original documents that give the book heft. I enjoyed the interview with the author at the end.
I became courious about this book upon reading a glowing review in the Washington Post. I came away from my listen with a couple of impressions - first, that this was probably an elaborate introduction to characters that I was expected to get to know better over the course of many many sequels (B is for Blind, C is for Copy cat, D is for Divorse...... It also seemed as if I was listening to vignettes carefully culled from a portfolios of writing assignment -- the women on her first date, the wild child (do me Bily) who knows she'll settle down eventually, the abused wife making a run for it...... These story poems are vivid and enjoyable but ultimatly feel appended to the story rather than integral to it. On the positive side -- the images are relatively compact and it's possible to be diverted temporarily without losing momentum. I was reminded of some of the riffs in a Travis McGee book. The author doesn't yet have the confidence to dole these out more sparingly. Ultimately, the reviewer did the author a dis=service in setting my expectations too high -- then again I'm looking forward to Mr Shuman's
I really enjoyed this audio -- the various readers helped distinguish the various voices and perspectives. The "actring vs reading" balance was just right, I immediately went out to buy the book itself -- a KEEPER !
The stories are of a genre (laconic but good exposition and then Whamo) Perfect for those down times (on the train, the line at the supermarket) when a short story is just the ticket. My frustration was that when I had even less time than one short story -- I found it hard to find my place again. The stories are good but listening to the last page over so that one can find the next story is frustrating. I would't recomend listening to all in sequence -- they are too similar. Hey audible -- what would you think of selling a set of short stories one could download one story at a time ?
I enjoyed the historical accuracy, technical/historical descriptions, moral quandries and lryical writing. However, this firm foundation was lavishishly decorated with a flimsy tattered (but ultimately unrevealing) bodice ripper with (thankfully) less graphic sex than is usual to the genre. I suspect a younger reader (say 13/14) would enjoy it more. The storm scenes, the slightly para-normal scenes, the evil dark revengeful rejected suiter scenes, the tearful reunion scenes, the frolicing in Eden scenes, the almost being violated scenes, the discovery (which an alert reader could have anticipated by about 20 chapters) that the "kinship between them was more than it seemed" scene.....it all got a little cloying to say the least! Beth
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