"Fun" "dreamy" "well read"!?.... This book was painful in so many ways. The concept was intriguing and the collection of characters was great. BUT... the author could have done so much more to create tension between the contrasting intimacy of Clare/Henry and his disconnect with so much of life trapped in linear time. Also - Henry's nudity problem in time travel was so tedious and repetitive and distracting I could hardly stand it. Added NOTHING to the story.
The author's descriptions of the relationship between Clare and Henry alternated between sublime,poetic at some points, and utterly crude at others. One of the terms Clare used in describing her own body is so viscerally pejorative that I stopped liking her then and there. And what was up with the "love scene" in the kitchen with Gomez and Clare? I actually really liked Gomez until this jarringly ugly scene.
As for the readers - Clare was tone deaf; Henry was gratingly nasal and too often sounded bored and condescending. The biggest problem I had with them though was the amazing frequency of mispronounced words. Where were the editors???? In one chapter, Henry pronounces a word incorrectly the first go-round, then corrects it later on.... Huh? Go back and edit the damned first mispronunciation! It seemed so lazy.
Spoiler alert - my favorite movie of all time was "Moonstruck." And it was so because of lines like this told by a crotchety old man in a very awkward moment. I'm a shmuck for characters and stories like this. No apologies. But I also tread fearlessly into the darker narratives in life (Hell, I'm a military psychologist!) and this book was almost unbearable towards the end. I kept hoping for some denouement; some event or epiphany that would make the suffering and plodding despair worth the hours of listening. Didn't happen. Give us something to ponder, to hold in our hearts, to be rocked off course by. Don't just keep putting heavier rocks in the backpack. OK, Ok, OK. The setting was starkly gorgeous; the storyline complex and compelling. But the lives of almost every single character in this too long saga were about human ugliness, loss, disconnection, alienation, failures, and final yielding to the detached hopelessness of it all. For crying out loud, the only poignancy we were offerred was in the form of a final trite image of whatever life lies beyond because we sure weren't getting any in this life from Ms. Coplin. NOBODY who isn't John Irving (actually my favorite author) should write a book with this depth of unrelieved despair.
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