This is not the type of book that can generate a juicy recommendation.
The prose in this book is very delicate, never mentioning the tragedie in Nagasaki directly.
The protagonist in this story (who is also the narrator) doesn't relate to her own experience directly, but only as a listener to her family at the time, and by watching a close friends attempt to move to 'America'.
Layer by Layer, it creats an intense picture.
The author (through this story) carefully tells a story about the old Japanese way, which trigered a lot of emotions in me. (as a non Japenese reader) and another emotional stroy about parental choices.
The narrator did a very good job.
I have to say, i was extremely sceptic when i started listening. when i was listening to the first few stories, the main impression was - come on - Alice Munro writes great literary short stories, The Curious case of Benjamin Button, is a brillian Novella, and F.S.F wrote more of those, why am i wasting my time on something that sounds like materials for a really funny, but still, at most a comic TV series?
When i reached a story about a dating war lord and a story about John Grisham, i started laughing out loud, and got other people to listen in with me.
As of the Artifical intelligence story, i started truely appreciating the writing (for more than some short sketch writing).
So for sceptic literature lovers - this is not F.S.F, or Alice Munro, or Raymond Carver, it's different, completely different.
Contemporary, i would say :-)
Touching, relevant, talks to the reader.
Most importantly - despite my reservations, i truely enjoyed the listen. (as the previous reviewer said, there's also a benfit of a brilliant performance, feels like it was written for an audio recording).
on a side note, the 3rd story - "no one goes to heaven to meet...." reminded me of a book i read by an Israeli Author - "The World of the End".
Very well written debut novel. I expect most reviewers would say the book is foremost a homage to The Great Gatsby and Breakfast at Tiffany's, but in addition to the tribute, the stroy in itself is fascinating.
You could say that while trying to follow the tradition of these great American writers Towels might be lacking in ingenuity, but I personally think that a writer should be a reader, at first. and when a writer pays tribute to his favorite novelists, it doesn't necessarily mean, he is giving up his own voice.
I much enjoyed this book in it's own, and the tribute to these great writers was a much enjoyable bonus.
Readers who love New York as i do (without ever living there), will be touched, by the referance to "Autumn in New York".
I highly recommend this short novel. It is a very well written story about innocent impression, that evokes sympathies that change as the 'girls' grow up.
I kept reminding myself that the book was published in the early 60's, but i'm not sure it required such reminders, being so much ahead of its time.
unlike the initial impression, i found in the book, much beyond the 'growing up' aspect.
It was especially touching, to recognize the author in 'Sandy', and realise that Spark was inspired by her own 'Miss Brodie in her prime'.
I have already read this book 10 years ago, and the listen now after all this time, made it seem completely different.
The novel was first released in the 80's, so the futuristic view did not consider mobile phones or Internet. which made me smile during the listen. It was a bit like reading classic Sci fi.
When i first read the novel, the views seemed extremely feminist, but now they seemd more profound - Women being the cause of reactionary social revolutions.
i have got really caught this time, in the causes of the Gileadian revolution, the views in this novel are much ahead of their time in this aspect.
However, i felt this time that something is missing in this dystopian story, The Handmaid's Tale presented in very good prose some brilliant social views (as always with Margaret Atwood's biological perspective), but on second read the novel seems incomplete in a way, and I do hope Margaret Atwood will complete it, at some point.
Impacable narration btw.
I have always thought i love Atwood mostly for 'The Blind Assassin', but after re-reading and listening to Cat's Eye (B. Caruzo narration), i am convinced that Cat's Eye is her greatest book.
The story gives a multi layer perspective on growing up, on how evil little children can be. on one hand the focus on the pure evil and lack of scrupulous in kids is chilling, on the other hand, in wider scope, it seems that the kids in the story are more complex, not entirely evil, but actually small naive beings imitating the actual evil they see in the world.
The story and its layers are intriguing, the prose is brilliant (even in comparison to other Atwood bests such as the blind assassin), and as usual not missing Margaret Atwoods modern/post feminist perspective layed out in later books in 'fantasy'/'scifi' format.
Those who have already read Ann Marry Macdonalds book 'The Way the Crow Flies' might conclude that Cat's Eye was a source of inspiration.
Since, i did not connect well with the Author in his previous book Middlesex, The Marriage Plot was a delightful surprise.
The story satisfied my attraction to 'growing up' novels, but there's more to it - the prose is sharp, the dive into each character is intriguing, and includes fun 'extra's for book lovers, who have a soft spot for Jane Austen/Brone Sisters.
The read gave me the feeling the book has autobiographic aspects in unexpected characters, and that the author put his heart and soul into it.
I am very likely to follow Jefferey Eugenides' writing from here on.
I had experienced some ups and downs throughout this read, i sticked by patiently, and was highly rewarded for it.
The prize offered includes, great fiction, an enchanting tale very well built, intrigues, thrills, action, complex characters and thought provoking ideas.
but i have to agree, that good editing would have done the series (and this book in particular), much good.
Despite the fact memoirs are not usually my cup of tea, I found this one fascinating and touching.
Tobias Wolff doesn't need my praise. I am much looking forward to finding his novel "Old School" in the audible catalogoue.
The book itself is very well written, amusing, and fascinating.
I didn't give it a five star rating since it does include a childish side to it, which doesn't harm the read/listen itself, but might make it a bit less memorable.
To my taste, the reference part wasn't a pretensious gimmick as i might have expected. The references were edgy and enjoyable.
Moreover, without spoiling - theres a good story under the twists in the main plot , which provides the extra required by book lovers.
I would recommend however, on getting the printed book in addition to the audiobooks, i enjoyed following the printed words occassionaly (despite the excellent narration), and the drawings make it a worth purchase.
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