I usually love "linked" story collections, but would go with "Let the Great World Spin" or "Olive Kitteridge" instead.
Jonathan Todd Ross did a great job bringing Gary's work to life. If I had been reading instead of listening, I might have struggled with the Russian words, so this was a good one to listen to. The ending falters a bit, becoming the typical "how I became a successful writer" story, which is why it was a four-star and not a five-star listen. This is a fairly negligible complaint, because most of the book is excellent.
Engaging writing, well observed and funny. But the premise--a group of American soldiers being honored at a Cowboys' game--couldn't quite sustain an entire novel. Lots of throat clearing and speechifying, and some unpleasing repetitions of action and event. A really wonderful concept wasn't quite as wonderful a listen.
Loved Eugenides' other books, but "The Marriage Plot" felt like a bad knockoff of Franzen's "Freedom" (re: college love triangle). And on the subject of ripping off better writers, Eugenides bases one of his lead characters on David Foster Wallace. Leonard is a super-smart bandana-wearing tobacco-chewing bipolar prodigy. I don't know if Eugenides intended this as homage or what, but it felt cheap and obvious.
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