I was excited to read this new offering from McLarty as I really enjoyed Memory of Running. Traveler definitely stands up on its own – deeply engaging characters, great dialogue, and endlessly interesting scenery descriptions. There’s a lot from MofR in here as well .... subtle references such as the Ide retirement home etc. that reference his first book … not to mention the same location, time period, Vietnam War injuries etc. But where MofR excelled – a slow, beautifully timed reveal combined with the compelling transformation of the main character – this book falls way short. In the end, Traveler just doesn’t travel very far. The story starts with great promise, then fizzles into an embarrassingly clich? ending (yes, the villain insists on telling all at the height of the final conflict.. what a surprise). The last third of this book needed more time to write, and a much better ending. McLarty’s narration, as always, is absolutely top notch. Hopefully McLarty’s next book will live up to the promise of his first.
Booker Prize nominees rarely disappoint and this is no exception ... deeply engaging characters and plot immersed in a fascinating historical setting -- very reminiscent of the Aubrey-Maturin novels. Excellent narration.
This was a really interesting one to read after the Hummingbird's Daughter ... the Mexican characters are highly engaging and well developed, but the white Americans are a bit stock. Regardless, this is book is absolutely worth reading just to get a better understanding of the horror and hopelessness of trying to climb out of abject poverty.... it's very sobering.
Wow .. what an astoundingly good book. I had no idea the writing would be so accessible, and at the same time so profound. It is truly a rare thing! I’m left cursing myself for not having read Hemingway years ago. Spend a few minutes refreshing the basics of the Spanish Civil War before jumping in .. then enjoy the ride. Look forward especially to the lengthy description of the smell of death ….it’s a master class in descriptive prose.
What an odd book. It was great to read a novel translated from Japanese, something I’d never done before. And it was fun to connect the dots with my own travels in Japan. Certainly the sense of loneliness and struggle experienced by the characters comes through achingly clear in the translation. However, the extensive, uh, “romance” scenes, are translated in a most anatomically correct manner, making them more painfully comic than erotic or sensuous. Given that these scenes represent much of the bond between the various characters, it made the depth of relationship and interdependence hard to believe. Maybe that's how they were actually written? I was left wishing I could read the book in Japanese. I do plan to try another Murakami book, but likely one of his more mystical ones…
The author says this book took 20 years to write - and it shows. Thoroughly engrossing, beautifully written, and fully realized with a depth of detail that makes lesser writing seem thin and contrived. The narration by the author is a great bonus.
The story within the story is superb, but the story itself is painfully tedious. The main character is nauseatingly self-obsessed and terminally boring… and the audio narrator doesn’t do her any favors. By the end of the book, I was completely fed up with both of them. The only reason I kept going was because the other “story” and audio narrator were so good. Overall, though, I’m not sure it was worth the pain.
I originally purchased this book for my 7-year-old daughter, but ended up sneaking the player away from her in the mornings so I could listen to it on my commute. Whatever the Gold Standard is in Kid Lit, this book exceeds it: hugely entertaining, totally original, and with a powerful message about opening your eyes to the world. (My daughter has already started talking about first and second thoughts!) It’s definitely going to be required reading for my other kids… and it won’t be a hard job at all to convince them to pick this one up…. The narration is also very good…. Now I’m off to download the sequel...we're both eager to find out what happens next.
This is a fun listen .. but nothing more than the book equivalent of the latest action movie. If that's what you're looking for, then you'll enjoy it ...
An absolute marathon listen … but if you have the patience to slog through it, this book has the potential to dramatically change the way you comprehend the world and your place in it. Loved the line about how similar humans and bananas really are…
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