I simply can't listen to Simon Vance reading this book about a boy from India in Burma. I completely enjoyed Vance's performances of other books, especially the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, so I did not hesitate to buy this. Unfortunately, I had just finished listening to The Far Pavilions, set in India and perfectly rendered by Vikas Adam. His accents were marvelous. I would not know if they were completely accurate, but I do know that Simon Vance sounding like an elderly Scandinavian is all wrong to read The Glass Palace.
The premise of the Japanese girl's diary floating to shore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox is great. The story in the diary and especially the story of Ruth reading the diary, lacks direction or even the least interest.
Stigmatized and uninformed comments such as, "These ronin were scary dudes, kind of like what the homeless guys living under tarps in ... park might turn into if you gave them really sharp swords" make this book offensive. I've only listened to 1:18 of this book but there are multiple cynical remarks about suicide, and a reference to "shooters high on Zoloft."
My theory is that writers use material related to mental illness when they are short on ideas. They also assume they can write about homeless people or suicidal people based on their on common sense. Research is just for local color such as the maid bars in Tokyo.
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