Wilton Barnhardt has produced something rare and beautiful with "Lookaway, Lookaway." Hilarious at times, tragic at others (and sometimes both at once), it is a compelling, compassionate portrait of a certain kind of family, and a certain kind of culture, and the mammoth pile of secrets needed to keep them both from crumbling. Buy it, already!
Oh, and the narration is great too :)
"Untamed State" is beautifully, skillfully written and narrated. Roxane Gay creates such vivid, living--dying--characters that you're hooked almost from the beginning in SPITE of (not due to) the graphic subject matter. Although there's a lot of unspeakable violence throughout the novel, it is handled tastefully; you get the sense that the narrator is telling you this because it is necessary for you to hear, and for her to tell. You are not left feeling like a voyeur.
Robin Miles does a wonderful job with the narration. I'm no expert, but it seemed to me that her accents and character voices were right on target.
Fair warning: This book is not for the faint of heart, and it is EXTREMELY triggering. For me, personally, listening was sort of re-traumatizing, but also therapeutic. Listen at your own risk, and make sure there is at least one person you know whom you can talk to if necessary.
I was actually directed to this book and this author by a brilliant lit professor of mine. And I suppose I might recommend it as well, but then I might not. The writing itself is more than competent, quietly funny, and the characters feel very authentic. But this is not a book for someone looking to lose herself in a lively adventure, succumb to side-splitting, tear-jerking, sleeplessness, or nail-biting. It follows its own pace, and reads almost like memoir, despite being written in the 3rd person. Barrie does a good job with the narration (which seems particularly tricky in this novel) though her take on the American accent is somewhat, er... different. A sort of female John Wayne. Overall, the book is solid. Likable, but for me... not quite lovable.
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