I too was puzzled by the previous reviews which characterized this work as anti-Jewish. I can see how such conclusions could be reached, but only by those who might be seeking such conclusions. For example, the speech given by the adviser to the President at the Harvard Jewish group I thought could have been tempered. But still, it seemed to me to be more of an indictment against uninformed intellectuals than the Jewish people.
Also, it was a bit strange that the premise of the book pitted a Jewish extremist group against a Palestinian (Islamic)extremist group. While there are some Jewish, terroristic, extremist groups they are minute in comparison to the extremism on the Palestinian side.
For these reasons, I can see how could some could see it as anti-Jewish. But overall, I did not come to that conclusion. What I enjoy about Littell is the extended philosophical dialogue between characters. And Scott Brick does an excellent job in narrating this. If you listen to these dialogues, it should be clear that the tone of the book is not anti-Jewish.
But, perhaps, the flaw is that it seems to place the blame equally on both sides. The fact is that when the Israelis cease their operations in Palestinian controlled territories, the attacks from Palestinians continue. This undermines the very title of the book, "Vicious Circle" which intimates that it is a tit for tat which perpetuates the violence. This could also be a reason some see it as anti-Jewish.
But, I think, there is enough "tit for tat" in the conflict to support the premise of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the dialogue and action throughout. It was a very good listen.
I loved, "The Company," and was not dissatisfied after listening to "Vicious Circle." "The Company" still remains my favorite, but I do recommend this work to all who enjoy intrigue with thoughtful dialogue.
I am Babcock
Alisha, or known as Leish. She's a get it done kind of girl.
2 credits now.
Five stars because it is so well done and left me hanging on for the next chapter to see what unfolded.
"Horrors" because it is horrific, terribly disturbing, sad, and depressing in many ways. The Hollywood ending, though, kind of took the sting off a little, kind of bringing you back to reality by realizing that this is just fiction. I don't think that's saying too much.
That could be interpreted in any number of ways and I still don't think most will be able to figure it out. And it's not the kind of book where you are trying to figure out the ending, but you're surprised when you get there.
I have not read any Chaon books so did not know his style, but I enjoyed the way he told this story. It is not about "identity-theft" but rather the personalities of those who find themselves entwined in the lives of these identity thieves. They could have just as well been common criminals, but the fact they are identity thieves makes it more interesting and relevant to our time. The three main characters are involved, in one way or another, with these thieves in some dysfunctional manner because of a character flaw of his or her own.
It is a book that could studied, and essays written, about the characters and all of the symbolic references and so forth, upbringing, and what have you, about their lives and what leads them to become what they are. It is close to a five star on my scale.
Enjoyed almost every minute of it. Excellent story, excellent storytelling. I loved the details.
If you grew up in the 1980's, came from a mid to upper-class family, maybe attended a private high school, or went to an exclusive college, you will probably find much to relate to in this book. Especially if you were of the type that hung out in the smoke holes and ran with the wrong crowd.
Not to say that anything of this dark tragedy ever occurred in my experiences, but I can definitely relate to the characters and a lot of their experiences.
I enjoyed the narration. At first I was annoyed by Edmond's, "Bunnie's," voice but after awhile I began to look forward to when he would speak. There was a very slow part during an event I cannot let onto without being a spoiler. But way too much time was spent at this event that didn't seem to serve much purpose.
I found myself getting angry at times for not getting more info about various things which cannot be mentioned to avoid spoilers. But it is hard to turn this one off. Just because it is a page-turner, though, doesn't automatically make it excellent. So I gave it a good. I really would have liked more literary dialogue and description.
I thought I knew how it was going to end, for the most part, with a few different scenarios. But I was wrong. The ending was quite the surprise and I was glad for that, though, sad it is.
What a concept of people being incorporated from birth. Very original if this had not been thought up before. I can't remember anything similar being portrayed in book or film. As long as the book was, it would need to have been much longer to cover all the detail for me to give it 5 stars. But I was very glad I used my monthly credit to get this one.
The "virtual museum" was almost terrifying. I almost had to pull over to listen to that. Sorry, can't give any clues about it or would be a spoiler.
It's full of legal language, motions, sidebars, etc. but I found it to be interesting for someone not involved in that world. I tried this once before with a book about a Supreme Court clerk and it failed miserably. This one mixes court room drama with a complex subject. Having the legal and technical knowledge to write such a book was great.
Sometimes I spend more than a couple of hours trying to decide which book I'm going to get with my monthly credit. It's always a big decision. It's difficult taking into consideration the different reviews. Assuredly, some books that have bad reviews I have liked very much. What I have to do is consult reviews of the print edition of the books from newspapers like the NYT Book Review. But they are not always reliable for my discernment as well. I have to take all of it into consideration when coming to a final decision. It is somewhat painful but rewarding to find good reads and know my credit was not wasted. I literally have to set aside an hour or two to find a book.
As horrible as the enemy was in this book, I found myself wanting to hear what "The Lion" would say or do next. His cool and meticulous behavior is as entertaining as the fun humor exhibited in the main character of anti-terrorist task force member John Corey. A former NYC cop who works along side FBI and CIA agents kept me laughing at every turn. And the story is serious, but Corey is just one of those tragic comedian heroes.
If you are well-read in spy and detective stories you will especially find the humorous comparisons Corey draws between the behaviors and habits of FBI vs cops vs. CIA, entertaining. And it's not a major part of the story. Just little things he throws in here and there. I had to hold onto the wheel as I drove a few times from laughing. But as I said it is a serious book, and is ominous in light of the fact that it was written before 9/11.
While I don't agree with all of the author's conclusions, implied as they may be, I learned much from this book as a left brain. And while I am what would be called "pro-life," on the abortion issue, Dr. Gazzaniga presents the debate in a way that really forces one to think it through without emotion.
The question of when life begins, in terms of the brain is really out there. It's kind of like looking up at the stars on a clear night and wondering how it all began.
But the book covers many other aspects of the brain, behavior, and ethical implications which are well thought out and presented. If anybody thinks that George Bush was "anti-science" they should take a listen to this by a man who was appointed by Bush to his Council on Bioethics.
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