First, Michael C. Hall did an excellent job on the narration, lending a personality and voice to each character. You always know when the narrator does a great job when you lose track of him in the characters; that is, you forget that this guy speaking is the guy on that Dexter TV show. You don't remember the narrator until the audio is near finished. I wish I could give more than 5 stars. This narration job is up there with Will Patton's best work and at times is even better.
As for the Book,
I'd always seen the commercial highlights/trailer for the movie version of "Breakfast at Tiffany's," and the phrase is even iconic of that era and place. Yet, I'd never seen the movie or read the book--until now. I didn't know what to expect besides basically the description on the audible version of the book - the basic storyline. So I know if I say too much here in the review of the couple of twists and the ending, I'll be spoiling the enjoyment of this audio for another listener.
With that in mind, Truman Capote's masterful short novel displays this young lady's complexities of character underlying the shallow facade. Some can rise above the admixture of nature and nurture and dream so much they will follow it to the ends of the earth. Holly Golightly was a dreamer extraordinaire or as Capote put it, a "lopsided romantic" whose trait of personality would never change.
A poignant line which I think captures a major theme of the novel is Holly's observation that:
"it's better to look at the sky than live there; such an empty place, so vague, just a country where the thunder goes and things disappear."
I've read somewhere that Capote ran in the same circles as Marilyn Monroe and parts of Holly Golightly are loosely based on Norma Jean's personality and her early years. I don't know if that's true, but it sounds right, based on what I know.
I must add my thoughts that an outcast sissy-boy from Monroeville, Alabama at the time (and even today) was likely extremely sensitive and keenly observant of his environment in the Big Apple and the fact that he was also a gay man from down South up in the big city probably served to further enhance his remarkable attention to details in that society at that time. The difficulties he endured in those years likely integrated into his makeup as an artist who could and would so vividly paint the outsider trying to fit in with the clouds, "an empty place," as it turns out, "where the thunder goes and things disappear."
Professor Corrigan, book critic for NPR and Georgetown professor, loves THE GREAT GATSBY, as do I. I devoured her delightful, didactic book on how and why it's the **Great American Novel** because, among other things, it splendidly captured Americans' quotidian desires for the *American dream,* our desire for desire ("there are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired") and our quixotic belief, or perhaps subconscious romanticizing, that we can somehow recapture or relive the past, especially past loves (as Gatsby said to Nick, "Can't repeat the past? ... Why of course you can!").
------- "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--to-morrow we will run faster, stretch our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning------
-------- "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
Ms. Corrigan also provides a scintillating exploration of the author's tragic life and death and why, like many supremely talented artists before him, F. Scott Fitzgerald died in the depths of depression and perceived by himself and many others as a mediocre, has-been, with the splendor of his masterpiece unrecognized (by most) until several years after his death and yet endures as the most studied piece of literature in U.S. secondary education.
I highly recommend this book if you enjoyed The Great Gatsby or if you are fascinated with early 20th century America.
This book started out wonderfully. If the author had stuck to her plan stated in the first several pages of the book, it could well have been helpful and inspiring. And yet, her smugness and self-aggrandizing babel get the better of her and ruin this book, which becomes all about Ms. McArdle and her personal and political views, rather than a book that gives advice or even anecdotes about those who have succeeded after failure, how they did it or how and *why failing well is the key to success*.
I didn't get to the last 3 chapters. I had suffered far too long, deciding instead to cut my costs and fail well.
The secret: concentrate on ONE thing at a time.
How does it take 5 1/2 hours to get to ONE Firm Grasp?
Add ONE happy song, ONE ton of guitar filler and (my ONE compliment to the authors is their skill to) say ONE thing ONE Hundred different ways.
I wish someone would answer the question arising every time I hear the author destroying all his/her excellent written work by narrating it: Is the author a narcissist or that strained financially to do something so self-destructive? Ronson, so talented as a writer, is terrible as a narrator with that SUPERSOFT sleep-inducing voice.
This is my first time...
To compliment the narrator first. She made the Girl protagonist, Jess/Deanna, come to life, leap out of the speakers live before my internal dilated pupils, dry mouth and accelerating heartbeat.
While certain aspects of this book appear to border on fantasy, and I would have liked to explore further the Girl's character, this book was fun, a frisky tryst from some of the heavier lit on the market, as suspenseful as today's typical fare in the genre and certainly MUCH more arousing.
Ms. Torre changed the derivation of her name to A.R. from Alessandra for this book, ostensibly so it would not be viewed as purely in the erotica genre (like her last several novels). This is not erotica, though I am guessing it has a number of the same elements. A.R. Torre has a bright future if she can continue the hard task of blending erotica into suspense. She undeniably has the special combination of writing talent, creativity and pure heat to deliver a blockbuster as good as or maybe better than Gillian Flynn's. She's well on her way.
This book is all over the place and the characters boring, thus I couldn't care less about the answer to the mysteries (case histories), now nearly 2/3 of the way through the book.
Like Waffle House hashbrowns, an appropriate way to describe this book is:
CHUNKED, DICED, SMOTHERED, PEPPERED, COVERED
This book was okay, but it felt to me very much like a short story stretched into a novel. It just didn't work for me. That doesn't mean it won't work for you.
You have to hang with this for about 9 hours before things start rushing at a rapid pace. During the first 9, I almost gave up numerous times because it seems so scattered and disconnected with no plot. But, you should trust the author. It is all related and set-up for the show: the race to try to prevent a realistic terrorist threat to spread vaccine-busting small pox in the USA.
This is an excellent starter novel, a creative PI/picaresque story; cool, clever and sexy. I'm pleased to have happened upon this series. I have already bought the 2d, THE TRAIL TO BUDDHA'S MIRROR; and am hopeful it doesn't lose the rhythm like some other series I've dropped after reading the second.
In the 2d half of my 40s, I've been on a kick to read as many prized literary novels as I can. I've been particularly interested in reading such novels set in the South. This novel, set in Tennessee, won the 1958 Pulitzer Prize for Literature. It has caused me to question whether I should do a cost-benefit analysis before reading certain prized novels.
In my literary endeavor, many times I've enjoyed what I've read and some novels have required hard work and a second reading to appreciate (e.g., The Sound and the Fury). And, then there have been a couple like A DEATH IN THE FAMILY, that made me wonder why I should force myself to experience a story of an event and aftermath so painful to endure in reality, a story that nearly all of us suffer through at least a few times in our life if we are lucky enough to make it to middle age. This novel, as you can tell from the title, is a story of a rural family dealing with the death of the father and husband and brother and son to the respective surviving family members.
I have had a hard enough time surviving the painful ordeal of the death of an immediate family member. While I can appreciate the literary quality of this novel, I've come to the conclusion that life is just too short and my reading time too limited to spend hours and hours of my time vicariously living through such intimate agony and sadness at and as the story's very center.
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