Like most people my age, I grew up learning that the Roman Empire fell by rotting from within and this book certainly posits that as its premise. But I always love the idea of putting feet on history by making at least a few characters very real and relatable. The book definitely does that - making the sights, sounds, decisions and relationships of the time period come alive, even if the "answers" are a bit pat.
You can tell why it's a classic. Lots of layers to the story and just as fun to hear the second time after reading it so long ago.
She did a great job with keeping things interesting and telling her own story without sounding like a gossip.
Very realistic and a great reader. Sometimes getting so thoroughly into someone else's head is just as tedious as being in my own though :-)
This is the first book in 50 or 60, that I just can't finish. It sounds like it probably has a good plot, but it's all driven by one dialog after another, giving long, history accounts to fill us in on where we are. Too tedious to finish. I know it has to be a good book. Just not my style I guess.
The author did a great job of making you feel like you knew people you'd barely met. Fun story.
The reader was great and I love classic science fiction, so I would recommend this to a friend. I was disappointed that all the plot and character development that seemed so important in the middle of the story line seemed to rush to a finish. It may be a style of that time or the genre at that time, but I wished the strength of the tale and the people in it had kept that momentum till the end. Maybe it's the author's comment on all of us and our lives - we just sort of drizzle out and stop?
I was really surprised that none of the readers' comments warned me that this is just a romance novel. I thought it started off with some potential, but the bottom line is women are always there for each other; there are a few bad apples in the male population, but if you just hang in there the perfect guy will come along. He will always be big and strong. Always rescue you - whether you're sick or broke or hurt by another guy. And the best part, they are all perfect lovers who kiss you, worship you and take all the time in the world to be certain of your pleasure. There's no doubt that Carr is a great writer - her descriptiveness, about anything besides men, is captivating and imaginative. But this was a waste of time. You could stop way early in the book and just end with "and they all lived happily ever after." It was also disconcerting to be a third generation Californian and wonder if she even googled the area. Times and spaces (and counties) are way off. It's the first time I've written a disappointed review, but this was just plain shallow....unless you're a romance novel junkie, in which case you'll love it.
I loved the story line, up to the end. The reader really made it first class with the voices, accents and languages. The way the ends tied together at the closing were a little Dickensonian for me - too tidy for real life, but the rest drew me in.
The only other time I've enjoyed the author reading as much was when Alice Walker read Possessing the Secret of Joy. Amazing ability to do accents and voices. The story is so complex and well-researched that you can't tell where reality stops and the story begins.
Keeping the story moving is not an easy task in a novel which specifically carries the major suspense of the story to the end. Generally, I get bored with the wait when the big moment comes close to the end, but the author did a great job of making the story itself even more central than the outcome. It helped me handily through several long commutes!
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