Writing varies from monotonous to pretty good. Seems like the author spent a lot more time on some scenes than others. The "...and then a few weeks passed" plot device is used with astonishing frequency. Able to keep your interest til the end even if it doesn't blow you away.
Saw another review that described it as "porn for bloggers" which I think is a fairly apt statement. Defiantly a little over the top in the blogger power fantasy department, especially near the beginning.
The suspense is quite real in some areas, but not all the time. So much of the foreshadowing of the book is so blatant that you're rarely (if ever) ever completely surprised.
The narration is absolutely awful. While the main narrators speech impediment didn't bother me as much as it did some reviewers, the accents she attempts for some of the characters sound so much like someone doing a satire that it breaks any atmosphere or suspense. Also, if you have two narrators, you can have them both doing all the characters, it's confusing, especially when both attempt accents and fail terribly, but fail terribly in very different ways so one character has about seven different voices.
If you can get past the narration issues, you could do a lot worse in a novel. I don't think it's going to make any critical acclaim, but it's not bad. If bad narration bothers you, maybe pick up a text version.
Couldn't make it through more than half and hour of the book before the narrator's voice broke me. I'm a big fan of Pynchon, but this is totally unacceptable. Where was Peguin's QA on this. No one could have listened to this an thought that this was acceptable.
Beyond the very obvious speech impediment, the narrator delivers every line in the same tone. Sentences and paragraphs blur together making it nearly impossible to understand the story even if you're focusing on nothing but the book.
Wish I had read the reviews before I got this.
I've seen this book in so many "must read" lists that I felt a little underwhelmed by it. It wasn't bad, an enjoyable listen; but I think it's a little over-hyped. It's really no fault of the books that I was expecting more, and I don't really hold that against it.
This is the only 'Noir' novel I've ever read, but if it's the quintessential one, I probably won't read many more. As I said, it was enjoyable to listen to, but a relatively forgettable story. There are books you can recall indefinitely almost line for line having read them once; I'm writing this review a month or so after having listened, and I'm having trouble remember the major plot points, much less the scenes or dialogue. Every moment of struggle or tension is ruined by about the halfway mark because every encounter is ruined by Sam's almost omnipotent induction. Every time there's any mystery or intrigue, Sam figures it out and explains it before it's starts getting interesting.
Oh, and the love interest sub-plot is totally shoe-horned in and about 90% of it takes place in the last tenth of the book and had been so utterly nonexistent throughout the novel that when there was suddenly a huge (as in minutes upon minutes) of dialogue about it, conversation carries absolutely no weight or emotion. It just felt forced and awkward.
All of these issues aside, it was entertaining, just not as timeless as I was led to believe. A passing diversion that was (perhaps owing to my lack of 'noir' reading) different enough to keep me from becoming bored.
The performance was good. Almost all the reviews I've read said that the narrator tried to make the voices too much like the movie. Having never seen the movie I'm not sure if this is true or not. But each character did have their own unique voice, which is something I wish more narrators would do. Reading, it's easier to go back and figure out who is talking during lengthy back-and-forth discussion, but it's very difficult in audio format. So if there are large sections of dialogue (especially with more than 2 people) where the 'he said's and 'she said's are (properly) omitted for the sake of redundancy, it can be easy to get lost when the narrator reads each character in the same tone as all the others. And so I am grateful for the colorful, if often a bit overacted, narration.
This book is well written (incredibly written really) but is equally hard to follow if you're not giving it your full attention. I get audio books to listen to as I'm walking or doing chores, so there are occasions were I'm not focused entirely on the book I'm listening too. Unfortunately with this book if you lose track of the story for even a moment it is incredibly hard to figure what you missed. This means a lot of going back which can be frustrating.
That being said I did love the parts that I knew what was going on. Characters are well written, colorful and varied. On that note, there are A LOT of characters. The book spans generations, and Pynchon jumps back and forth between different character arcs without warning, another reason it's hard to keep track of. huge variety of local all well described.
The narration was good, never really wow'd me but never detracted from the story either. He also kinda sounds like Stan Lee, which works better for some parts than others.
Obviously take my review with a grain of salt, I only made it through the first part and a half before I began to completely lose track of what was going on. May come back to it again when I've got the time to devote to it.
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