East Coast | Member Since 2012
Junot Diaz's writing is extremely fresh, new, and immensely entertaining. Yunior, the recurring narrator throughout most of these stories, is a character unlike any other I've come across. The writing here, especially the Dominican street talk, is vivid.
While I liked the book overall, I gave the story itself only three stars. For me, the stories, detailing Yunior's romantic relationships, and the inevitable breakups, got a little repetitive. I really liked the stories about Yunior's childhood, the coldness of his father, the mother's obliviousness, and the stories of Rafa's (Yunior's brother) sad end. Yunior's chronic infidelities are interesting at first, but I eventually just got tired of hearing about them in almost every story. In one of the last stories, Yunior claims to have cheated on one long-time girlfriend over 50 times. At that point, the reader has read so much about cheating that it elicits only a shrug.
The writing is so good here. I just wish other characters would have had more voice, and that relationship issues other than infidelity would have figured into the stories.
I liked this book a lot til about half way through, but it kind of jumped the shark for me towards the end. The courtroom scenes are not remotely plausible, with the judge taking into deeper consideration "evidence" that is completely unrelevant to the legal proceedings. The ending also wrapped things up to quickly-- both the personal relationships and the "custody" situation-- in a way that was not believable to me.
In the past couple of years my work has involved some travel to Japan. I've found a general scarcity of books on present day Japan-- most titles are about War World II. I found this book highly informative and it made me re-think many preconceptions I had about Japan. This is the best non-fiction I've found on present day Japan.
The narrator was okay. At the beginning I found his voice monotonous, but I did become used to it and finished the book.
I absolutely adored two other books by Ann Patchett: State of Wonder and Bel Canto. If you are new to the author, pick one of those books as your introduction. I would give both five stars.
This book wasn't bad at all, but I had a hard time caring as much about the characters. There was a little too much "magic" in this book for me in the form of very involved flashbacks that bordered on magical realism. I could also never really understand why the very appealing heroine would decide to spend decades of her life so intimately connected with her gay husband who was openly in love with another man.
16 minutes was simply not enough. There were some interesting vignettes-- but not much more. I appreciate that Audible offers the interview for free, but it would be much more worthwhile to offer a longer format that could be more substantive. I'd like to hear more from James Lee Burke, so why not give him a full half hour?
The narration by Will Patton is truly excellent, and the writing is mesmerizing. This book is particularly recommended if you have any connection, however remote, to the Pacific Northwest. The story makes one reflect on the harshness of life in remote communities, and the writing was so strong the words quickly flowed by, leaving beautiful, sad images. You can finish the book in a couple of hours, but the images remain long afterwards.
I didn't laugh or cry, but was struck by the vividness of the writing.
This is a terrific novel, and the narrator is one of the best I have heard to date. Neville Jason changes between the character seamlessly. His reading is dramatic, but not over-the-top.
Obviously the story is a commitment, but it is a worthy one. Get through the first few hours and you will be hooked.
I don't have any complaints about this audio book. The story is timeless. I think many a reader will hear echoes of their former selves in the characters of the two young men.
The narration was quite good-- no frills, straight-forward and well-suited to the book.
The narrator's reading voice is very dark and haunting, and frankly, a little overdone. The story has been fantastic, and I've gotten used to the narrator's voice when he reads for male characters. However, his voice for the female characters is like nails on a chalkboard to me--- almost offensively high pitched and absolutely grating.
I suspect Wilkie Collins fans will greatly enjoy this book. If you are big fan, ignore my criticisms below. My chief complaint is with the story itself rather than the audiobook. Without spoiling the story, I'll say only that I thought the plot and ending were rather silly, with a series of far-fetched circumstances and bizarre twists at the end. I greatly preferred Wilkie Collins' "Woman in White" audiobook because it is a darker, yet more interesting story with better plot development.
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