prior to listening to this novel, i had happily listened to 64 hours of trollope over the course of one month. i thoroughly enjoyed all of the other novels, two of which were in the palliser series. while trollope did an excellent job of showing the inner workings of his detestable "heroine," his examples of her shallowness and lack of conscience became heavy-handed. it is always difficult to read a book where the reader comes to despise one or more of the main characters. listening to the end was a chore, because i didn't care about any of the main characters in this novel. however, i wanted to know the outcome of this story, in order to maintain continuity with other characters in the palliser series. Timothy West is a brilliant narrator, and his narration added richness to an otherwise tedious story.
I think it could only be enjoyed by someone who hasn't read the preceding Gabriel Allon novels. The first hour or so rehashes the character's history, and events that took place earlier in the series. At points, I wondered whether I had read this book already. After having listened to three long Allon novels, Death in Vienna comes across as formulaic. The author needs some new espionage themes, beyond discovering war criminals, conspiracies to cover up their crimes, and dishonesty within the Catholic church.
I would be careful about listening to a novel for which Mr. Lee is pressed to perform foreign accents. He an excellent reader in British English. However, his Israeli accent sounds like a speech impediment. He substitutes a "w" for an "r."
I would like to encourage the publisher/producer to hire more than one reader. Most readers can not carry off multiple accents, and/or play both female and male roles.
When listening to the book, I sometimes played back passages, to appreciate the descriptive language & details. At some points I was very plot-focused, and intent on finding out the next step in character dialogue and actions. Knowing the outcome of the plot now,I would listen again, to have a greater understanding of the writer's craft. I want to encourage anyone who reads this book to listen to Ms. Sepety's discussion of the research and writing process, an unadvertised feature after the music that concludes reading of the novel.
Hearing a book read out loud is a true test of its quality, as you want to savor every word in a good novel. I only listened to this book when I didn't have any distractions. For most books, I can do the equivalent of skimming, and drive or accomplish some housework. I am an adult, and I think this book stands on its own as an adult read.
This novel offers an intimate (but not sexually explicit!) view into the struggles of rich and poor, living in New Orleans in the 1950s. We gain insight into the idiosyncratic culture of New Orleans, class distinctions in the south & northeast, and the struggles of women trying to be independent before the women's lib movement. We understand the complexity of each character, driving his or her motivations for acts of acts of selfishness & generosity. The author's description of New Orleans and many other historical details weaved throughout the story are fascinating.
The colorful characters and dialog are a real strength of the novel, and the reader captures the dialect and personality of each character. The reader sounds like a 17-year old girl, which is the narrator's age. Yet she seamlessly switches between the characters. Josie's emotional development, in environment of hardship/social shame, is unique-- but not in gimmicky way.
This is my first Lauren Fortgang read.
Won't say, as I've tried not to include spoilers!
Do not be put off by the concept of the brothel. The book feels like a 1950s classic, as the narrator is more aware of sexual & criminal baseness than most other girls of her age, but she doesn't see behind closed doors. Fans of The Help may want to read this book. While classifying in a genre & comparing to another book is too simplistic, Out of the Easy is a coming-of-age story in the same era. Through the 17 year-old girl's search for her adult identity, we gain insight into the social complexities of an era.
I have listened to hundreds of audiobooks, and I have given only a few a triple five-star rating.
The title and first chapters are understated, as is the main character, Cora. Keep reading! We meet Cora as a naive young woman, living in Kansas in the early 20th century. She is bound by the painful constraints of her corset and expectations of propriety. Much of the story is set during an era with strictly enforced morality laws, against alcohol, birth control, cohabitation, and other perceived vices. We grow with Cora, as she explores issues of identity and develops wisdom.
Elizabeth McGovern brings authenticity to Cora's role. I grew up in the Midwest, with a grandmother of Cora's era. Often, I felt like I was listening to my grandmother's lessons on social propriety, and her reflections on social mores before 1960.
since the author lived in saudi arabia, as an american married to a saudi, she has first-hand knowledge of a woman's life there. the novel's view into the intricacies of saudi culture is more compelling than its mystery component. however, the mystery serves as a useful device for the author, as it allows her to unveil more intimate details about saudi culture.
The print version of this book received rave reviews on other sites. Based on the reviews, I did not expect the book to be plot focused. I usually love British classics. Unfortunately, Simon Vance's performance seemed uninspired by the novel. I could not tell whether Vance, or the author, did not develop the characters into memorable individuals. I have listened to a number of well-acted audiobooks by Simon Vance. In this performance, I did not lose myself in his performance of the novel, and instead, found his distinctive voice a distraction.
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