Yes. There is is such a lot of history mixed into this book. America at the turn of the twentieth century was a time of dynamic social unrest. Many strong figures in history emerged from this time and it was interesting to view their lives from the dawn of their influence.
As opposed to some of the other reviewers who were hoping for a fast paced and spooky horror story, I was thrilled with the depth of research that was put into this novel and skillful unfolding of the tale. It left me curious about the real life characters that filled the pages. The fervor of Woodrow Wilson, the social struggles of Upton Sinclair, the pomposity of Jack London, to name a few, breathed life into the history of this age. This combined with the story of the curse gave real dimension and sense of place to the book. I never felt it was slow. Each part was fascinating in its own right.
Liking seems a weak word. The story vibrated, it gnawed, it struck chords of recognition and also of dismay. There was not a single part that did not engage me.
The two main narrators were exceptional. That the narrator who read Norton's part had a style not dissimilar to that of David Sedaris was appealing.
That there are disturbing parts in this book did not diminish my enthusiasm for it. To me, these parts were necessary to my understanding of both the main character and also a larger social commentary. To be be shocked would show our blindness to the sometimes misguided mindset of our own culture.
At the very beginning is a scene where the diners are discussing a Woody Allen film. Although Paul liked it, he was annoyed that his brother, Serge also enjoyed the film. So he began thinking over the faults in the film, wanting to prove to his brother that it was not so good after all and therefore one-up him. The author is very adept at portraying the pettiness of social minutiae in a humorous way.
At first I thought his style was too intense for Paul, whom I believed was a placid narrator. When I realized the scope of the narrator's character, I found that Clive Mantle did an excellent job in projecting Paul's range of emotion.
I found this novel to be humorously disturbing. Paul has a twisted intelligence which inserted into the restrictive framework of society produces an internal struggle that manifests itself in ways ranging from simple contrariness to fiendishly brutal. An examination of the grotesqueness of both an abnormal psyche and modern society.
I love true tales of adventure and exploration and this one did not disappoint. That the subject was a woman was one of the deciding factors for me to listen to this book. The story of her life, from her impoverished childhood to her relationship with the eccentric naturalist,Commerson, and her botanical discoveries (including the Bougainville) during her voyage on the Etoile is both exceptional and heart breaking. It is inspiring that Jeanne Baret managed to accomplish what she did, under the shadow of men (also disguised as a man) and tormented by the hostility and degredation of the male sailors aboard the ship. She was truly unique (if not controversial) and remarkable woman!
Certainly. I have read many Murakami books and enjoyed most. I have not disliked any of his books, but some are more engaging. Top of my list would be Wild Sheep Chase.
Cut down on the repetetive introspection. I appreciate Murakami for the unique angle in which he approaches topics. So its not the introspection that I dislike. However in 1Q84, the same topics were explored repeatedly to the point of excess.
Tengo. This is the voice which I most associate with the author's own.
What attracts me the most to Murakami's work is that when his characters are in a bizarre situation, they consider the circumstances and if it the strangeness of it seems logical or at least not improbable, then it becomes a possibility. That this oddness is accepted is very appealing.
Tim Curry. What a yummy voice, like butter on toast.
My knowledge of 17th history is patchy at best, therefore following the part of the plot set during the war was a struggle. Still I managed to understand the general scheme of things and am sure I'm a much more well-rounded person for it.
The friendship between Roberto and the priest on the Daphne. Especially moving was the
part where the priest descends into the ocean in
Perfect title. Would leave it as is.
Did I mention I salivate at the sound of Tim Curry's voice? Also I've developed a burning desire to learn more about the discovery of longitude.
I did not want it to end. And when it ended, I rewound it to favorite parts and listened again.
The ending. But I won't give that away. I also enjoyed the part where Leo comes back to his apartment to find his friend has baked him a cake and everywhere is covered in flour. On the floor, Leo sees where his elderly friend has laid down and made an angel in the flour. The image is sweet and funny.
The narrator for Leo was exceptional. He conveyed passion and humor and sadness so effectively. I rewound these parts several times, just to hear him tell them again.
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