Trains pass through the backgrounds and incidents of the protagonist's life, making the reader increasingly compassionate to him. A good story well told.
De Waal takes you deeply into this family (his family), generation after generation, so that not only do you care about individuals, but you understand how they originated their enormous wealth (in Russia), how they lived in the upper classes of European society, and how they were affected by 20th-century anti-semitism --- all this "threaded" by a collection of netsuke. Brilliant!
Story ok, but less than I expected. Difficult to listen to Toni Morrison for any length of time. Her voice is clear, as is her enunciation. But it is S_L_O_W. I needed her to move on, I found myself impatient. I'd rather draw my own conclusions of characters' moods, etc., from the writing --- not from the author's/reader's insistence on setting it.
Still, I like to keep up with Morrison's work, so I'm glad I listened to it. But this is one book I'd probably have enjoyed more by reading it at my own pace.
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