As a conectural biography this is really pretty good. The author summarizes what is known about Shakespeare and then uses lines from the plays to speculate about what he may have been like socially, religously and politcally. The author also gives a detailed snapshot of the Elizabethian era. This book makes me want to explore Elizabethian and Jacobean drama and biography in more depth.
This is one of the best history/memoir books written in the last decade. An intimate knowledge of this book and its implications and insights should be required of all our so-called representatives in Congress, now and in the future.
The writer's superficial knowledge of history plus a style reminiscent of a very long freshman essay make this work tedious listening.
Good dialogue. Plot moves fast. Memorable characters.
If you like to listen to language, this is about as good as it gets. Villages is soap opera elevated to high art. (Did America invent the Soap, along with Jazz?) In Villages Updike uses all his skills to create a really interesting listening experience. As a narrator, Edward Herman is truly superb. I wish he would have done the Rabbit novels.
To me, this was a tough listen. There are lots characters in this work, but they're not described in any real detail, and so they're hard to visualize. This makes them difficult to track because of the writer's narrative style--rambling from one topic to another, in and out of past and present time. Another thing that's tough on the listener is that the writer uses straight narration and doesn't use much descriptive metaphor. Noting in the writer's style causes the mind to light up. I think the narrator tries to save the book, but in the end he really can't. An eccentic choice for the Pulitzer, which is usually pretty good stuff.
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