Perhaps one of the most powerful audio experiences I have ever had. In fact, this reading, both the text itself and George G.'s reading of it have effected me profoundly. I had never read the book before. It has been on my "to read" list for many years. There is no question that I would have been a much different man had I read this sooner in life.
I am not Jewish. But all decent non-Jews should make an imperative effort to read and know this book. Each person who does can only walk away from it knowing that they too will not forget what happened and will feel empowered to know they themselves will never let it happen again.
My reviews are usually based on time and dollar value. This was a book worth listening to but I hope it might have been better. I was glad it was a short listen, which is to say, right after listening to it I felt it was barely worth the one book credit it cost me. It didn't grab me in a way that I couldn't wait to get some quiet iPOD time so I could get to listening to it again. But I'm glad I waited a month or so to put down this review. My memories of it are good. The story was interesting, even poignant at times. I do remember having a problem trying to remember (figure out) which character was who and when, but now that time has evened out those puzzlements, I can say that the general mood the book left me with was a wholehearted one. The central "characters" all worked through what they needed to work through. They felt their life's resolutions were workable. Less angst and more understanding. Something we need more of in late 20th early 21st century fiction.
You may wish to try it. But give it a good, solid 10 minute sample reading first.
One never knows. Confession: Considering myself literate, I have, nevertheless never "read" anything by Auster. Heard of him, but never read him. Wanted to get around to it, but not until now. Raised in Park Slope until I was eight, I hoped this tale would be the perfect introduction to Auster --a way to relate to him, to test him, to guage his worthiness. I'm hooked now.
Not because of the Brooklyn connection but because of his communicativeness, his intelligence, and his effortless conversational story telling. (He's not a bad reader either.) He's neither afraid of the cliche nor the sublime (nor the crude either.) And the book is chock full of informational tid-bits, particularly of the literary ilk. Wonderful returns to Kafka and Cervantes, et al. (Although I was disappointed not to hear him include D. M. Thomas on his list of writers who died much too early.)
Auster's characters are real and likable. (Even when improbable.) His sudden shifts from person to person, from unexpected incident to unpredictable result drive the story merrily along. It would be excellent to meet Nate again, to see who else he might come across, as his and Tom's lives continue on into the future. This is a story line that still has life in it.
Who knows what Auster's other, earlier books may bring, but this here story sure is sending me to them. I can't wait to listen to another.
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