It is highly unlikely that one would find a story of an eldery man who decides to walk the length of England interesting. So why was this one of the best books I have had the pleasure of listening to - ever?
The story unfolds slowly, almost languidly. A man hears that his friend is dying and decides on the spur of the moment, in his boat shoes, plastic bag in his hand, to walk to her. On the way he meets obstacles, loses himself, rediscovers himself, and meets all kinds of people. He becomes a larger than life figure, then a metaphor. Will he make it? Will she die before he gets there? The story feels like an allegory for life's journey - but is told well and is full of humour and pathos.
The real magic here is in the narration. Jim Broadbent is one of the greatest character actors working now. Here he brings all of his gifts to the story - and it is astonishing. His pace is perfect, his voices individual and characterful. His performance transforms the audiobook - from good to nearly perfect.
Salman Rushdie is a writer of great talent and a fantastic teller of stories. "Midnight's Children" remains one of my favourite books. When he uses his gifts to tell his own story, the result is fascinating.
"Joseph Anton" is in parts a thrilling tale of escape and hiding, in parts a meditation and treatise on the process of writing, in parts a journal about a man's own personal emotional journal and in parts a great glimpse into the literary world. It is always interesting and fascinating - the details are what makes this book sing. Did you know that Roald Dahl had long strangler's fingers? Did you know how complicated it can be to protect someone around the clock?
Salman Rushdie is brutally honest about many things - including his own reflections on his failed marriages. Sections of the book read like revenge literature for previous slights and criticism. Parts of this book are immensely moving - especially the passages of loss when Rushdie buries his father. Others will make you laugh out loud - my favourite is when Rushdie scores a role in "Bridget Jone's Diary".
Whilst it could have been more tightly edited, it nevertheless feels coherent. It is a story that needed to be told, and by a master story-teller. In the end, I felt immense respect and admiration - for the man, for his honesty and the hellish journey that he had to go through.
Baseball is life
Lively characterisations. A good narration.
Yes - but that would spoil it for readers.
This is a very good novel. The characters are interesting, and the interjecting trajectories of their lives becomes fascinating. Baseball is a metaphor and backdrop for the developing drama. Throughly enjoyed listening to this.
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