I'm torn about this one. Overall I have to say I ended up liking it and that it had moments that were very engaging and made me come back (I finished it, after all, when I wasn't always sure I would). My two main issues: the narrative to me seemed sometimes too drawn out, making the pacing of the story seem awkward, like she didn't know when to get out of a scene. In about a handful of key moments, the narrative, rather than moving forward, kept turning in on itself going in circles. (I read the whole Proust and loved that experience--so I am NOT someone who needs fast paced stories!!). Part of the issue is the narrator. It's not often that I find first person narrators successful and this was certainly not one of them. I understand her choice to make Theo the narrator, to keep us so close to the story rather than creating more distance with a third-person narrator, but at times I simply didn't care about what seemed to me overly self-indulgent passages. As for the reader it took me several hours to get used to his version of young Theo. I found his inflections and intonations rather annoying. However, once the story added more characters I thought the reader did a really nice job with them. (The women tend to all sound the same, though).
Couldn't get interested in the story or the characters. Maybe someone interested in motorcycles and racing will have more luck. Good writing, though, and I like the reader.
What an amazing story! Excellent storytelling. It may take a bit to get into due to subject matter but if you stay with it, it is so rewarding. Easily my favorite audio book in a LONG time.
The story's main problem is that it never managed to convince me why I should care. Care for the story or the characters. I found myself screaming at the ceiling of my car while listening ("Are you serious?!!" or "You've got to be joking?!!") in disbelieve at how bored I was at times or at how irrelevant things seemed.
The writer seemed unaware or not yet able to image what a reader needs to stay interested or connected to her characters and to the story. I absolutely LOVED (LOVED!!!!) The History of Love. Seems like she's grown tremendously as a writer to be able to pull off History but fail so utterly in her first attempt.
The final chapter!!! Did not understand why Krauss thought I would be interested in that. Really odd and out of touch choice.
Parts of the book certainly are entertaining and it's fine for commuting. But the constant alluding to some detail that remains elusive just beyond the characters'--particularly Patrick's--consciousness only to be remembered, lo and behold, a short while later really got kind of old as a narrative strategy fast. I understand that a mystery needs to create suspense but this was just too formulaic and, frankly, boring. I stopped caring after a while whether this "something" here and "something" there he couldn't pinpoint just now would eventually be revealed. She uses a similar strategy to NOT reveal phone calls, or discoveries, or really important information, by "fading out" so that the characters are filled in but the reader/listener isn't. Trying too hard to get me intrigued.
Vance is fantastic across the board. Love, love, love.
I really enjoyed this. The reader does a fabulous job bringing Twain's language and irony to life.
The two stars are for the audio interpretation, not the book itself! I was so looking forward to this one not only because of the hype but because I liked The Corrections. Now that I'm to the end of Part One I am about to give up. I had trouble with the reader from the very beginning--had to keep relistening to the first half an hour several times because his reading just didn't manage to create any of the story or the characters in my mind. Once I got over that I went along thinking I could ignore his interpretation but I am afraid that I might have to decide putting down the audiobook and instead buying the print version. As another reviewer suggested there's something irritating about the sing-song inflection he gives his reading that makes it seem overdone (in an unproductive way). What a bummer!
Hm. I was so looking forward to this. LOVED Skinny Dip and got into a Hiassen phase after that. But this one... It just doesn't work for me the way the others did. I really just ended up not caring about the story or anybody in it.
The readers are fantastic, really bringing this story to life. Bahni Turpin does an especially fine job. The novel itself, the story-line and how it ends, is overall a bit too smooth and tidy for my taste. The last part I just kind of listened to to get through, but it felt too "feel good" almost to really capture me. There are wonderful moments, though, and it was interesting to get a sense of the time from our perspective now (which is what it feels like to me).
Jenny Sterlin does a wonderful job on this one. Her reading is engaging and does a great job bringing the different characters to life. Nice timing.
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