I am a Roth fan, but I had never before bothered with any of his non-fiction. I am very glad that I listened to this moving memoir. It reads like a Roth novel, but with rawer emotion. Anyone who has or has had an aged or ill parent would be moved by this account of the last year of the life of the author's father. The book is not didactic, but it teaches several lessons. I was moved to buy the hardback version, as I am sure that this is a book I will want to return to often.
Also the narration by George Guidall is excellent.
Some of the reviewers have described this book as "chick-lit." Well, I'm not a chick and I like this lit a lot! It is true that the book is told in a distinctly feminine voice, and that is somewhat of a departure for Meg Wolitzer. One of my favorites is her 2005 book, The Position, in which she writes in such a distinctly male voice that it is almost disconcerting. I have never read anything written by a woman that so accurately portrays the voice and thoughts of a male mind. Indeed, in The Position, she proves the plausibility of one of her other great books, The Wife, in which the main character turns out to be the ghost-writer, for her husband, a celebrated author. In the Ten-Year Nap, Wolitzer really demonstrates what a versitile author she is. Perhaps I was drawn to this book because the main character and I share the same profession, but her portrayal of a bevy of stay-at-home moms seems spot on to me. My youngest child is ten-years old and my wife has been a stay-at-home mom. She and her friends from "the play group" are going through the issues and anxieties of moving back into the "working world." From the viewpoint of a husband who is looking at his wife and her friends during this liminal moment in their respective lives, I would say that Wolitzer captures reality in this book, and I found the book not at all depressing. Indeed, I found it comforting.
What a fantastic gift to have the insights of this remarkable man before he had any thoughts of running for President!
I loved this book and I always enjoy George Guidall's narration of Roth novels. This one compares the reactions of the two Zuckerman brothers when given the choice of life-risking surgery or loss of sexual potency.(Death and sex, being the one-two punch of many of Roth's books.) It also deals with the American Jew's conflicting desires to assimilate and also be at one with the ideal of Israel, and it seems to foreshadow Roth's own disasterous marriage to Claire Bloom. This novel is the perfect accompaniment to the last Zuckerman novel, Exit Ghost, in which Zuckerman turns his life upside down, not to battle impotence, but to cure his incontinence. Twenty years obviously changed Zuckerman's and Roth's priorities!
I am a Philip Roth fan and I cannot say that this one is my favorite Roth novel, or even in my top half-dozen. Of Roth's most recent short novels, I liked Exit Ghost, Everyman and the Dying Animal better, but even a second tier Roth novel beats almost anybody else's masterpiece. Many of the other Roth audiobooks are narrated by George Guidall, and I have to admit, George Guidall is the better narrator. Still, this audiobook is certainly worth the price and five and a half hours of your time.
I agree with the preceding complaints about sound quality. The story may have been great, but I just could not bear to listen to the hours of annoying static.
I am a big Ian McEwan fan. I have read all of his published novels, and many of his short stories. This novel I have picked up many times but always would lose interest after about 25 pages. I decided to buy the audiobook, thinking that it might make it easier to "get over the hump." It did, but still, even the audiobook was a bit of a chore. This book hits some of the familiar Ian McEwan themes, such as the nature of chance and how a life can turn on a dime, but it went on to more general and murky discussions about the nature of time itself, and these lengthy discourses never seemed to advance a real story. It seemed a bit pretentious. I am not saying the book did not have some high points. McEwan is so skilled a writer, I am sure his grocery list would be a decent read, but, to me, this is the least satisfying of all his novels.
I was fifteen when the movie was released, and I loved it then. I read the book shortly after seeing the movie, and I remember liking it. Thirty some-odd years later, I listened to the audiobook and loved it even more. The narration by Erik Steele was pitch perfect. I was transported back to the 70s, and it was a rollicking nostalgia trip. Peter Benchley definitely caught the spirit and attitudes of the time and somehow wove them into a story that is like Moby Dick meets Fear of Flying meets the Old Man and the Sea meets Godzilla! I am surprised that it took so long for this iconic piece of Americana to be published as an audiobook. My only regret is that I was unable to wait until beach season to give it a listen. It would be the perfect accompaniment for a long weekend by the ocean.
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