Sontag gripped me. What do I love? History. Edgy. Thoughtful. Surprises. Romance. This delivered all beyond my expectations. I am still tingling and feel a sense of abandonment one feels when a great "read" ends.
Naples. Evocative descriptions. Art. Furious and spot-on conclusion that is literally the best conclusion of any novel ever - bar none - even my great beloveds of the Brontes, Wilkie Collins, Tolstoy, James. This is a great great read.
Van Dyck is obliged to capture a variety of narrators: male and female, living and dead, and she nails them all. Her voice is like burnt caramel. I felt like Sontag was there, and I spoke to her. Van Dyck has her round tones and deep power.
She needs some work on Italian names, but I gave her 5 stars because I am still a true fan and would acquire any audiobook by her.
The ending was like a punch in the chest and I love it completely.
I had the audiobook of Sontag's other novel, In America, and it was a love hate. The audio book was great, but the writing pissed me off for the first third. Afterwards, she redeemed herself and I was content. I had moderate expectations of this novel, and, from the beginning was flabbergasted. I never wanted to do anything other than listen. It is a great great work. This production is so worthy of a remarkable piece of writing.
I couldn't stop listening to Elizabeth Ashley's perfectly evocative performance of this biography... that felt more truly like a drama than a nonfiction work.
Good on you, John Lahr!! Thoughtful, even, wide open account with the perfect amount of detail. I loved the narrative structure being more dramatic than chronological.
Good on you, Elizabeth Ashley! You are now Tennessee Williams' voice in my subconscious. What a delicious voice you have for this text, although it is so much more than text, thanks to Lahr & Ashley (OK, and the late great T. Williams)!
The book was recommended to me thus: "It has everything you like! Art, literature, Proust, Paris, Vienna, fin de siecle, WWI, Japan, etc" I could not agree more, yet that barely does it justice...it ponders huge questions so nimbly and entertainingly that you might be excused to call it memoire or history, but it is more like a run on essay...and I would not have minded it running on and on.
The reader is one of the best I have ever heard...perfectly credible moving among languages and a variety of nationalities of names. Truly great
I cannot believe how beautiful this book is. Some of the reviewers thought the narrator is pathetic or whiny. I could not disagree more. They were not listening closely enough. There is so much packed into the interstitial pockets between narrative...exacting detail, philosophical pondering and a depth of understanding. Today, having heard the end of the book, which crescendos into a brilliant meditation on museums, collecting, the east's way of defining itself in relation to the west, I feel a profound sense of loss that it is over, as I did when My Name is Red was over. I miss it already.
Kemal and Orhan. I particularly love their relationship.
No, I have not. He was divine.
Cetin Efendi, the chauffeur, pilot of a 1956 Chevrolet, and patient man.
This book is so thoroughly thought-provoking, I will not be able to read or listen to anything for a time, as I fully absorb all it provoked in me.
I have not read the book. The recommendation that swayed me towards the audio book was my mother's deep appreciation of the print edition. I trust her implicitly. We are both librarians.
The beginning and the end. As it amped up, the terrain was so familiar and as it wound down, seemed philosophical, as a good book that is a deep and satisfying journey can do.
He is EXTRA-ORDINARY! I will raise a huge stink if this book is made as a film and he does not gain a starring role. He encapsulated an an audio film of great complexity into his performance...accents, social class, mood, etc. Now, 10 minutes after completing the audio book, I go out in search of his other performances!
Oh, I love Theo and Boris and Pippa and Hoby. There are some very endearing friends here.
This book was suggested to me because I grew up working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY, and the start of the book has details that I suspect folks wanted me to "fact check," but my own mother's intense fascination was the most persuasive. I am so grateful I stuck with it, although I arrived at work many days unwilling to remove my headphones. The written work is really delightful in a messy way I like. I love writing about visual art, chaos, the fantastic and the real world I live in, it turns out.
The ending reminded me of Sontag's The Volcano Lovers, which lays down a profound moral, philosophical conclusion. I love this audio book, in case you were wondering
Everything I enjoy: art history, philosophy, great storytelling, and a beautiful voice to deliver it all.
Salman Rushdie's Enchantress of Florence - same combination of art history, philosophy, great storytelling and a beautiful voice to deliver it all!
He turns text into cinema, playing all the roles.
The details about miniature painting are seared into my memory. They have changed me.
My only complaint about the book is that it is a tough act to follow. I crave more and there are no more. I have heard other Orhan Pamuks. This one, however, was a perfect storm and I regretted its end.
What I love: history, stories well told and an epic sweep plus humor!
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie because the kind of "over the top" epic funny dark detailed storytelling is the only thing I can compare it to. It is what I seek!
OH, I love them all, even the detestable ones. She is truly a remarkable voice.
The narrator, naturally. Amazing unreliable lovable narrator!
I had only read Erdrich's short stories in the New Yorker, but this book is mind-blowingly gorgeous. I miss it.
It is up towards the top.
I just finished the Bowles short stories and it is a great reward. I am pleased with that sequence.
He is REALLY GREAT. I LOVE his voice for this.
Everyone was fascinating. Bowles is fascinating. One cannot help but wonder what comes from him, as he is so iconic.
I never read Bowles. I am so converted to him thanks to Audible. I have had a big project in a damp cold warehouse in the winter and these hot dry tales of North Africa have been my constant companion and cure. It was an inspired pairing!
I actually have already listened to some of the stories over again. I cannot add too much to all that has been said about Bowles, but this is a great survey, and my introduction, really, to him as a short story writer. I could not take my headphones off!
It was a whalloping dose of humor, misery and careful observation. I dreamt differently after hearing this collection.
The narrator was a whole repertory company! WHAT a treat! It really added texture and variety to the stories and the selection of voices to stories was made by a very astute person, indeed.
There is a harrowing story - just awful - that can be described, at first, as picaresque, about a naive English philologist embarking on field work in Africa and it all turning very very unexpected, indeed, within 12 hours of arriving. I could barely stand the story, but will never forget a moment of it.
A perfect dream of a book. Absolutely a show-stopper!
The narrator cannot pronounce a single name or word in the text.
It is really beautifully done - a detestable amount of detail about King Leopold's unsurpassed genocide in the Congo, but I am behind all of his unpacking of Colonialism.
Never, although he has a perky Adam Gopnik-like voice and I listened for way too long because of the book. There is not ONE SINGLE WORD in French in German he can pronounce to save his life, to my regret, as it ruined the book for me. I had to give up.
Great book I need to read in text and pronounce in my head correctly before I can decide.
Missed opportunity. Great book, I think. A well-meaning perky reader with zilch ability in French/German pronunciation [key to hearing]. I blame the audiobook publisher for not briefing him. A waste. If you doubt me, check out Robert Hughes in Shock of the New on Ubuweb, since it is a lot of the same names and words and he gets 100 percent, and the narrator here, barely a thing.
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