This a page turner throughout: a fascinating, imperiled protagonist, plenty of twists, and good pacing. The background on art forgery, Boston, and museum politics is enlightening and never extraneous to the character's perspective. As an oil painter, I also appreciated the artistic vision of the characters, as well as the personal history of famous painters which wove throughout the story.
This novel has its attraction, but created great frustration for me. I listened to the audio and relistened and relistened, trying to follow the back and forth time of the various chapters. Most of the backward/forward in time seemed like an artifice. More sparing use would have enhanced my enjoyment and cut down on a whole lot of confusion. My head spun!
Would I have enjoyed the book more with tangible pages which can be flipped to orient one into time? I don't know. I do know that even then I would have searching the pages to build a timeline for the current chapter.
Bottom line: my frustration is greater than my enjoyment. I resent all the extra time I put in trying to piece the story.
Beautifully written, interesting main character, intelligent. This is a wonderful, page turning, spell binding legal thriller. If you want lots of action, blowing up of stuff, sex, and mindless plot, this is not the book for you. But if you want courtroom dynamics, exquisite writing, and a modicum of intellectual engagement, don't hesitate. You will love this.
What is the story line? A 9/11 parallel of a boy orphaned in a New York explosion? A Holden Caulfield coming of age? A John Travolta story of drugs, foul language, and Russian mafia? A Thelma & Louise adventure across several continents? And at the end, deep philosophical insight from a main character whom 700 pages revealed as totally shallow?
The sole constant throughout was a stolen painting, which made cameo appearances at the beginning, middle, and end. It could never served as a connecting theme or driving force. I didn't find any such structure.
Would it have worked as a picaresque novel? That requires a main character of consistent or believable evolution of personality, with a spark that captures our interest. The closest this book came was Boris, a lesser figure who showed life and led the action (nearly the only action) when he appeared.
Because of the beginning, I kept listening, hoping to find a consistent theme, character development, or some explanation for the book's high esteem. I wish I had pulled the plug when I first questioned investing my time on this work.
This is a detailed history of the abuse of the first women mineworkers by their fellow workers and then by the court system. Thanks to the women who brought legal action, sexual and physical abuse of women is far less rampant in the workplace. But the legal system remains abusive. Just ask injured workers who file for workers comp and are harassed, denied care for years, and further injured by insurance carriers, who control the "legal" system.
Society owns a great debt to the women who sacrificed their lives to eliminate physical, sexual, and financial abuse from the workplace.
The psychological theme and twists throughout kept me engrossed, even though the story was a Perils of Pauline. What is the reality? Each major character has a very different interpretation. In the end, the creepy explanation was somewhat farfetched, but it made for good reading nonetheless.
This mystery combines mythological history, anthropology, and intriguing setting with fascinating characters. Extremely well-written, it is hard to put down. The theme is certainly unusual, as is the heroine, a forensic anthropologist.
I found it thoroughly enjoyable and on par with mysteries by Louise Penny and Dorothy Sayers.
Thank you, Audible, for this Christmas membership gift.
I don't recall reading such lyricism from Dickens before. His poetry sings. I couldn't refrain from smiling. His words bubbled forth with such joy.
I shall listen to this several times: The gift that keeps on giving.
This is not his usual mystery or international spy thriller. It is part parlor intrigue,part romance novel. I kept reading, expecting bigger action. A third of the way through, that hasn't happened yet. I gave it three stars based using the genre I hoped it would be when I chose it.
Even in fantasies I want some reality. I can embrace Near Death Experiences(NDEs) and exorcism, but I want the everyday to be connected. When out of cell tower range so that the heroine can't call for help, how can she call a priest? There were many such discrepancies. And locating the killer by means of the hero's having several NDEs was over the top. And then we have his possession by the Devil in the killer.
To me, the book lacked unifying flow of story.
"Farthing" starts like a tea cozy. As it continues, World political influences come into play as Hitler, fear of Jews and Bolsheviks play out on the British upper class potentates. As it ends, Farthing becomes a commentary on all of us, on morality, on the tradeoffs we make- while still retaining the book's character as a period mystery. It is so much more. And so beautifully transitioned
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