Having read the other reviews I am struck that nobody has mentioned an aspect that I found most intriguing... the book flows backwards. Each chapter ends with you wondering how did we get 'here'. The next chapter answers.
The writing verges on poetry. The characters are beautifully developed in a way that makes the ordinary special. This is not a book about plot, in the common sense, but rather a book with a plot in a much larger sense - for all things move forward and all things move back infinitely.
A very interesting thought experiment, writing experiment, mediation on death, life and character.
I favor character studies and this one is fascinating. All of the major protagonists are well over 70, quirky, and possibly demented. The plot isn't very important and it's a little misleading to label this a mystery but it's well worth the listen. The prose is solid. The story is both funny and a little sad. The narration is outstanding.
The creative challenge for the author is how to get into the heads of the very old without being very old oneself. Somehow she seems to have done it.
Cliche', simplistic, poorly researched... did I say cliche'? A couple of the other reviewers say the same thing. What amazes me is that it apparently won some award and that some people find it tolerable.
Two things kept me going. First was the mystery of whether a woman writer could really write anything this sophomoric. It was the sort of writing I would have imagined from a 13 year-old boy just discovering puberty. Second, I was amused at just how really bad it was. I found myself laughing out loud. Part of the problem was the genre confusion - if I'd been reading this as a bodice ripping Romance Novel I wouldn't have been so caught off guard.
Not up to Card's usual standards. The dialog was a bit stilted, the Science was just on the edge of plausibility and the plot seemed a little contrived to allow for a sequel. Still, it was fast paced and interesting.
First of all, the narration is excellent. I am looking forward to searching out other titles read by this actor. The plot is interesting, has a couple of good twists, but there's a little too much of it for a book of this length. The main characters are intriguing. Some of the secondary characters are two dimensional. I'm guessing this is an author who enjoys going to movies. I'd rather see this on the screen than save the book on my shelf.
Not sure what to make of this. For a six hour story it took a long time getting started. It then built rather slowly to an interesting conclusion; but I can't say for certain what message it was trying to convey. The characters were colorful but seemed a little implausible; more like motion picture caricatures than real people. Finally, for a book that moved slowly, dramatic twists, near the end, seemed to happen too fast.
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