I found myself wishing for traffic jams as I listened to the audio version of this book. Pi's jumbled life, the ship, the animals, his Gods, and Richard Parker all nudged me to think about reality - and what passes for reality.
There are parts that were tedious; no argument there. At the time, I'd think "ok, enough. you've named 3 flowers. no need to enumerate the other 12 you see." Upon reflection, though, I'm less frustrated by those passages. They add clarity to the present reality.
The audio book version is outstanding. The reader's accent and inflection compliment the story, adding strength to the illusion that it is the retelling of an event.
I'd listen to it again, and am actually thinking about buying a print copy, so that I can more easily reread passages... particularly the thought provoking interviews near the end.
I will freely admit to not having read most of the classics that form the backbone of this narrative, but I have been inspired to turn to a few of them. I believe, though, that my experience of Jane Austin will be forever linked with Dr. Nafisi and her "girls".
The storyline does jump a bit, and I did find my mind wandering a bit during some of the discussions of some of the books, but the characters are wonderfully rich and full. I'd love to host a future class in my living room. I came to truly care about them all, and would like to know how their lives have changed in the intervening years.
The narrator's voice, with her soft accent, helped to shape Dr. Nafisi in my mind. The emotion that she carried in her inflection and tone gave the illusion of a storyteller recounting her own story. An excellent choice of readers, in my humble opinion.
I learned quite a bit from this story. A bit about Western literature, of course, but even more about the human spirit. I understand a bit more about the origins of the conflicts between the Islamic world and the Western world, and realize - once again - that underneath it all, we share the same human experience. I am thankful for my personal freedoms, my hopes, my dreams - and thank Dr. Nafisi for opening my eyes to my wealth.
Coming from someone who thought of PJs at somethng to wear to bed, I found myself surrounded by a cast of absolutely fabulous characters, in a glittery, glamorous world. If you're unsure of that, just ask them. While the story is a bit predictable, it is a fun book to listen to.
I think that's the key, too. It's one to listen to. As another reviewer stated, the story is acted, not read. That added to my enjoyment, and the voices helped to paint vivid pictures in my mind.
I read a review (elsewhere) that chided Anne Garrels for reporting on ?local color?, it is that local color that helps to paint the picture of the Iraq that we find ourselves struggling with today. The people she met, the stories they told, the future they predicted, all came together to help me, a true non-student of politics, understand the situation a bit better.
I?d love a follow-up done sometime ? what has happened to some of the people she knew in the year or so since she left Baghdad? What else do we need to hear from Iraq?s people? not the militants, but the true, proud, Iraqi people who deeply want the future they dared dream of?
The story says much ? both in what has been written, as well as by what was not said. This is not a review of American policy, but a glimpse into the Iraq of late 2002 and early 2003.
As a long-time listener of NPR, I ?knew? many of the players of whom Ms Garrels spoke. I felt as though I was worrying about friends? friends that I had listened to during the days leading up to the war, and through those tumultuous early days after the fall of Baghdad. This book gave me the other side of the story ? and told me what it took to get the story. The picture is more complete now ? although I suspect it will never have all of the spaces filled in.
The audio version was outstanding. The narration by the author moved with the story, leading me to think that she was, perhaps, envisioning the events again as they unfolded. It felt very much ?present tense?. The e-mails from Vint Lawrence added a break and contrast, and truly enhanced the tale.
In many ways, this book is a set of love stories ? a husband and a wife, a journalist and her profession, a man and his country? and they are all deeply, and inexplicably, intertwined.
Thank you all, for sharing your stories with me.
I was thankful for the traffic this morning, lengthening my already long drive so that I could enjoy a few more chapters.
I'd recommend this to anyone who is not bound to a rigid story line, and truly think this is a better book to listen to, than to read. I would be tempted to skip bits if I were reading it - something that's impossible in the audio book... and those bits are all part of what makes this book so engrossing. (Where will Christopher's story take us next?)
The narrator, too, is a wonderful bonus, gained as a result of the audio edition. He provides the right tone and voices - far better than my own inner voice.
Just as another reviewer noted, this book started out strong, then faded off near the end. The last chapter or so did not fulfil the promise of the earlier chapters.
It may have been a rehash of older material - I can't comment on that for certain - but there were parts where I did laugh, and laugh loudly. Good comedy can be enjoyed on repeat visits.
I was especially glad, however, that I chose the audio version of this book over the print edition. The author (naturally) had just the right pace, inflection, and tone to enhance the story. I don't know if my own reading would have had the same comic delivery and timing.
Ths book is not great literature, but was a worthy listen during my commute. It didn't require much concentration, but provided a welcome change from the talk radio guys.
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