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Frank

Iowa City, Iowa, United States | Member Since 2014

2
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 3 reviews
  • 46 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2015
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  • And Sons: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By David Gilbert
    • Narrated By George Newbern
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (87)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (77)

    Who is A. N. Dyer? & Sons is a literary masterwork for readers of The Art of Fielding, The Emperor’s Children, and Wonder Boys - the panoramic, deeply affecting story of an iconic novelist, two interconnected families, and the heartbreaking truths that fiction can hide.

    Doug P. says: "Full of brilliant bits and pieces"
    "Glittering prose lavished on a thin story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you're the kind of reader who takes pleasure in virtuoso narration as such, you'll like this. I admired the darting motions of clever prose and the third-person narrator's microscopic lucidity about his kinsmen's varied mental worlds. But the central relationships and conflicts hardly justify so much artfulness.The dominant theme is privileged sons' resentment of each other and of their novelist father, a theme in which petulance and self-pity play smudge over larger and more interesting emotions. A glittering structure with a weak core.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • So Much for That

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Lionel Shriver
    • Narrated By Dan John Miller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (45)
    Story
    (46)

    Shep Knacker has long saved for “The Afterlife”: an idyllic retreat to the Third World where his nest egg can last forever. Traffic jams on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway will be replaced with “talking, thinking, seeing, and being” — and enough sleep. When he sells his business for a cool million dollars, his dream finally seems within reach. Yet his wife Glynis has concocted endless excuses why it’s never the right time to go.

    Linda says: "haunting...read this summer on the beach!!"
    "Twisting the satirical lancet"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Lionel Shriver tends to zigzag across a line between tabloid appeal and knowing satire. She dashes on journalistic coarseness like sriracha sauce. She's usually on the edge of overdoing it. Not always; In her heartfelt recent novel Big Brother, which balances empathy against anger in considering obesity, a deeper part of her imagination rose to the surface. It was moving to find this part of her mind anything but coarse .

    The new novel So Much for That, however, gives uninterrupted play to laughing scorn. You'll think of hard-edge satirists like Tom Wolfe and Martin Amis. So Much for That is a deep-black comedy about two couples, both being eaten alive by America's medical-financial machinery, but responding according to divergent passions and instincts. There's a secondary liebestod theme , love-and-death within marriage. It is worked against its grain so it won't look like cheap glitter amid the gathering blackness. But it kind of does anyway.

    Being the sort of guy who likes vinegar and picante, I got some pleasure out of this book. But some things about it are pointlessly extreme. Some characters are ranters. Instead of stilling them with a jab of satire, the author sends us long passages of unedited blowviation. Editing, please. Greatness in satire is rage under perfect control.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Some Luck: A novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Jane Smiley
    • Narrated By Lorelei King
    Overall
    (161)
    Performance
    (129)
    Story
    (128)

    From the winner of the Pulitzer Prize: a powerful, engrossing new novel - the life and times of a remarkable family over three transformative decades in America. On their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different children: from Frank, the handsome, willful first born, and Joe, whose love of animals and the land sustains him, to Claire, who earns a special place in her father’s heart.

    Sara says: "Takes Times To Develop But Is Really Worth The Effort"
    "generations of diapers"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Jane Smiley's many big, meaty novels each have a very definite topic: Vikings, farming, horses, real estate, sex, campus life. Here, the topic is motherhood. If you're a recent mom or grandmother and very interested in maternal talk, you might like it. For a reader with different orientations, it's frustrating. Every time something interesting gets started -- a son becomes a sniper in the WWII army, a daughter marries a Chicago Communist -- more babies plop into the plot and you get booted back to the nursery for many, many repetitive pages. Well, one might answer, why shouldn't moms have their say? OK, no beef about that. But I see this as a special-interest novel. Perhaps the two coming volumes of Smiley's Iowan epic will be less sluggish.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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