I have been an Audible subscriber for 5 years, so have heard more than 60 narrators. Steven Weber brings each character to life and gives this story a depth and vitality that generally can only be experienced when reading a book yourself and you apply your imagination to the story. The narration makes this book worth every minute and every penny. Thank you, Steven Weber.
First, the narrator was fantastic. If not for him I probably wouldn't have finished the book. The Goldfinch was at times so fascinating I couldn't stop listening, while at others so long on detail I didn't care about or thought added to the story that I wanted to put it aside. It could probably have been edited to tell the same story and paint the same pictures (sorry for the pun here) in about half the length. What is it they say about a picture and a thousand words? And it was somewhat fanciful in that there didn't seem to be a year associated with any particular era in the book, since cell phones, video games, and various other technology existed from the start when Theo was just 12. Predictable outcomes were arrived at with sometimes beautiful prose, but the book was, at its conclusion, a little too philosophical and "dear reader"-ish. Theo's final soliloquy wasn't in keeping with his voice through that point in the book.
I have been subscribing to the audio Wall Street Journal for years, and the Weekend Edition was one that I always looked forward to, until about 3 months ago. The articles that are chosen have limited appeal to people who don't live in New York. There is often something about real estate, and the theater selection is useless for me. I live in San Diego, and it would be nice to hear one of the more human interest stories that are included in the Weekend Edition, rather than hear a listing of the theater shows and times for the weekend. I used to enjoy the wine column, but that was removed some years ago. Now I mostly fast forward from one article to another. It's a shame - I used to really enjoy this bonus read.
I rarely write reviews, but I feel compelled to do so with this book. It really had me going, and even with the twists and turns, I could suspend disbelief and enjoy the story. But the ending was so disappointing that I can't rate it highly. I can't even recommend it to anyone because it was such a letdown. Without giving too much away, I have to say that the police investigation was incredibly unbelievable at the end, that the characters' reunion was bizarre and equally unbelievable, and the final twist and "resolution" left me feeling as tricked and betrayed by the author as the characters felt by each other.
A better ending, with some plausible reactions by all of the characters would have made this book better. I am astonished that the author expects us to believe this ending. There are too many flaws that make it ridiculously incredible.
I think Julia Whelan was fabulous. Kirby Heyborne's voice was too high, and initially sounded almost like a woman.
This narrator is overly dramatic and, in my opinion, turns a mediocre book into a painful discourse. If the story had been more interesting, I might have stuck out the narrator, but with the two combined, I gave up listening after the first 5 hours (which was way too much time spent).
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