I’m not a sophisticated reader, not educated in the liberal arts, and not "well read", so one should take this review with a grain of salt.
The humor referred to in "what the critics say" was completely missed by me; which; I suppose, attests to my limitations as a reader. But I do agree that it was beautifully written; and beautifully read, however it verged on the tedious. But never quite so much that I gave in to the urge to stop reading. In general it felt like very long roller coaster ride with long hauls and anticlimactic drops.
There is no "plot" just the story about a very handsome young aristocrat with "raven hair", "big hands" and "a huge..." who's family, poetry and, mostly homosexual escapades are the subject of the many family biographers, most, or all, of whom have their own homosexual escapades; with the main character or one another.
But the homosexual undercurrent of this; (Gothic novel?) is rather trite and cavalier. I mean, no one ever gets upset by being hit on, and everyone seems rather indifferent about the many "queer" characters in the book. None of whom seem a bit disturbed by how the many male characters go after one another. Very "romantic" but a bit difficult to believe, given the nature of "the crime that dares not speak it's name", and the period in which they was being committed.
Aside from that this book was a bit of a slog with a plethora of characters, coming and going; in and out, Jumping from one generation to the next and then, abruptly, without warning, ending.
It was all a bit of a tease for me, just when you got interested in a character the storyline shifted to another character entirely, often in another family or another generation.
It left me feeling rather sad and disappointed.
I have no idea
I found the character annoying, and presumptuous; especially when she started dictating to the hospital staff
It really reflected the depressing character of the protagonist
The ones referred to above; but then that would take away from the controlling nature of the character, which I suspect is key to understanding her.
It's a sad, depressing, story told from the point of view of a highly intelligent, controlling, character and was interesting only so far as it described just how far out such a person can can find oneself after a devastating loss of this this kind. It seemed to me that her intellect was her own worse enemy.
How richly the period was portrayed. Sometimes it gave me pause because the author didn't always explain some of the language; leaving it to context. But I liked that and it didn't detract; once I accepted that I would understand in good time.
There were so many interesting, well developed, characters that I couldn't say which was my favorite. Each has his own special appeal and there were about 5 on my "favorites" list.
I was struck my his truly amazing "performance". He didn't just read his characters, he inhabited them, giving each it's own unique voice and doing it seamlessly. Simon is now on the top of my favorite performer list.
When Garrow's wife, unexpectedly expressed her remorse over the loss of their child
I found this book richer, and more polished, than Ken Follett's Pillars; which will always be a favorite of mine, but if you like Follett I can't help but believe you will love Holsinger, who's prose are just a bit more complex and sophisticated than Follett's.
I was struck my the fact that there was no reference made of Richards trials and tribulations; especially his dependence on the "favorites" that got him into so much trouble. But this wasn't really about him, so I didn't make too much of it.
At the top
Warm and believable
Well no, but I wouldn't consider doing that with any book. But I did, very often, have a hard time shutting it off.
My first impression of this story, based on just a few minutes of listening, was: “chick flick”, and I came very close to turning it off and giving it a single star rating; so I could get a refund! I was not up for True Romance! How glad I am that I didn’t do that, because this story turned out to be one of the most entertaining stories I’ve listened to from Audible.
Half way through the book I realized it wasn’t just the telling story of a farm family, revealed in a remarkably warm and realistic way; detailing the most intimate aspects of life on a sheep farm, and inside the workings of a nuclear family struggling to stay afloat; but a story with a message.
That message began to evolve somewhere in the middle of the book, and was inserted so cleverly that it seemed to appear full blown; in an instant, out of nowhere, and with such skill that it did not shatter it’s container; the story that could have very well stood on its own.
I highly recommend this title; in fact, I believe it should be required reading!
I was fascinated by this book and pleased with the reading; over all it was a satisfying read, that inspired me to check out "Paradise".
She lived a very complicated life with a very complicated, and rather self destructive, man. My heart went out to her and I wonder if she would have become so emotionally unbalanced if she had married someone else.
It's not a book I would normally read, but I just finished "Z", so I just had to see what it was all about. I didn't try to follow the story or look too deeply into any of it, I just let it wash over me and I found myself enjoying the experience. I would not have had the patients to actually read it, but having it read; and read so beautifully, was a truly pleasant experience. I think was the pros, it just flowed...
Over all it was a very nice experience. Can't wait to read Gatsby.
The author creates a several fascinating characters; one of which is morbidly obese, thus the title.
I opted for this book because I was curious about how someone could allow themselves to get to such a state; and how to they managed, physically and emotionally.
I found this story is most fascinating, and I found; to my surprise, that I was quite easily able to empathize with him. He is a sad, but quite likable character.
As each character in this story enters, and reveals their roll in his life; always in the first person, they all, ever so slowly, come together in frequently surprising, and unexpected ways.
It’s a touching story which held me in its grip to the very end, and when it came I was sad, because I wanted it to go on.
I would count this book as one of the most fascinating and enjoyable all the I’ve read on Audible.
The reading was flawless, you could almost feel the weight of the protagonist and the callow youth of :"the other Arthur"
As a clinician I found this novel trite, overly Romantic, inadiquetly researched and Harlequinesque.
The medical aspects; of both the condition and the care, were poorly researched and grossly inaccurate, the primary caregiver; who was never identified as the professional he clearly was; no doubt a “Trained Nurse”, failed to warn our protagonist against the pitfalls of romantic involvements which; for all the wrong reasons, sometimes develop between patient and caregiver; and which almost always end in disaster; which is why medical professionals avoid them like the plague.
But more disturbing than the romantic silliness, was the selfish, overzealous, anti “self-deliverance”, position taken by both the caregivers and the parents. That position was so out of line with current position on self-deliverance and the concept of the “Advanced Directive” as to make this story completely implausible.
I found it very difficult to handle the intensely, selfish, attitudes toward the right of a patient to make an end of life decision without being burdened by the judgment of all those around him!
I did stick with this story to the end. The transparent episode with the visitor from London was exactly what I expected it to be, and the end was exactly what I expected it to be.
This story was very formulaic and delivered no surprises.
My only objection to the reading, which was quite good in general, was the introduction of the primary caregiver, who's voice boomed onto the scene as if out of nowhere; abrupt, too loud, and generally out of sync with the gentle flow of the narrative.
My guess is that, if you’re a woman, and a romantic, with no medically training, and you are oblivious to the current trends on end of life issues, you will probably love this book .
Almost stopped listening when, after 15 chapters, the setup had not concluded; but it was at that point when the story began to pick up so I continued. I should have not wasted my time.
The story fits together too perfectly and drones on from one unsurprising resolution to the next, with hardly a blink.
The Civil war is mentioned, in passing, and while it is hard to believe that the world of east coast finance wasn’t turned on its head during this period in our history the author passed over it as though it was nothing more than a minor skirmish; which had little, to no, effect on the protagonists world. There is nothing in this story that doesn’t work itself out and doesn’t end in a “happy ever after” way.
There were beautiful descriptions home architecture and clothing, and of people, but beyond that it was pretty bland,
The reading left much to be desired and starting in the middle of the book sections appeared to have been inserted; as though something was wrong with sections of the original reading and needed to be re-read. It was very obvious, and rather distracting, because the tone and cadence of fhe reader's voice was so different in these inserted segments. I sometimes wondered if they were read by someone else.
Exquisitely crafted and beautifully performed!
I confess to getting lost among the plethora of characters and situations; often struggling to remember who was who and what they were up to. I sometimes felt as though I were sitting too close to a large painting, only able to see details but unable to see the big picture.
In the beginning I occasionally felt like giving up, but decided to simply step back and enjoy the ride; hoping that, eventually, things would come together and the fog would clear.
The ride was fascinating; even when I wasn't always following the intrigues. Just being in this place; witnessing this culture, and its characters, was enough to keep me listening. I left like an observer who, while I didn't always know what it was all about, was fascinated by the personalities, the voices, the conditions and the strangeness of the Japanese culture of the period.
As it turned out I found myself enjoying many Aha moments, as pieces suddenly fell into place and situations became clear.
This book would easily qualify as a required text in a course on the History of Modern Medicine in America, as a primer on Epidemiology, microbiology and the Scientific Method. I think it should be required reading for anyone planing to make a career in health care.
It is truly mind boggling to comprehend how poorly educated, and resistant the American medical establishment was at the end of the 19th century or how much resistance there was to the changes that would make us #1 in the world by the middle of the 20th.
There is no telling how much worse things might have been if it had not been for "The Hopkins", and the creation of Johns Hopkins University, in pre-Civil war America.
This story; which reads like a well written mystery novel, of the struggle to modernize medicine, and of the incredible gains, and the unforgivable failures, that occurred along with way; mostly due to large than life egos, and the self interests of politicians and civilians alike, is so mind blowing that it's difficult to imagine how we got to where we are today; or survived "The Great Epidemic"
This is a fascinating read; especially for those of us in the medical professions, but surely, just as fascinating for those who are not.
I never imagined that this book would be so enlightening or so spellbinding!
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