The best part of this book was in the early chapters as Bosch plies the streets of LA. His relationships, good and bad, with colleagues and others, are absorbing and instructive. Borderline implausible plot twists (probably unnecessary) and some unresolved issues were a bit disappointing, but all in all, this was highly absorbing if you don't do too much analysis or mourn the loss of a somewhat grittier, though no tougher, Harry.
I was pleasantly surprised how accessible this 150-year-old novel was, and despite the enormous cultural gaps, I was hooked by both the story and the fate of most of the characters. Nadia May differentiated characters and I think, despite some criticisms by others, provided pitch perfect dramatization. We do have to make some adjustments when we read period novels. The pacing is noticeably slower, which personally I find therapeutic in a high paced world. the world view as espoused primarily by Levin is especially poignant when espoused after we understand the context of his life. For those of us who are going back to classic literature after years or decades of doing other things, this novel would serve well as a beginning -- or a relaxing break from some of the denser, more esoteric novels of the 19th century. As others have pointed out, there are technical glitches involving the recording, including some background sound as if the recording had been made over a tape or file that hadn't been completely erased. Audible in a few minutes could go back and remove the "change the disc" messages, a residue of the pre-MP3 recording I listened to. There were at least two of these distracting messages, not fatal in a recording of this length, but unnecessary.
The use of dual narration is particularly satisfying in this long, complex but thoroughly satisfying book as I read through the entire series of Dickens novels. I particularly looked forward to Teresa Gallagher's clear, compelling well flowing narration. While Sean Barrett clearly differentiated his characters, following the presumably authentic accents of some characters was a real challenge in some chapters. That is as much a function of my U.S. English-trained ear than the narration, although I would have wished for a bit of compromise on the authenticity in the interest of clarity in a few cases. Both narrators appropriately and helpfully understated the melodrama that is rampant in the plot, typical of novels of the era. On a technical note, it would be useful if Audible would list Chapter numbers on the MP3 printed menus to help us find our place.
Boyle's picture of ambiguity and hypocrisy, potential and realized, comes through much as it did in Tortilla Curtain. Flawed characters are nothing if not believable, even when their antics push the limits of credibility. Having spent time in California reserves, I do recommend this novel for both its compelling storyline and its many insights to both the California of wine bars and wilderness. Narration was a problem when Heald tried to reflect excitement by speeding up -- hard to follow.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.