Great research to tell the stories of these three women--and of the great changes that they were part of as their generation came of age. A wonderful book for the information about their lives, music, and milieu, less great for the actual writing, which was often unclear and clunky.
The narration, while lively and listenable, contained lots of egregious pronunciation errors that distracted from the text. The attempt to rhythmically but tunelessly speak song lyrics was also painful. I'd prefer to hear either a "straight" reading--i.e., as if the verses were poetry--or a reasonable singer replicating the tune a little bit.
Hadn't read anything about this book (or if I had, I'd completely forgotten what) before I started listening to it--a wonderful reading by Hope Davis. I'd recommend, as others do, that you NOT read much about the book before you start, and just take it on faith that Anna Quindlen knows what she's doing. I was perfectly happy with the first half's beautifully observed portrait of family life with teenage kids--though I understand why some people might find it a bit slow-going and uneventful. But then events do occur, and the second half is heart-wrenching and equally beautifully observed. Highly recommended, but if you've endured a major tragedy or loss very recently you might want to wait a bit.
The audio edition of this book is fantastic--really a radio comedy/drama. It is introduced by Attila Ambrus himself, the eponymous Whiskey Robber, as he served time in jail for his string of non-violent bank robberies in Budapest in the 1990s. The author is the main narrator, with voices supplied by a wildly diverse array of people from comedians Dmetri Martin and Eugene Mirman to author Gary Shteyngart, and music by One Ring Zero.
It is the crazy-but-true story of how Attila, a hapless and basically unpaid professional hockey goalie (as well as a pen salesman, pelt smuggler, and serious drinker and would-be high roller), applied himself to the profession of bank robbery, becoming a national folk hero as he left the overworked and under-equipped police sputtering in his wake. Great characters, detailed reporting, and a wry style drive the story along irresistibly. The author even manages to work in a quick background history of Hungary and paints a cynical picture of 1990s Budapest, when the influx of western-style capitalism only changed the style of corruption.
A most enjoyable roller-coaster ride, highly recommended for anyone who is traveling to Hungary, who enjoys true crime reporting, or who just wants a highly entertaining true tale.
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