dropping literary names does not a novel make -- and the reader did not help the cause. The writer TOLD us most of the time, doing a poor Hemingway imitation, starting 1/2 way thru the book . Things are all fine and good and strong.
The 36 different lectures and lecturers is a bit patchy -- some hold up as informative and delightful individual excerpts, while too many are obviously meant to be connected to the larger course. Too many are not actually about the book but rather fill in sideline tangents and other minutia. I think it is the format. I was expecting more about the actual texts and the writers. A few stand outs -- Francis Bacon, The King James Bible, The Confessions.
The writing and the narrator.
The perspective of the narrator as the straight man -- echoes of Nick in Gatsby.
He sounds like Truman telling the story to his in crows gathered around himself, with drinks and laughter, but basking in being the center of attention as the storyteller.
Truman Capote himself and I would just sit back and listen.
No -- life is too short.
No but characters were absorbing. Bit too much ranting / preaching about the government's failures leading up to, during and after Katrina.
perfect tone and timing for each character
When the looter writes out his apology on a paper towel and tries to make amends.
NOT a narrative but rather a long list of names of people and place and sites. I have a reasonable background in this time period and even then impossible to follow as an audio book.
overly dramatic reading doesn't match laundry list writing.
boredom -- no mas!
Yes child narrator reminded me of Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird -- truth teller who is willing to really see what is around her. The reality and the metaphorical use of "country" is well developed. The Zimbabwe part with her friends seems better and less rushed than the US par but maybe that was because it was so new for me. So many perfect little sentences. Repetition used like a chant. The "names" are intriguingly important. The cataloging of details is perfect.
The games the kids play which carry throughout the novel.
exquisite timing and diction -- her accent reminded me this was an African's story but was very clear and understandable. Changed later in the story to reflect the American characters.
flat narrator's voice was not invested in the magical fairy tale aspects. Good try on the story -- some creative interesting parts, too many boring parts. Ironically it was the "real" parts which did not seem believable to me. Time is not carefully consistent; money is scarce but pies are made with the last of flour -- but then more pies. Really boring if no edge/conflict to these problems.
Either MORE magical evocations -- or less. Like MacBeth she is half way across the commitment to the supernatural, but does not really trust her own construct of a fairy tale.Read Winter's Tale (NOT the movie!) for the lyrical use of fantasy and magic .Or even better 100 Years of Solitude.
boredom -- interspersed with some really intersting parts.
I have tried a few times in the past to READ James Lee Burke's novels -- always too macho and too southern good ole boy for me. Will Patton absolutely elevates these books for me. He reveals the core of the characters, and now I want more. Finally get what all the rave reviews were about.
The characters and the narrator's timing, timbre and accent.
more complex, less obvious plot; the reviewers that say it was disjointed confuse me -- yes it moved from different settings and characters but it was too obvious for me. Redeemed again by the read aloud and the characters.
Horses, houses and debts.
The narrator's voice was too Midwestern, and highly pitched overall, and ESPECIALLY when supposedly quoting Adams's own words -- one notch below chipmunk voice IMHO. The narrator certainly made no mistakes -- just the wrong tone and pitch for John Adams.
The writing was interestingly organized,despite a lot of detail to track for a listeners. I loved the development of JA's character and the inclusion of Abigail (of course) and others less well known from history such as Benjamin Rush.
The CA Central Valley tie-in of the title and the more police procedural type plot make this a slightly different Harry Bosch. Narrator was a tiny bit plodding -- but so was Harry in this one . Very good but not the best ever. Narrator mispronounces ManTEEca repeatedly which bugged me . Used detective Chiu as a sterotypical Asian tech geek, not as believable as most Michael Connelly characters. Mendenhall going "off reservation " is left unexplained, despite it being a significant subplot. Is Connelly saving Chiu and Mendenhall for a sequel? Otherwise has all the satisfactions of a Harry Bosch novel. Even at less than his best Michael Connelly tells a better story than most writers.
Other Harry Bosch's -- same pacing and characters.
It is ManTEEkah
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