This personal, lyrical narrative about storytelling and empathy from award winner Rebecca Solnit is a fitting companion to her beloved A Field Guide for Getting Lost.
In this exquisitely written new audiobook by the author of A Paradise Built in Hell, Rebecca Solnit explores the ways we make our lives out of stories, and how we are connected by empathy, by narrative, by imagination. In the course of unpacking some of her own stories - of her mother and her decline from memory loss, of a trip to Iceland, of an illness - Solnit revisits fairytales and entertains other stories: about arctic explorers, Che Guevara among the leper colonies, and Mary Shelley's Dr. Frankenstein, about warmth and coldness, pain and kindness, decay and transformation, making art and making self. Woven together, these stories create a map which charts the boundaries and territories of storytelling, reframing who each of us is and how we might tell our story.
©2013 Rebecca Solnit (P)2014 Audible Inc.
I'd love to, but I don't think I cold listen to the author reading it again.
It's a unique story
The author could benefit from working with a vocal coach. The intonation of her voice is monotonous and she speaks through her nose and mouth, so the voice was muddy, nasally, and drone-like. It sounded like she had a cold. All G's were pronounced hard - as in 'talking' became 'talkink'. So many words in the English language end in 'g' - this vocal quirk became distracting and ultimately annoying (or as would be read, "distractink" and "addoyink". I almost stopped listening when she clearly struggled to pronounce the word "numbing".
For such a brilliantly written book, it was surprising and extremely disappointing to listen the the stuffy, noisy and flat reading of of this immensely creative book. What was especially surprising was that these issues could have been remedied with vocal coaching, which should have occurred upon the first trial readings!
The thing I love about Rebecca Solnit's essays is the way they strive to reach like and unlike minds--and they succeed. They are compassionate and rigorous. I expected this book to feel less self-absorbed than many memoirs. But it did not achieve that expectation. Solnit's voice attributes to this. It's an inward-turning voice, which is fine in places, but not when it maintains this dreaminess even through the more narrative and researched parts of the book. In those places, it just lends to the overall feeling of self absorption. Had I read rather than listened to this book, I might have enjoyed it more. Solnit is a brilliant and important writer. But she is a very poor reader when recording an entire book. She and Audible would have served the book well to hire a professional reader. I honestly can't tell if my two star rating is unfairly low. My guess is, it is. But the book is so poorly read, I have no gauge. I think I will go buy the hard copy and give it a fair chance.
This could have been read by someone else. Someone must tell authors when they are not good narrators! It was SO bad, that I went out and got the book, because it was actually unlistenable. The book is great, the narration is monotone and dreary. A narrator is a crucial part of audiobook listening and cannot be ignored.
Get an actor to read this, PLEASE. You forced me to give the performance one star, but it deserves none.
Philosophical, lyrical, deep and wise!
Good for women with difficult mothers, travelers and writers. This book is crafted with care and read by the author which adds to your intimate sense of her.
With a different narrator, this could bring this fine book alive, but this narrator is just wretched. Flat and repetitive tone with a pace that disrespects the words and story.
Looked up to see who the narrator is so as to never to get another from her so poor is the performance, she essentially detracts from a great story. Learning that this lame narrator is the author explains much. Such an sad circumstance to have a great story and have allowed the author to make it unlistenable.
A professional narrator. Any professional narrator. Maybe even a synthetic voice would have life and variety in the performance
The first two chapters are unsurpassed in poignant and compelling description of the mother daughter relationship as many of us experienced it. World class writing.
Do this author a favor and get a professional narrator who cares about the work and does not force the reader to read this painful audible rendering. She is a skilled writer doing her book no good in narrating it.
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