George Amberson Minafer is the spoiled and arrogant grandson of the founder of the family's magnificence. Eclipsed by a new breed of industrial tycoons and land developers, whose power comes not through family connections but through financial dealings and modern manufacturing, George descends from the Midwestern aristocracy to the working class. As the wheels of industry transform the social landscape, the definitions of ambition, success, and loyalty also change.
Orson Welles based his classic film of the same name on Tarkington's novel.
(P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.
Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 1919
"All fiction collections should own a copy." (Library Journal)
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
This is one of those fantastic little classics (it won the Pulitzer Prizes second prize for the Novel category in 1919) that while not exactly ignored, certainly aren't read as frequently today as the author's talent should demand. It was made in 1942 into a movie by Orson Wells (his second film) so it does have that anchor to keep it from slipping further into the darkness of the past. I guess old fiction is like old families.
"Nothing stays or holds truly.
Great Caesar dead and turned to clay
stopped no hole to keep the wind away;
dead Caesar was nothing but tiresome bit
of print in a book that schoolboys study
for awhile and then forget."
I guess the same can be said of literature. Most books are eventually pulped. Even the good and many, many of the great ones too are soon forgotten. The writer's impulse is for some glimmer of immortality, but memories and readers are damn fickle things. We collectively shrug off and forget those we recently purchased, those banging the publisher's gongs to get attention, and to hell with all those public domain dead writers -- even if they did write such beautiful books.
Very well narrated. Great story and characters of a time past.
I find myself thinking of this book often. The past is always beautiful in our eyes, like George Minafer's mother. The present is drab and plain like his aunt. The future is fast, bold, and unwanted like Mr. Morgan. Life moves on, whether we want it to or not. I love the line "Get a Horse!" because those unreliable automobiles are just a fad. -- While this book was written in 1918, it's moral is certainly timeless which is in and of itself is quite ironic. The book does seem to drag just a bit which is why I have given it only 4 stars instead of 5.
and a penny for your thoughts
This book really transports you to the turn of the century (20th century) and gives a sense of what it was like. The reader is just right for it too. He brings the attitude of that time to the book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would say, if you like Jane Austen "type" books with a lot of character interaction, you'll like this.
trying to see the world with my ears
It's worth the listen just for character Eugene's musings on the future of the automobile and suburbia.
The novel struck me as Theodore Dreiser/Edith Wharton lite, but without Dreiser's drawn out prose or Wharton's pathos (that is, a happier ending in fewer, less eloquent words, but still with a good social history lesson thrown in).
The narration was very good -- another example of a fine novel I would never had encountered had it not been delvered (and for $4.95) as an audiobook. I hope Audible adds the other two in Tarkington's series.
Say something about yourself!
This classic is ruined by the narration - no inflection - almost a monotone. Took me months to get through it - I could only stand the narrator for about 1-2 hours!
Get the book - but find another narrator!
Yes. It's place in our established literary history (Pulitzer winner) is obvious though debatable as merit in and of itself, but the book's value as social commentary to the social flux taking place during American industrialization is quite valuable.
I thought I just answered that.
Yes. I found Mr. Blaisdell's performance to be adequate but I was disappointed with his female voices.
As of today I think I would likely say no, but my inclination may change with time.
This enduring classic was a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1919. The novel shows life in a small town in the early part of the 20th Century before and after the automobile made an impact and changed the status of the town's prominent families. The author portrays the decline of the big estates and the rise of a new aristocracy based on business acumen and not only inherited wealth. The main character, George Minafer, is not very likable, although by the end of the book, he is more sympathetic. His mother seems to me overprotective and indulgent toward George and this leads to his personality problems. Tarkington introduces humor, especially in the first part of the book, where the townfolk gossip about the Amberson family. This is a well written story with astute characterizations.
The narration by Geoffrey Blaisdell is excellent. I especially liked his tone and inflection when George exclaims: "riff-raff!".
Families must be at flexible and grow with the changes of times. The story of Ambersons illustrate growth, decline, love, and arrogance.
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