Everybody knows Albert Brooks. He's been at the forefront of comedy, film, and television since the late '60s. From Taxi Driver to The Simpsons Movie, from Saturday Night Live to Weeds, Brooks continues to roll with the times and prove himself to new generations of fans. It's almost unbelievable that he waited so long to try writing a book, and that the book isn't just a memoir. Instead, with 2030, Brooks is sticking to what he does best: envisioning the future with his keenly funny and often self-deprecating liberal, Jewish, show-biz eye. That's not a stereotype; that's the genre that Brooks perfected.
It may seem like a bit of a mystery as to why Brooks chose to call in another pro to do the narration, but Dick Hill is unquestionably the right man for the job. With over 300 audiobooks under his belt, three Audies and dozens of Earphone Awards to his credit, there's no voice Hill can't handle. He manages to make Brooks' didactic sense of humor crystal clear without stooping to a simple imitation of the way Brooks sounds. Hill adds significant depth and a bit of empathy to characters that are meant more as placeholders for the unfurling crisis than as literary gems, contributing an important dimension to the experience of the novel with which Brooks' more than ample screenwriting talent is perhaps not entirely acquainted.
This book is meant to showcase large dreams, but it isn't a dystopian novel. It describes a world where the big one has finally shaken the author's beloved Los Angeles into a state of emergency too big for the government to solve alone. The president is forced to partner with China to rebuild, and although there are a dozen characters' intersecting lives to sift though, the interesting thing about the book is really just Brooks' analysis of our future history between now and 2030. A left-wing cautionary tale that does not forsake the limits of scientific or economic plausibility, this is a refreshing new direction for Brooks that gains a terrific assist from Dick Hill's masterful character study. Megan Volpert
©2011 Albert Brooks (P)2011 Tantor
"This is an intriguing vision of America's future. Recommended for fans of futuristic dystopian fiction." (Library Journal)
An odd mingling of low brow comedy, frightening prophesy and condemnation of the American system, (probably well deserved) I don't think any of us can foretell the future, and whatever really happens will be a big surprise to us all. However, it's fun to read this authors vision. The narrator is really a "kick".
Thrilled with this book. I never knew that he was an author, and a great one at that!
Imaginative, thought provoking, very creative and well written. Thank you Mr. Brooks.
The ending was a bit....sudden.
Definitely made me laugh AND cry a bit. The major motivating factor for the plot of the book is a natural disaster in one of America's largest cities, and the day after I started listening, superstorm Sandy hit New York. I kept waiting for Obama to call China to bail the subways out.
...this book does not really take advantange of the potential of this topic: The U.S. is buried under a mountain of Chinese debt, and then experinences a massive natural disaster and has to try to rebuild with no money.
The characters are uninspiring and I had a hard time caring about what happended to them next.
The narration is fine, in fact, I think it makes sense to have older narrator since so much of this book deals with the challenge of the country dealing with a huge, older population.
But in terms of plot, characters, pacing, or creativity this book falls short.
Driving over 100,000 mile a year since 1983, I got hooked on audible books on tape 30 years back. I now listen from my bicycle 2 hours a day
characterizing this a not being Dystopian or as "left wing" or "liberal" when it presents a case for ending Social Security and Medicare if not euthanasia
There is too much truth in the possibility of a cataclysmic earthquake disaster in LA pushing the US into total collapse under the weight of an aging population already suffering under trillions in W's war debts and the current recession with high unemployment. Why shouldn't the young hold a grudge against "the greatest generation"? Why would they want to continue to pay for what the retirees believe they have earned?
This isn't a perfect book and there is nothing funny about it but it does provide some food for thought about next year or 2030 when the US is incapable of continuing to pay out the Social Security checks that retirees depend upon because we suffered the Wall Street Meltdown, the redistribution of the wealth from the middle class to the ultra-wealthy since Reagan, and disasters like Katrina.
Once we start to really feel the down slope following Peak Oil exacerbated by emerging fuel consumption from China and India, the climate change accelerated by all that burning carbon, and a more complete collapse of our financial system in the USA things could get much worse than this 2030 predicts. We can hope those who think this way are wrong but what if they are right???
Interesting take on the future. Felt that he got tired of writing as it wound up abruptly. Didn't address lots of threads that were quite developed. Worth the read.
I loved the book it really felt like you were listening to the near future from the perspective of different socioeconomic characters. The ending felt rushed though, bringing the rating down by a star but still an amazing listen.
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