That man is Nicholas Van Tassel, and All He Ever Wanted is his account of how two lives changed from that tumultuous night forward. A proud and orderly man, Van Tassel is ill equipped to deal with the ferocity of love. But he is determined to have Etna, no matter what the cost. Riding a train south many years later, he unwinds the memories of the drama that followed and struggles to understand the mystery his life became on that night.
This is no ordinary tale of obsession. All He Ever Wanted is a story about different kinds of love, different ideas of what love is, and how lives can be strained to breaking over those differences. It is a powerful exploration of the music and silences of family life, the unhinging forces of desire, the wrenching power of secrets unrevealed, and the bewildering territories of betrayal and loss.
©2003 Anita Shreve; (P)2003 Time Warner AudioBooks. A division of the AOL Time Warner Book Group.
"Shreve is a master at depicting passion's ferocious grip...there's something addictive about her literary tales of lust and love." (USA Today)
Nicholas gets all he ever wanted but perhaps learns that sometimes what we want will not make us happy. A poignant but certainly not sappy love story. I really enjoyed this romantic story. The author's use of the English language,drawing images with words, adds a quality to this book far beyond many books written today.
This is a classic Shreve book. Everything is written in reverse and really doesn't make sense until the end. But it was enjoyable, if not realistic. Can anybody be that obsessed?
I barely tolerated this book and almost didn't finish it (a rarity for me). I have not been enthralled with Anita Shreve but I keep trying. I think this book has covinced me to not bother further.
The story takes place in the late 1800's into the 1930's. The author criss crosses back and forth which makes it confusing and adds nothing to the importance of each traverse across time (he is writing the story on a train and gets interrupted so you hear about how the train was derailed...). There are numerous small details that prove of no value to the plot but only slow the story down further (the personal life of a minor character -- a friend -- from whom he borrows a car, no less how he hates to drive but does it anyway).
The narration is done well but the main character is such a "prig" it gets tedious listening to him.
If you like Shreve, go ahead. If you don't like Shreve, or have never read her, don't bother with tis one.
Anita Shreve is a favorite author of mine and this audiobook was not a disappointment. It took me a little while to get used to the reader, but as his character developed I realized he was absolutely perfect for the part. Throughout the book the characterization was flawless and the people and events were very realistic.
The only thing that kept me listening to this book was the narrator - he does a fine job. Other than that, the book is boring and nothing much happens. It's ok as a period piece, but doesn't dive deep enough into the minds of the characters to make it interesting.
I liked this novel. At first it was slow and I found myself not paying attention. Then it picks up all of the sudden and I couldn’t stop listening. This is a story that happens in life more often than not – unfortunately. I liked being able to see it from both perspectives, it was well done. I had to go back and re-listen to pick up what I missed. I recommend it, but keep pushing through the beginning!
This book doesn't really have any characters that you can root for. The main character is weak and self-indulging, what we would now call a "weenie". It's his pathetic story, and just not a very interesting one. He's the kind of guy you just want to slap.
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