Copyright ©1999 by Julian Barnes; Copyright (P)1999 NewStar Media Inc.
"A treasure chest of wordplays, ironic imagery and gemlike phrasing that's sure to amuse." (The Wall Street Journal)
"A brilliant, Swiftian fantasy: a virtual England." (The Economist)
"...an uproarious farce that mocks both our postmodernist suspicion of the authentic and our Disney-like willingness to turn that embrace of the ersatz into a money-making machine." (The New York Times)
This is one of the first audio books I have ever bought and, based on this, I will be buying many more. The writing is quirky and witty, the subject matter intriguing and all too familiar - it rang bells with me all the way through (but hey, maybe that's because I'm a 'Brit').
The narration was pefect and easy to listen to - ease of listening is a problem I have found with other books but not the case here.
If you are English and want a laugh, or not English and want a challenge, then this is the book for you.
The story itself is good. It's interesting and poignant, a little weird, but it has some human universals that anyone can connect to. It's painfully literary in a lot of ways—"progressive" male author "explores" female sexuality with a female main character who likes sex, the narrative uses "fuck" a lot, etc.
This audio recorded, though, is pretty bad. The performer does not pause when the chapter is over. It makes this book really quite useless for a student—which I am—who needs to read a certain number of chapters by a certain date. The chapters it's divided into are different from the book, so that's useless. In the audiobook, I'm on Chapter Six, but in the actual book, I'm on Chapter Two. It's somewhat infuriating. The recording itself is poor quality and a little painful with headphones. The use of voices for different characters is okay, and the tone the performer uses is alright. The quality and lack of chapter divisions are the real problems that made really took away from the experience of this audiobook.
Unless you're a complete Anglophile, knowlegeable with Brittish slang, colloquialism, geography, culture, and comedic nuance, you will have a difficult time getting into this story. Half the time, I had no idea what they were talking about and I consider myself to be well above the literacy line. I could not force myself to hear more than two hours worth and that's rare for me since I love audiobooks. I found the narration one-dimensional and the voice of the narrator seemed to be a monotone.
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