©1957 Edward C. Aswell; (P)2008 Recorded Books, LLC
My purpose in writing this review is to provide a balance. It would be unfortunate if someone in the new Century, coming upon Thomas Wolfe for the first time, and unaware that they held within their hands one of the masterworks of the Twentieth Century, were deterred, and thus denied themselves a significant reading pleasure. If in reading it some 80 years after Wolfe wrote it, you feel it is too wordy, has too much description, or could have been edited more, remember this: Wolfe was in his mid twenties when he wrote it. Max Perkins, who is universally acknowledged as the greatest Editor of the Twentieth Century (he discovered/first published Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings etc.) was his Editor. Perkins, after much struggle, got him to cut 90,000 words from the original manuscript.
If you love the language; if you value wordcraft and the evocation of imagery in a sublime form; if you appreciate Steinbeck, Pat Conroy, Waltari and Shirley Haggard for these reasons, if you are a writer or want to be; if you hunger for a book that has masterful characterisation that will imprint the characters indellibly on your mind, then listen to and enjoy "Look Homeward, Angel". You will then know the Gants and the Pentlands like your own family and you will know why, as someone who averages reading / listening to 137 books per year (over 1200 since January 2000), I count this as one of my ten favourites, and why is has been for over 35 years. In addition, Scott Sowers has done a Masterful job of narration. It is worth the credit!
I saw that this book was one of Pat Conroy's favorites, and since he is my favorite author and I need to read some classics, I listened to this one. Thomas Wolfe's language is amazing and I see why they study this in school. Wow.
and a penny for your thoughts
This is not the easiest listen/read but to me, well worth the time and money. A voice from another time, The tone of Wolfe's writing adds to the story, giving a sense of the time period. Narration is #1 with any audio book for me and Scott Sowers is great.
I don't know which I loved more, Wolfe's poetic flourishes and a Woolfian ability to inject philosophical wonder into the mundane, or Sowers's flawless voicings and performance. I played this at a more comfortable 1.20x speed. I got hopelessly sucked into the world of the Gants, audibly gasping in wonder at some of Wolfe's most beautiful lines. A favorite from minute 1. I wish Sowers would record the sequel and the more recent uncut, unedited release.
The smallest of complaints - the chapters didn't line up with the Audible chapter breaks. Very minor issue that I could live with.
A man chronicles his escape from the constraints that his father struggled against and his mother embraced.
I want to like this book but the story gets lost in the abundance of annoying details!! I have listened to 3 of the 4 sections and don't know if I can take anymore. I'll bet the actual story is about 10 hours long.
A plot! A purpose! I just don't get the great American novel reputation. I thought this was a waste of over thirty hours, when I count the times I had to back up to see if I missed something.
I had never read anything by Wolfe before, and I'm pretty sure I will not again.
The performance was fine. No complaints about that.
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