Harold Silver, a Richard Nixon Scholar, has spent a lifetime watching his younger, taller, and more successful brother, George. But Harry knows that George has a murderous temper, and when he finally loses control the result is an act of violence which hurls the two brothers into entirely new lives. A savage and dizzyingly inventive vision that penetrates the dark heart of contemporary America to tell a darkly comic tale of 21st-century domestic life and how one deeply fractured family might begin to put itself back together.
©2012 A. M. Homes (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd
A conclusion is where you got tired of thinking.
I usually prefer reading, but in this case, the audiobook was just amazing.
Nathan Osgood has perfect comic timing, whether impersonating the insecure protagonist, his indifferent mother or his wise-beyond-his-age cousin.
I love to listen to American books. Following the plot, keeping track of personal developments and intrigues while walking two miles to work
He asks for a lot of empathy, Harry, the protagonist of this book. He is the man you hate to love, just like his favorite politician, Richard Nixon is the man people love to hate.What happens, especially in the beginning of the storry is not an everyday story, but the author persuades us to believe it. Sometimes funny, sometimes moving, but always bizarre.
And just the right number of 'actors' to make it possible to follow the story by listening while walking.
Yes. The book is well written, well read and I really enjoyed listening to it.
The book is complex enough to appeal to literary types but is a good story too so is easy to listen to (or read presumably)
It seems to me perfect to listen to. It's my first audiobook for a while.
I liked the insight that it gave me into my own life and problems.
I could listen to it in my car! Not sure if I would have read it otherwise.
A slight comment is that the female voices got slightly grating after a while (several hours of listening of course). Osgood is a man so not sure what he could have done about that.
Don't believe the other negative views. This book is fantastic, crazy, compelling, funny and touching. Buy it.
"Cain and Able in America"
I feel compelled to write a review since the others are so poor. I really enjoyed this book with its story about brothers at odds with each other, a shocking event that comes of their rivalry, and the eventual evolution of the central character into someone who cares and allows himself to change. It is not an exciting adventure but an unfolding examination of American lives and how a man can still grow and deepen as he gets older. It kept me absorbed and gave me food for thought. If you're looking for a romp, or an action story, this is not the one, but if you want something more thoughtful - give it a go.
"Perfectly pitched satire - along with a plot"
If you like your humour satirical, bone-dry and pitch-black, you will probably like this acidic novel whose premise is the state of 21st century American life, and society.
The plot is quite meandering and although the main characters are middle-class, professional Americans, you do feel the ferrous under-tow of sub-culture, of people falling through the gaps in society - or deliberately slipping away from the 'norms'.
It is also a story of love, murder, family, damage and friendship. I found it very edgy and so it is not a relaxing read, but it did fascinate me.
The key characters are Jewish New York state Americans and a lot of the pleasure in the book is to be had from these often very funny cast-members. The thread about the main character's Nixon obsession was very enjoyable too.
Very well written prose and the narration is good. The reader has a gruff voice and yet managed to convey the characters with often very tiny changes to his tone.
Content is fairly adult (sexually) and quite graphic (medically/physically), not that it bothered me, but you might not have it on during the school run.
Engaging, interesting, enjoyable
A lot can happen in a single year, which is what happens from one Thanksgiving to the next.
This made me laugh out loud a number of times.
Although I very much enjoyed this book, I felt it was over long. I was beginning to tire of some of the characters before the end, which is unusual for me (sometimes I dread a book ending as I have become so engrossed with the characters). I also struggled with the lack of realism about much of the plot. I probably read it because of its prize winning status and can understand why it succeeded.
Its started off well but it got boring.
No real story to speak of, maybe I didn't get it but I am not the only one.
"good in parts"
Several funny moments mostly unrelated to to the farcical plot swists.
Suited the book.
Plot became strained and ended in an orgy of motherhood and apple pie, you can almost hear the star spangled banner. On the other hand, I listened to the end and laughed out loud a few times. 3.5 is probably fair.
"Thought provoking AND funny"
Pretty near the top, I came to is with some degree of suspicion as sadly I tend to with all American literature ..but it had me hooked pretty quickly. I ended up taking lessons from the laid back world view of the central character finding himself after for years being labeled ' retard' by his family. He comes into his own and its all done very seductively and with great humour. Like the other reviewer I laughed out load frequently which is always a benchmark for me.
Jonathon Franzen but so much better. Less gloomy
I haven't listened to the narrator before but though he did a good job
"I love anti-heroes!"
A hero despite himself and his upbringing
Harrry, flaws and all and Nate
Never heard Osgood before but would choose again based in this. He is sympathetic and human in his delivery
If I could but time would not allow!
Harry is a bit of an antihero, and put me in mind of Willaim Boyd's A Good Man in Africa, but he redeems himself so much more. The book is touching, funny and life affirming but not at all twee. Not sure that I really got the Nixon issues! All men are flawed???
"I was hooked from page one"
A story of brothers; of families; a mix of dark tragedy, suspense and high humour. This book is a treat: you never know where it's going next. I've never read a book quite like it. To describe it as 'life-affirming' makes it sound worthy. It was just a right good read: un-switch-off-able and occasionally laugh-out loud funny. The central character was endlessly surprising if just-a-little too good to be true? But I loved him anyway.
"Great storytelling, let down by narration"
The story is funny, outrageous and compelling. I found I had little empathy for the main character, he managed to go through some pretty amazing events with a kind of head-in-the-clouds stoicism but then this can be (and is) funny. I laughed out loud regularly and was pinned to the story very early on by the engrossing opening.
The only thing that detracted from this audible experience was the narrator's inability to break out from his own voice. The main characters are Jewish and a lot of the story is based around Jewish people and lives. The narrator has a strong Woody Allen style NY Jewish accent. This is all fine for those characters but it means that every character in the book is the same, policemen, shopkeepers, school teachers, everyone has the same accent and after a while that really starts to grate. So I think I prefered the voices I attributed when I read the book in print. Otherwise I would highly recommend the book, maybe go for the printed edition though or wait till they get a slightly more versatile actor to read.
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