Then Jerome, Howard's older son, falls for Victoria, the stunning daughter of the right-wing icon Monty Kipps, and the two families find themselves thrown together in a beautiful corner of America, enacting a cultural and personal war against the background of real wars that they barely register. An infidelity, a death, and a legacy set in motion a chain of events that sees all parties forced to examine the unarticulated assumptions which underpin their lives. How do you choose the work on which to spend your life? Why do you love the people you love? Do you really believe what you claim to? And what is the beautiful thing, and how far will you go to get it?
Set on both sides of the Atlantic, Zadie Smith's third novel is a brilliant analysis of family life, the institution of marriage, intersections of the personal and political, and an honest look at people's deceptions. It is also, as you might expect, very funny indeed.
©2005 Zadie Smith; (P)2005 Penguin Audio, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., and BBC Audiobooks America
"[Smith's] wonderful ear for dialogue, as well as her uncanny ability to inhabit characters from different walks of life, is truly extraordinary." (Bookmarks Magazine)
"A boisterous, funny, poignant, and erudite novel that should firmly establish Smith as a literary force of nature." (Booklist)
"Like Smith's smash debut, White Teeth, this work gathers narrative steam from the clash between two radically different families." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
This book is one of the most annoying I have ever listened to (or read). Essentially a very boring recreation of the liberal-conservative face off, bound loosely in some very weak character studies. Zadie Smith seems to want to show off her university education by explicating ideas that have already been beaten to death, both on college campuses and in literature. Yawn. But not just boring, more infuriating really - none of the characters are multidimensional, or even just engaging. Father having sex with a teenager, mixed race teenager discovering politics, snobby undergrad making grandiose statements, wise old woman on her death bed - please spare me. I can't understand why there is such hype about Zadie Smith, when this book is just terrible. I stuck with it to the bitter end, and was sorry. Unless you really want to hear more about how liberals and conservatives are really just a bunch of hypocrites, save your money.
I guess I should start by stating that the narrator was fantastic. Problem is, the characters were boring (except for Kiki), the relationships were so cliche and unbelievable, the writing was forced and boring, and there was never an end to the story! I actually thought I failed to download the last section. I am used to thrillers, so I thought this would be a nice change because I had read so many great reviews about how it was "funny" interesting and exciting. It was NONE of these things. I'll go back and listen to "Confederacy of Dunces," which is what I wanted to do in the firstplace. Now THAT is a funny book.
Contrary to the synopsis of this book, one thing this book is NOT, is funny. I mean, if you think it is, you must be a little twisted. It's well written and evokes a number of emotions but mirth is not one of them. I'm not terribly picky but this one is not really my cup of tea.
This book was wonderfully read--each individual voice was distinct without being exaggerated. But the book itself was deeply disappointing: a random series of encounters among a number of cliched characters. And then it ends without having come to any sort of satisfying (or even unsatisfying) conclusion. If I'd been listening to it on CDs, I'd have thought the last one was missing.
This book is horrible. I listened for a few minutes and then took it off my list. I am sorry that I bought this book and want my money back.
I rated this book 1 star because I was forced to provide a rating.
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