It is the summer of 1940, and Lisbon, Portugal, is the only neutral port left in Europe - a city filled with spies, crowned heads, and refugees of every nationality, tipping back absinthe to while away the time until their escape. Awaiting safe passage to New York on the SS Manhattan, two couples meet: Pete and Julia Winters, expatriate Americans fleeing their sedate life in Paris; and Edward and Iris Freleng, sophisticated, independently wealthy, bohemian, and beset by the social and sexual anxieties of their class. As Portugal’s neutrality, and the world’s future, hang in the balance, the hidden threads in the lives of these four characters - Julia’s status as a Jew, Pete and Edward’s improbable affair, Iris’s increasingly desperate efforts to save her tenuous marriage - begin to come loose. This journey will change their lives irrevocably, as Europe sinks into war.
Gorgeously written, sexually and politically charged, David Leavitt’s long-awaited new novel is an extraordinary work.
©2013 David Leavitt (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
Yes. I've read around and it does sound like some of his earlier novels were good ones.
The narrator gave his performance a rather flippant tone which detracted from the story all together. He tended not to differentiate between characters' voices well enough so that it was hard to tell who was speaking during a dialogue. And worst of all, he couldn't pronounce any words in French or other languages at all. Which was unfortunate since there were times when French was used. He also mispronounced English words often enough that I was distracted and annoyed by it. I don't usually have problems with narrators, but this one I will avoid in future.
I have to say I'm not positive it was worth the listening time. It was an interesting story, but the plot at times just left me wondering about the characters and their emotions. It was hard to understand why they did what they did or why they didn't care more about various things. Really, the story is between 2 and 3 stars, but I suppose that might have been a higher score with a different narrator. The flippant tone just didn't help the story one bit.
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