There was nothing civil about the 15th-century ‘War of the Roses’ for the English throne. The same could be said about the guerilla war waged by Oliver and Barbara Rose over their beloved Washington, D.C. mansion in Warren Adler’s best-selling novel, The War of the Roses. Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner stared in a famous 1989 film adaptation of this 1981 novel, but the film is nothing compared to the newly-released audio version of this delicious black comedy.
Dave Giorgio brings just the right touch to his reading of The War of the Roses. The book gradually gets darker and darker as Oliver and Barbara raise the stakes in their winner-take-all battle over who gets what in their messy divorce. But rather than give the book an over-the-top reading, Giorgio delivers each sentence in a steady, matter-of-fact tone that could also deliver a line like “Once upon a time…” if this were a Grimm fairy tale about two people seriously determined to kill each other.
Giorgio is smart to take a light approach to the increasingly dark subject matter in the book. If he had tried to oversell his lines and give a heavy-handed performance, the novel would have felt contrived and unbelievable. Instead, Giorgio’s steady, deep voice makes all the ludicrous things the Roses do to drive each other out of the house feel and sound real.
Giorgio’s understated tone enables the audiobook to pack a serious emotional punch. The movie might have strictly been a black comedy, but Adler’s book achieves something more. The disintegration of the Roses themselves and their house almost takes on a horror-like quality.
And yet beneath all the bitter backstabbing, Adler’s book conveys the deep love the Roses still secretly feel for each other. No wonder this book became a worldwide best seller. The War of the Roses taps into our worst fears about lost love and failed marriages, then stylishly serves them up in devilishly delectable mouthfuls for us to savor, one stinging sentence at a time. Ken Ross
The Roses met at an auction on Cape Cod. Oliver had just bought a Staffordshire figurine - one of a pair - but Barbara outbid him for its mate. The figurines belonged together, and so did the Roses. Now the two objets d'art sat together on a shelf in the Roses' home - symbols of the passion their owners shared. A passion that united them and now was about to tear them apart.
Sharing, for Oliver and Barbara Rose, was a way of life. Living in the mansion they had restored together, with the antiques they had collected together, their rare wines, their orchids, and their children - all the beautiful things they owned - they were happy. Their latest project had been the kitchen, which was to be the core of Barbara's new-found career as a caterer of gourmet foods. Though Oliver was a busy and successful attorney, he had shared all the planning chores with her.
The tipping point occurred when Oliver collapsed with what seemed to be a heart attack, and Barbara, as he had expected, did not rush to his side. Her indifference to his fate was both galling and an eye-opener about the truth of their marriage, a truth based more on materialism than mutual sharing and love.
The War of the Roses is a timeless novel. Yet, this is a story uniquely of our own time, where more and more people measure their happiness and success in terms of the things they possess.
This is the book that inspired one of the most famous movies about divorce ever produced. Shown somewhere in the world every week, the movie is an excellent adaptation of the book that has been translated in almost every language on the planet. The impact of both the book and the movie have made them both classics and brought the title The War of the Roses into the accepted jargon of divorce, describing the terrible hatred and cruelty engendered in the process.
©2001 Warren Adler (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"Tight, unique, intimate...fascinating and unusual." (West Coast Review of Books)
It is very hard to believe this book is an audible.com selection. Have never heard a more boring shallow book and I have an audible library of more than 600 books!
This is an excellent book. I had seen the movie quite some time ago, though from what I recall, the book follows a more conventional narrative form as compared to the movie in which the Danny Devito character tells the story.
This is a classic story in that it not only explores a particularly dark yet relatable aspect of potential relationship deterioration, but it holds up to the 20 years or so of time since written.
It's an entertaining listen. The characters, events and storyline are gripping.
The reader was excellent. I enjoyed the narrative and character voices very much.
Here's a rare exception to the rule of the book is always better than the movie! This is the source of the Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas movie from the 1980s. The movie--a black comedy--is pretty good; the book is middling at best. The movie establishes its tone and carries it throughout, while the book sometimes seems to take itself seriously and sometimes seems to be a comedy. Also, the author takes the story of a nasty divorce and pretends to take a "both sides at fault" stance, but the wife is clearly the villian. No one could truly sympathize with this lady, no matter how feminist! She twice tries to kill the husband and does kill his dog. The husband puts dexadrine in the wife's valium and scares off someone who accidently runs over the wife's cat. And this is a balanced view of a divorce?
Also, the reader is not a winner. While he is enthusiastic and speaks and emotes clearly, his vocabulary is not up to some of the fairly simple language used, resulting in some jarring mispronounciations!
I would not buy again.
AUDIBLE MAKES READING POSSIBLE AND EASY FOR ME...I AM VISUALLY IMPAIRED. I WISH THEY HAD ALL THE BOOKS I WANT I WOULD SNAP THEM UP!
in the top third.
i liked to read to what extreme the two of them would go to get their way.
mr. rose. but i saw the movie. michael douglas played mr. rose and he is my favorite actor.
MARRIAGE IS TEH FIRST STEP TO DIVORCE.
when i started the book i thought it was one of the few books that did not live up to the movie. but as the book went on i changed my mind. the book IS better.
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