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Chicago

A Novel
Narrated by: Wayne Mitchell
Length: 7 hrs and 23 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

On the last day of summer, a young college grad moves to Chicago and rents a small apartment on the north side of the city, by the lake. This is the story of the five seasons he lives there, during which he meets gangsters, gamblers, policemen, a brave and garrulous bus driver, a cricket player, a librettist, his first girlfriend, a shy apartment manager, and many other riveting souls, not to mention a wise and personable dog of indeterminate breed.

A love letter to Chicago, the Great American City, and a wry account of a young man's coming-of-age during the one summer in White Sox history when they had the best outfield in baseball, Chicago is a novel that will plunge you into a city you will never forget and may well wish to visit for the rest of your days.

©2016 Brian Doyle (P)2019 Tantor

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A fine, entertaining book, very well read.

Brian Doyle has written a moving, deeply personal narrative about a young man, clearly the author, who spends five years of his young life in Chicago, the city of big shoulders...
The second most important character in the book is Edward, a seriously anthropomorphized dog. Edward has so many adventures that the reader finds many human characteristics in him, no matter whether we be canine fans or not. The third main character in the book is a building. An apartment building with about twenty apartments, I think. The people who live there and the neighborhood they inhabit are unforgettable. The landlord, the super, the people on floors above and below him; the woman who bakes empanadas in the basement on Saturday mornings. The fourth most important character in the book is the lake. Seriously. The author runs by the lake, dribbles his shiny=worn basketball on the lake side trying to improve his weak left hand, the alewives which spawn and die in a frenzy there every spring...The book is a love letter to the city of Chicago, and as such is a fine success. It does wander around a bit, keeping pace with the author's wanderings around the city. He discovers many fine people, food and other things. The best gyros, the best...The White Sox, his favorite team. Listening to the games with his super and with Edward on a transistor radio. His mostly absent love life, which appears near the end of the book and is the inspiration for his departure, to a relationship that barely lasts a year. We fast forward to his life in the present, in which he is a married writer with two kids, living somewhere unmentioned. His travels to cities all over the world, about which he seems to have almost encyclopedic knowledge.
The narrator is great. I had never heard him read anything before, but I will look for him in the future. My only complaint, and it is truly a nit, is with the volume dynamics, which is something for the director or producer to know about. When he drops his voice it is almost an inaudible whisper. When he raises it with passion it is too loud, annoyingly so. Other than that, I heartily recommend Chicago. I loved the musical a little bit more, mostly due to the unimaginable charms of Catherine Zeta-Jones, a woman in whom the music lives. Irrelevant? Perhaps. And? Is this important?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful