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It is 1948 and a young American couple arrive in France for a holiday. It is their chance to immerse themselves in the culture and language, and they arrive full of anticipation and enthusiasm. But the countryside and people are war-battered and their reception at the Chateau Beaumesnil, where they begin their stay, is not all the open-hearted Americans could wish for. Every encounter leaves them with more questions. Why are they not welcomed as citizens of the nation that liberated Europe? What are the secrets in the family?
Without rehashing the plot, it's an exposition of how an young American couple becomes involved with an extended French family (and other guests) at the chateau, with those relationships largely carried over to their subsequent time in Paris. Loose ends are dealt with via an epilogue format I found ... odd, but it worked, for the most part. The characters are all well differentiated, none of them stock. Overall, a good snapshot of a place and time.
Karl Miller does a great job as narrator, especially with the principal voice of Harold, who could've come off as dopey, or priggish, at times with the wrong reader.
I found this one a great use of a credit.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Has The Chateau turned you off from other books in this genre?
What didn’t you like about Karl Miller’s performance?
Odd hesitations in all the dialog, mispronounced French words
Any additional comments?
I enjoyed listening to this -- it was soothing and managed to hold my interest somehow even though almost nothing actually happens. It is about a young American couple moving around France as tourists during the years right after World War II, wondering about the oddities of the characters they meet and cultural differences that often baffle them. If you love France and/or William Maxwell, all this will be of interest, but be warned that the story amasses small mysteries which, just as in life, are only explained by conjecture. Because I love this author and his other books, I was willing to accept this but could certainly sympathize with any reader who finds it frustrating. This is not Maxwell's best book by a long shot (try TIME WILL DARKEN IT or THE FOLDED LEAF), but his wonderful voice is fully present. I was less pleased with the reading performance. To my ear, the French accents sounded labored, and I know that many of the words were mispronounced. It should have been possible to find a bilingual reader for this work!
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes. The book is beautifully written.
How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?
Make the story somewhat more interesting.
Which scene was your favorite?
The train ride to Paris.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Any additional comments?
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
A gem of a novel from a superb writer and beautifully read - love the French accent.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Having read a couple of his honest, personal and intriguing stories, I kept reading, waiting for the story to develop but it never did. Dull chronicle of a young couple's holiday in post war France
If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?
I find it difficult to believe that anybody with even the minimum interest it decent or literate writing could find this, badly edited, and horrendously read work of interest. Populated as it is by wooden characters existing in a landscape which reads like a third rate travel guide it is without exception the worst book I have downloaded since joining Audible.
What was most disappointing about William Maxwell’s story?
No one thing was "MOST DISAPPOINTING" it was more than a disappointment from the end of the first chapter so badly written and read was this work.
How could the performance have been better?
Find somebody who can read and has a knowledge of the French Language, accents and correct pronunciation.<br/>
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
My reaction should be self evident from the review I have already written.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful