When I express how I feel for Woolf's writing it is only in superlatives...... Yes, the writing is amazing. When I look at how I feel for the book as...moreWhen I express how I feel for Woolf's writing it is only in superlatives...... Yes, the writing is amazing. When I look at how I feel for the book as a whole, I feel it deserves less stars. Why? Is it the British upper-crust characters she weaves her story around that is the stumbling block for me? I believe so.
Writing using her unique stream of consciousness narrative, the primary themes of this book are personal relationships, the aftermath of WW1 and British colonization of India, not the events per se but their effect on individuals. The year is 1923 and Mrs. Dalloway has planned a sumptuous party for the coming evening. She is fifty-two. What happens on this one day is the story, but every encounter is influenced by past events and personal relationships. The reader is told past events through the thoughts of all the different characters, and a little dialog. That dialog is pitch-perfect. “That is my Elizabeth” has a completely different significance than the words “That is Elizabeth.” Think in terms of your own daughter! Would your daughter react the same to the two different wordings? Elizabeth is Mrs. Dalloway’s teen-age daughter. Everyone Mrs. Dalloway meets that day and how she relates to each and every one of them is influenced by past events. There is a shell-shocked war veteran and a special boyfriend from the past that happens to drop by. The meshing of past events and history and relationships is flawless. . Although British upper- crust society of the inter-war years is superbly drawn, it is the relationships between the numerous characters that captivated me.
At that party in the evening of that summer day, you, the reader, feel the tingle of excitement. As the hours slip by the mood changes and you feel that too. The food has been served, the excitement and tensions subside, people start getting tipsy, and what is said then?
Juliet Stevenson's narration was very good, except that she should have been able to voice male thoughts a bit differently than women's. Men’s and women's thoughts sound identical, and this is confusing. She does capture the different classes of people. I do believe that it is much easier to follow stream of consciousness writing through listening rather than reading.
The book is cerebral. It presents characters’ thoughts. Honest thoughts because no one censors our thoughts! It looks at relationships. What would be going through your head if you one day ran into that boy you fell for thirty years ago? Virginia Woolf captures all of this accurately. Think carefully, and don't just think; let yourself feel how you would feel. This is what the book delivers. And yet I am giving this four stars, not five, because my emotional response to the book is that I like it very much. Perhaps it is because I am a stranger to that high-society circle of friends that the book focuses upon.
This is a psychological thriller. It was not for me. I was not ever scared. I thought it felt totally fake, with NOT a smidgen of reality.
Maybe I sho...moreThis is a psychological thriller. It was not for me. I was not ever scared. I thought it felt totally fake, with NOT a smidgen of reality.
Maybe I should avoid psychological thrillers in the future, but heck I did enjoy Thérèse Raquin.
ETA: I also hated the complicated narrative voice which the book uses. Bess is writing a letter to her sister Tess, whom she believes has been murdered - relating how she figured out who her sister's murderer was. Suicide or death? That is one of the central questions. Bess constantly uses the pronoun you. This is, until you get the hang of it, very confusing. I was so confused in the beginning that all I was thinking about were who the pronouns used were reference to. I was also confused by the usage of italics in some paragraphs. I spent way too much time trying to figure out the author's methods rather than listening to the story.(less)
I continue to have a hard time with this. I find it extremely depressing. There is humor, but it is not the kind...moreAfter a bit more than four chapters:
I continue to have a hard time with this. I find it extremely depressing. There is humor, but it is not the kind I like. It is sarcastic, mean humor where you are supposed to laugh at the stupidity or crude behavior of people. I protest; I like to laugh with people in happiness, not at people for our weaknesses. There is a priest that is demented and he wants to hear confessionals so he can hear what is going on and then he tells others. Now I don't think that is nice. Sure it might happen in the real world but how often? There is Miles' alcoholic father who continually throws out cruel, snide criticisms of his son and others. Miles' mother has died of cancer and her death was painful and horrible for all. I find this depressing. I am not avoiding the reality of life, but what is the purpose of sinking myself into the worst of man's behavior.
Mid-life crises kind of bore me.
None of this is a spoiler since I have not gone far into the book.
Neither have I even mentioned the prologue which was utterly disgusting. I don't find it appetizing to read about a decomposing moose, even if it leads C.B. to make a foolish decision - BTW, here I am just guessing. Let me point out that I never shy away from gruesome events in history, but what is the point here in reading about how people behave so cruelly to one another? What does that teach me?
There is absolutely nothing exceptional about the writing; the author's ability to depict an emotion, a place or an event is just plain ordinary.
This received a Pulitzer. Would somebody who loves this book explain to me why I should continue reading. I just do not understand. SHOULD I continue? I need advice.
After 14 chapters(about half of the book):
So I continued; several said that Tick is a fabulous character. She plays a larger and larger role starting in Part Two. She cannot save this book for me. I find the humor not to my taste. I find the characters black or white - cardboard characters. It is simple to make two piles, the good ones and the bad ones. I cannot accept such characterization. People are complicated; they cannot be sorted in this manner. And the dialogs sound like those perfect for a popular weekly television series. Perfect sitcom dialogs.
In desperation I went and read spoiler reviews...... No, what is coming is not up my alley either. Enough is enough. I will be reading no more books by Richard Russo. This is my third and last try.
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Ron Mclarty. That was the only thing that was exceptional. Great narration. His intonation perfectly matched the lines. So if you want to read this book don't hesitate to choose the audio format and this narrator.(less)
5 stars This is a really good story and I totally loved it.
I mean I LOVED it.
When you come across fiction that it this good you must stand up and cla...more5 stars This is a really good story and I totally loved it.
I mean I LOVED it.
When you come across fiction that it this good you must stand up and clap. I am clapping.
OK now, Chrissie, explain why you loved it.
I loved it because I was laughing from start to finish. I loved it because it has a message that is oh so true. The message being that those who succeed, those who attain power, and position and money and fame very often do it by the least of admirable methods. This dire message is nevertheless achieved in a humorous fashion. No lectures are delivered. This is the way life is, but rather than moaning and complaining we laugh. This is achieved by the author throwing together a group of characters NONE of which are admirable so they all deserve each other and whatever happens to them. You cannot feel sorry for the loosers; they all chose to take part in this fashionable game for sex and power and money and fame. If they loose it is their own fault. That is how I see it.
The sex is tantalizing, alluring, seductive. No depictions of crude behavior. Hints are given that attract rather than repulse.
OK, what about the narration by John McDonough of this Recorded Books audiobook? The voice of this narrator is that of an elderly man. In the beginning I thought why have they chosen such a voice, given that the main character, journalist Georges Duroy, is a young man? Still it was wonderful. He is telling us a story of the goings-on in Paris in the latter half of the 1800s, so in fact this elderly voice works stupendously. The French pronunciation is spot-on. Yeah, even when the women ball and shriek, it all works. Oh the shrieking, the family eruptions and pissed-off men - I was laughing and laughing and laughing.
One more thing: the translation from French to English was marvelous. THIS is a story that is easy to follow, even if it was first published in 1885. The language used made you feel you were in Paris and it made you fully aware that what happened then could just as easily happen today. It is a wonderful translation. I do not know who the translator was! I loved the lines, I forgot to tell you how wonderfully Guy de Maupassant depicts people and places and events, such as marriages and duels and charity fencing competitions! So the translation was perfect too. I am sure Guy de Maupassant would be happy to hear the story being told in this manner. The translation makes this book feel relevant even today. We are delivered a piece of art that speaks to readers more than a century after it was written. This is a book that holds year after year after year, and that is what makes it a true classic. Why is it is still relevant today? Because unfortunately people do NOT change. (less)
I quite simply could not relate to the main characters - i.e. Jean, Pierre and their mother. Everything they said and thought, well I thought differen...moreI quite simply could not relate to the main characters - i.e. Jean, Pierre and their mother. Everything they said and thought, well I thought differently! We live in different eras, but I do believe it is not just a question of that. One doesn't have to do what is the norm. Then there is the father. He is drawn as a total idiot from start to finish. He understood nothing. There was no depth to his character.
Then there this question - who is a father? Is it he who raises a child or is it the biological father?
Neither does the book draw a detailed description of an era or a place (here Normandy latter half of the 1800s)......except perhaps in the beginning when there is a lovely fishing trip near Le Havre. Very little description is given of other coastal towns in Normandy.
John McDonough also narrated this audiobook as he did the other I listened to by Guy de Maupassant, namely Bel-Ami. Now that one I loved; that one I gave five stars. (My review : https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...) Don't judge Maupassant by Pierre and Jean. The narration is good on both, IF you can accept an elderly narrator.
Some may say that Pierre and Jean is a clever story, unfortunately I found it too short, with characters too ordinary and without humor. (less)
DID Harper Lee want this book written? In the book description we are told that "...in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their door to Chicago Tribune jour...moreDID Harper Lee want this book written? In the book description we are told that "...in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their door to Chicago Tribune journalist Marja Mills. It was the beginning of a long conversation—and a great friendship." Perhaps the relationship started with friendship but where is it now? After reading this article:
Before starting this book I didn't want to delve into the details but wanted to understand why some reviewers say this is fiction and others classify...moreBefore starting this book I didn't want to delve into the details but wanted to understand why some reviewers say this is fiction and others classify it as non-fiction. Wiki to the rescue! I am only copying the relevant information that answers this question:
"Some critics consider Capote's work the original non-fiction novel, although other writers had already explored the genre, such as Rodolfo Walsh in Operación Masacre (1957). The book examines the complex psychological relationship between two parolees who together commit a mass murder. Capote's book also explores the lives of the victims and the effect of the crime on the community in which they lived. In Cold Blood is regarded by critics as a pioneering work of the true crime genre, though Capote was disappointed that the book failed to win the Pulitzer Prize.
Parts of the book, including important details, differ from the real events."
That last sentence explains it all. Now, to the book! And then, on completion, check out Wiki.
Crime books are generally not my cup of tea, but I am very glad I read this book. There is no general rule that cannot be broken. Even the court proceedings were clear, and such usually confuse/bore me. This book is interesting because it thoroughly studies the psychological underpinnings of the criminals, the people in the community where the crime took place and the victims. How all of these people felt and thought and interacted is the central theme of the book. This is what fascinated me.
The book is interesting in its analysis of what is insanity. All aspects of insanity are looked at. How does it arise? What forms can it take? When does/should insanity absolve one a crime?
Finally the book looks at capital punishment by describing particular crimes. Here are examples, not theories.
I have read that Capote spend six years studying the case. All the details are here, but what is exceptional is the fluidity of Capote's writing. These details are woven into a prose that is exciting and easy to follow. Every detail is essential. The reader is just begging for more and more and more details, you keep turning the pages to u-n-d-e-r-s-t-a-n-d the emotions the feelings and the thoughts of all involved. And nevertheless I never felt empathy for either Dick or Perry. No, I didn't. I do think by the end I understood what had happened and why. The answers are not all delivered on a platter; you have to think and consider where you stand and what YOU think.
Mixed in with the horrid events are sentences of exceptional beauty; when that happened it hit me with a punch.
Scott Brick narrates the audiobook. It is good except that his voice for women is well awfully masculine. This is not worth deterring you from the audio format. There are many more male characters than women.
This true crime story is well composed, lucid, exciting and will keep your head whirring.