Oh man, the audiobook narration by Allen O'Reilly is NOT to my liking. He is reading it at such a clip I can barely keep up. After listening to a mere...moreOh man, the audiobook narration by Allen O'Reilly is NOT to my liking. He is reading it at such a clip I can barely keep up. After listening to a mere half hour, I am completely out of breath. I need a gulp of fresh air. Keeping up with this speed is murder.
There is nothing wrong with the author's lines.
I will try to continue with interspersed pauses.
I continued to the end, and in fact I cannot stop now, I have to immediately pick up the next book in the series:Hemingway: The Paris Years! You are left hanging. Ernest and his new wife Hadley are off to Paris; they are on the boat. Just tell me how can I stop now?! I not only want to know about his experiences in the "City of Light" but also more about Gertrude Stein and the authors and painters of the Lost Generation.
This book covers his life through his first 22 years, i.e. his life before Paris.
I grew used to the narrator's fast reading. He continues; he narrates the next in the series. This doesn't deter me, though I cannot say I enjoy the speed.
What about the book's content? It doesn't blow me over either. I feel I understand Hemingway. I know now what he lived through. I know of his youth in Oak Park (a suburb of Chicago), Illinois, which is essential to his writing. He in fact never wrote about Oak Park, but the values imbibed certainly made him who he was. His WW1 experiences as a Red Cross ambulance driver in Italy are also covered. His relationships with his parents and siblings too. BUT, I never felt I got into his brain. I saw through his actions and decisions his personality traits.
In a nutshell - he invented himself. Don't believe what he says. Truth is bent. All the values of his youth were forever altered by the war, even if he was only on the front line for barely three weeks. He listened to others stories and could absorb them too. He took his own experiences and that of other and reinvented them in his fiction. In fact he had trouble separating fact from his invented fiction....
The writing style is similar to Hemingway's. Similar, but not the same and not as good. Short, abrupt sentences. Repetition of words, of phrases, for emphasis.
There is an immense amount of references to how this real event appears later in this form in this novel, a fictionalizing of his own experiences. I didn't like this, but many others may. Hemingway was clearly influenced by other writers. How he was influenced by these writers is thoroughly explained. What he read year by year is covered. Authors must learn from each other; they even copy a particular style. So this is all an explanation of how he came to be the author he became. I wanted to know more of what HE thought HE had to write. I learned an awful lot about what he copied..... Do you see what I mean when I say I didn't get into his head? Sometimes the author would interpret a given action or quote and tell us what it had to mean, and I didn't always agree.
2 stars MY REVIEW HAS BEEN REVISED AFTER COMPLETING THE BOOK
Reynolds' biography of Hemingway is more an analysis of what Hemingway has written than an...more2 stars MY REVIEW HAS BEEN REVISED AFTER COMPLETING THE BOOK
Reynolds' biography of Hemingway is more an analysis of what Hemingway has written than an examination of his inner soul. This book, the second in Reynold's series on Hemingway, covers only four years 1922-1926, predominantly set in Paris but also Spain, Italy,Turkey and Austria. In 1924 Hemingway began to receive acclaim. It covers his marriage to Hadley and his growing infatuation with Pauline, who will be his next wife. It covers the birth of his son. It covers his years as a reporter; he wrote both for The Toronto Star and for Hearst. He was in Turkey when the fire and catastrophe in Smyrna took place. As usual, he missed the real action but heard what others related. He observed and he listened. He was, as always, an observant listener. I found this coverage of historical event s more interesting than any other part of the book. Hemingway wanted to be a fiction writer, so that must be the main focus. The book covers primarily his friendship with those of the Lost Generation, those living in Paris in the 20s.
The main focus is what Hemingway wrote during this period. You have to be well aware of what he has written. A chapter can begin relating what one of his fictional characters is thinking or doing. This can be confusing; the reader must immediately recognize Hemingway’s fictional characters. This is further confused because the fictional characters are drawn from real ones. Just as Hemingway so often takes real events and fictionalizes them, so does this biography blend the two.
Being a literary analysis of his writing and his steps toward recognition, the book details the ins and outs of his writing and publishing contracts. Perhaps the book is best for those readers who are themselves budding authors, who are looking for guidelines on writing techniques. It shows what Hemingway learned from others.
The book is more a presentation of what Hemingway does than what he thinks. The reader observes his actions and the choices he makes. I still like Hemingway's writing but I do not admire him as a person. And none of this has to do with his despicable love of bullfighting. At least in the first book (The Young Hemingway) you are given an idea of why he was drawn to this barbaric practice. In the first book there is more discussion of what factors shaped Hemingway into the man he was. This second book focuses on how he became a writer. I like how Hemingway writes, but dissecting every paragraph, every line, every word in his books makes the Hemingway magic disappear.
I found neither Hemingway’s conversion to the Catholic faith or his changed feeling for Hadley well presented. I don’t understand how he was thinking, so neither can I empathize with him.
There is an awful lot of repetition within this second book AND from the previous book. The repetition is excessive. It quite simply drove me nuts.
You do learn a bit about Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas and Ezra Pound and F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sylvia Beach, known for her Paris bookstore/library Shakespeare and Company.
I will not be continuing this series. I do not like Reynold's focus or how he presents the facts. I get the impression he is trying to write with a style similar to Hemingway, only it fails. And the exceedingly rapid narration of the audiobook by Allen O'Reilly makes the reading experience even more unpleasant.
I have learned about Hemingway......I like him less. This is who he was. These are the things he did. These are the things he said. You can like an author's work but not the author himself! I am glad I know him better. With my increased awareness and dislike I remind myself that this book only covers four years of his entire life, but for now I have had enough of Hemingway!
While it does not provide new information, it recaptures the sense of the calamity that struck the nation and the world. It is definitely worth listening to, both for those who remember and those too young to remember.(less)
The beginning is funny, but maybe you need a twisted sense of humor like mine.
The language is vulgar. To state otherwise is a pure lie.
The book alth...moreThe beginning is funny, but maybe you need a twisted sense of humor like mine.
The language is vulgar. To state otherwise is a pure lie.
The book although fiction very closely follows the author's own youth.
The setting is Los Angeles. The time is 1920-1941, that is to say from Bukowski's own birth to Pearl Harbor. Bukowski's alter-ego is Henry Chinaski, the main character in the book. Wiki states that Bukowski's books are about "the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women, and the drudgery of work." After completing the book I had to compare what happens in the book with Bukowski’s life. I chose to start with this book by Bukowski because it is about his youth. I wanted to understand the man's personality. I believe one's childhood has a strong, though not the sole, influence on who we become. So, did I get what I wanted? Do I feel I understand Bukowski? Yes. And that is quite an achievement since I am as far from the central protagonist and Bukowski as one can be.
I think I understand why Chinaski became so violent, abusive, turned to alcohol and used such filthy language. This is not just due to his violent father; there is more than one cause. I like that the causes are not simplified. You get a picture to think about. You get guidelines - the ending being very important in showing how he may change. That too is why I had to go to Wiki! I liked the ending. You understand but you are not blatantly told. (view spoiler)[It was so perfect how he played a boxing game with a kid, that he tells us he had to win....and yet who does win? He lets the boy win, and he walks away so that the boy believes he has truly won. (hide spoiler)]
I guess I better repeat. The language is filthy and the sexual terms are explicit - but keep in mind this was his world. In addition, if you relax and don't get up-tight you will realize it is very funny. When Henry is no longer a kid, after his senior year in high school, then I started having trouble with his behavior. I was disgusted that he NEVER grew up. You cannot excuse horrible behavior forever. Can you?! I had a very hard time with this. "How much more can I take?" is what went through my mind. Then came Pearl Harbor and the wonderful ending. The ending is not schmaltzy but you get a glimpse of hope and then you must compare the novel with the events of Bukowski's life.
A good novel, like this one, will give a few hints so you can place it in a historical time-period. Here you get the Depression and the US' entrance into the Second World War. Historical events change people's lives - always. To avoid the historical setting is a no-no in my book. But you don't need to be smothered in historical facts to show how people are affected.
The audiobook narration by Christian Baskous was wonderful. The kids, the meanies and the weaklings, are just perfect. I really enjoyed the narration.
So why do I like this book so much? Because it both let me understand a life very different from mine AND it made me laugh. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Where to start? How to explain why I like it so very much?
I like Ayn Rand's style of writing. Her language is strong, clear and not in the least subtl...moreWhere to start? How to explain why I like it so very much?
I like Ayn Rand's style of writing. Her language is strong, clear and not in the least subtle. I think I could recognize it in the future. The reader observes what the characters do. Very little introspection. The plot fits the language and the behavior of the characters. Strong, determined people - no not people, just one character, but she is the central character. Kira is her name. This book is autobiographical, but only in the sense that it speaks of the author's life philosophy. The characters and the plot are all fictional. How Kira thinks is how Ayn Rand thinks....and if that doesn't appeal to you, well then the whole novel may not appeal to you. Do strong, determined people appeal to you?
This is a book that describes the Bolshevik era. It is set in Petrograd / St. Petersburg / Leningrad, predominantly the 1920s. It is a book about how Bolshevism destroyed people. It is also a love story.
The ending! It ends perfectly. Ayn Rand's writing, her description of places and events is so sharp and clear. The ending dazzles. You see it and you feel it and it moves you. The events fit the language. You want to know what will happen. You say, "Get to the end! Tell me! Tell me!" But at the same time you know you have to wait because Kira's path takes time too. That is what I mean when I say the words reflect the events.
Is the book realistic? Yes, I think so.
Mary Woods narrates the audiobook. She changes the speed with which she reads the story. Dialogs are read slowly so you can listen and think about what each is saying. Past events are read in a speedy blur. I have never run into such a technique before, but it is effective. I came to recognize the different characters by the different tones used. (less)
WOW, this is MUCH better than I thought in the beginning. There is romance from the beginning. How this was presented put me off; I didn't believe it....moreWOW, this is MUCH better than I thought in the beginning. There is romance from the beginning. How this was presented put me off; I didn't believe it. However, it was I who didn't understand properly, not in the beginning, but I do now. I didn't believe or understand the strength of the attraction between them. I know now who these people were - the hopes, aspirations, superstitions and fears of Pablo and Eva, his first "wife". On top of all this, the events themselves are gripping. Real life is more interesting, incredible and fantastic than any fiction an author can possibly dream up. The book is full of details about other famed artists, poets, dancers and the numerous expatriates gathered in Paris prior to and during WW1. This is the first book I have read mentioning Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas that makes me feel I need to know more about the two. Why? Because it is the first book that makes me feel I know them on a personal level. They were close friends to Eva and Pablo.
Leslie Caroll is the narrator of the audiobook I listened to. I did not like the tone she used for Picasso and other Spanish expatriates in Paris. Otherwise I have no complaints.
Also, there are many lines worthy of quoting.
Excellent historical fiction because it sheds light on the characters' personalities. I believe the author's views of the protagonists. There is an author's note at the end that states the author's sources, goals and ambitions.
Right now I am loving this book. It is over. I am sad. Honestly, my eyes are all watered up. Is it worth five stars? (less)
ETA: I have to add something about the humor in this book...... Both the disgusting antics of the parent and the moral depravity of the era is express...moreETA: I have to add something about the humor in this book...... Both the disgusting antics of the parent and the moral depravity of the era is expressed through innuendos, irony and sarcasm. So yes there is humor in the lines; we can either laugh or cry.
This book is primarily about Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales (1796 – 1817). She was the only child of George, Prince of Wales, who later became King George IV. Her mother was Caroline of Brunswick. Had she not died in childbirth at the age of 21, she would have become Queen of the United Kingdom. The book is about her troubled youth, her estranged mother and father and how she came to be married to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, the first king of Belgium.
Charlotte's parents were constantly bickering, having affairs and using their daughter as a means of hurting each other. Her parents were hated by the English people. She was loved. One thing this book clearly demonstrates is the extent to which adulterous behavior, scandals and gossip infused royalty and the beginning of the 1800s. Had Charlotte not died, Queen Victoria would never have become Queen. The change in tone that Queen Victoria ushered in can only be understood if one is aware of what came before.
The book gives a good feel of those times and of who Charlotte was. Why she was who she was, and what she had to put up with!
The book zips through all the other members of the family and how Queen Victoria came to power. Zip is the word I want to emphasize. You get rapid summaries of the family tree and events. This is not in-depth and for my taste was way to superficial, but then this book is short and is primarily about Charlotte. I did love learning about her.
The narration by Jilly Bond was NOT to my liking. Charlotte sounds like a baby. All the voices were too exaggerated. Please, just read the text; I don't need all the dramatics! The speed with which the lines are read is rapid. (less)