NYRB describes this as a "classic of gay literature," just now available translated into English. It is said to be possibly autobiographical, but readNYRB describes this as a "classic of gay literature," just now available translated into English. It is said to be possibly autobiographical, but readers coming to it expecting a simple narrative will be surprised. The author never finished the book. The translator includes helpful information at the beginning and end of the content to help situate the reader - there is even one letter from the author inserted at a point in the writing where he couldn't decide which direction to go or if he even wanted this published.
If you go into it expecting the fourth wall to be transparent, it will be a better experience. I would call this a non-essential read, personally.
Thanks to the publisher who provided a review copy through Edelweiss....more
I listened to this on a long drive home from DC, after seeing the statue of Lafayette in Mt Vernon Square in Baltimore. I selected it because I neededI listened to this on a long drive home from DC, after seeing the statue of Lafayette in Mt Vernon Square in Baltimore. I selected it because I needed something that would satisfy both my husband and I; I had previously enjoyed a Sarah Vowell audiobook and he likes history.
It left both of us a bit ambivalent. Sarah Vowell does have a singular voice, and I wish she had made more use of the celebrity voices also on the recording (more of them, less of her.) But I knew what I was getting into in that regard. My husband won't listen to books faster than 1x speed, so for me the pace was excruciating, that's a personal thing.
It's more how the publisher blurb doesn't match the contents - it says everyone knows the revolutionary war but not how Lafayette returns to the USA right before the Civil War! ... and then proceeds to spend the majority of the book narrating Lafayette's adventures during the Revolutionary War. And not in a linear fashion, it jumps all over for no discernible reason.
I listened to this audiobook on a solo roadtrip from Greenville, SC, to Baltimore, MD. It had my undivided attention. Mary Robinette Kowal does a greaI listened to this audiobook on a solo roadtrip from Greenville, SC, to Baltimore, MD. It had my undivided attention. Mary Robinette Kowal does a great job with the narration, even tackling some of the Viking era names in a believable enough manner. I do think that since the book is so evenly divided between AD 1000 and 2016, two narrators would also have been a good choice.
There is a lot I should like about this book - Vikings, pre-Christianity, cold weather islands, check check check. But it goes on TOO LONG (there is a climactic point 2/3 in which would have been a better stopping point) and is OVERLY EMPHATIC on is central point, which is that there are other religions than Christianity, and people who believe in those gods as much as people believe in Jesus. I mean, yes, true, move on, more story please.
I felt the author really wanted this message to get across more than any other story line, and because of this both her characters and her stories suffer. It's a shame because there is a lot of potential here, great setting, great modern day story too with the adjunct professor being called into question by a vocal student. But shadowed by the hammer of Thor, pounding away at the message.
I received a copy of this audiobook from Brilliance Audio in exchange for an honest review....more