Audie Award Finalist, Classic, 2007
"An absorbing, beautifully and tenderly absurd, heart-breaking narrative....It is a truly gripping story, told in lean, hard athletic prose...magnificent." (The New York Times)
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By NP on 04-05-14
Hemingway again but not Hurt
Would you try another book written by Ernest Hemingway or narrated by William Hurt?
This was my first encounter with Hemingway, and threatened to be my last. If I had been listening to an author without such a pedigree, and therfore couldn't go online and be reminded by all and sundry that this is a defining novel, I suspect I would have walked away. This is undoubtedly partly my own fault - I came at the novel cold, without any reading about the context or themes, which at the distance of years would have been extremely useful. However, I believe much of the problem was the narration, which frequently irritated enough to distract concentration from the story. I'm a Scot, so Mike was a bad start - a cartoon character, sounding like a drunken Shrek. The other Brits had accents equally comic-book ridiculous, Brett's variable and often grating American take on Brit upper class just about killing her characterisation. Add in some Fawlty Towers Spaniards and only the Americans sound in any way true. In addition the narrator seems to eschew any flowing sentence structure, pausing where (I presume?) there is no punctuation in the novel, and sometimes grinding almost to a halt before jolting off. Again, perhaps my lack of familiarity with Hemingway is to blame, and he is supposed to be read in the form of heroic poetry, but I found it another layer of distraction.
Any additional comments?
Having read a number of online notes about the book since listening, I would certainly revisit it, as clearly I missed much of what makes this novel stand out. However, that will be a different narrator or a hard copy. Meanwhile I will buy another Hemingway on Audible, and watch Shrek again, where a stereotyped Scottish accent can be appropriately enjoyed.
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