Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Modern Lovers (by Emma Straub)

In preparation for 10 hours of driving, I picked up Modern Lovers on audiobook. I'd read a review in Entertainment Weekly that made it seem like a good summer read that might be light enough for an audiobook, and I had enjoyed The Vacationers immensely, so figured it would be a good bet. And indeed, this novel filled the drive time nicely.

The narration by Jen Tullock is terrific. The story kept me entertained for 10 hours -- at least mostly. It is flawed though, especially as I've had some time to think about it -- some spoilers follow.

When I said "mostly" enjoyed it -- the Andrew plotline dragged the most; I was never interested in his man-child problems or the cult he joined, and his "secret" was so obvious that I was bored waiting for it to be revealed.

And the ending is definitely disappointing -- we never find out what Zoe and Jane's marriage issues are, or what causes anything to change. Andrew's loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in the end means nothing. The fire barely causes an issue. I wanted to know more about Jane in particular, but never found out more. And I sat through that whole dumb Evolvement plotline for no actual payoff.

I'm actually glad Straub steers away from melodrama and more towards real, subtle developments. But it somehow leaves the reader a bit unsatisfied. I would actually kind of recommend this -- again, the audiobook narration is terrific --  but it's definitely no Vacationers.

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Thursday, June 09, 2016

The Story of the Lost Child (by Elena Ferrante)

I finished the Neapolitan series!

I am a bit pressed for time so I will give my brief review: feels unresolved -- after so many novels, it comes to an end so abruptly and with many, many loose threads -- but that un-resolution is in a way beautiful and in keeping with the theme of "dissolving boundaries" that is set up in book one. I lovedhow everything but the central friendship is, in the end, an afterthought. And indeed, that friendship is complex, somewhat poisonous (on both sides) but also sustaining.

Mostly I want a book five.  

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