Okay, lame title for the review. However, I chose it because although I knew nothing of Lively until this book, it sounded interesting. And it was. Not compelling. Not an exciting page turner for certain. Still, there is an incredible amount of insight into the life of a very wise and genteel lady. She sounds to me as if she would be a wonderful person to sit and have a long conversation with. Indeed, I guess that was the attraction of this book for me. It was like having a long but not overly so, conversation with an intelligent and charming member of a distinctive generation. Hard for me to explain, but it made me want to read her fiction to learn if it could match the quiet beauty of her nonfiction. Also, the narrator is one I am unfamiliar with but her voice was soothing without being soporific. Thank you Audible for introducing me to this author. And Kelly Birch, I look forward to more of your narration.
Some of the musing fail to resonate, but it's fascinating to be able to see the world from her point of view. I especially enjoyed her recollections of the disruption to her life from WWII. We think of war in grand terms, but this brings it to a very personal level.
Would you consider the audio edition of Dancing Fish and Ammonites to be better than the print version?
I can't compare the two as I haven't read the print version, but the language of the book is quite exceptional. The trouble is I can't "enjoy" the book because I truly dislike the narrator's voice, her flow, the intonation of her voice, the cadence. I really don't like listening to her and it takes away from the author's beautiful message.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Dancing Fish and Ammonites?
I'm still listening to it, but the soft humanity of life, living, and death. What it means to grow old -- how one doesn't envy youth or crave to live longer -- but how to live life elegantly as an older person and enjoy the peace and wisdom one gains throughout life. Finally, in age, one is able to know ones self and exercise the honesty in which a life well lived can softly take it's rest.
What didn’t you like about Kelly Birch’s performance?
I can't explain it, but her voice is not relaxing or welcoming. This book should be read in the voice of someone who is older, wiser, deeper. It is a book written by an older woman and therefore an older person should have narrated. I truly dislike listening to Ms. Birch read this book, but all is made up for in Penelope Lively's excellent and beautiful writing.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
No, I listen to it in the car and so I knew I would listen to it at different times and in chunks of one hour or so.
Any additional comments?
I recommend getting a new narrator. I hate saying this about Kelly Birch, but she's just not the right person for this book. Her voice is abrasive and takes away from really enjoying the story.