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“One does not deceive oneself about the consequences of one's acts; one deceives oneself about the ease with which one can live with those consequences.”
― John Williams, Augustus
John Williams read some Robert Graves and said, "Yeah, I got this Roman. I can do this." I'm trying to think of equivalent historical fiction that orbits the same level of prose mastery: Norman Mailer, Robert Graves, Hilary Mantel, E. L. Doctorow and a few others belong on this very short list.
There are some writers (like Pynchon, etc) who seem to find their groove and mine that style/approach for all it is worth. Others like Williams just appear to get bored with one style, form, or approach to literature. They want to master all. John Williams who is also known for his college novel Stoner and his Western Butcher's Crossing decided to give writing an epistolary, historical novel a try. What he created is one of the greatest historical novels of all time. Probably not as good as Robert Graves (or dare I say Hilary Mantel), but damn close.
16 of 21 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
This is one of the best Historical fiction I have ever read
What did you like best about this story?
Great writing, and its organization as a set of letters is brilliant.
What about Robin Field’s performance did you like?
He is trying to change his diction for the various narrators.And it sounds terrible, particularly when narrating women.
YOu should get a different narror for this wonderful book.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
This is a book written in 1971 - and it shows. It would probably have been better read than listened to. I personally find letters and diary entries a rather tedious way of telling a story (there are some great exceptions, of course). Bringing in a new character writing about something no one would have written about is now way to deliver a story convincingly. I did grow on me, however and I quite enjoyed the second half of the book. This is mostly due to my fascination with the era and the characters rather than the book or the performance.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful
The cadence of the narrator's speech was at times annoying but the story and the structure of it was wonderful!