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Nothing much happens in this book about a communist radio actor caught in the grip of McCarthyism. At his best Roth imparts narrative drive and suspense to works that are primarily analytical and linguistic as opposed to being plot driven. In his less successful works this can come across as page after page of "blah, blah, blah". I think the American Trilogy is great. But this book is the weakest of the three. I read where it was Roth's personal favorite. Hmmmmm. To be sure there are very strong sections but all in all I was underwhelmed. Although the great George Guidall remains my favorite narrator of all things Roth, Ron Silver is nearly as good. If you love Roth's writing, as I do, you will undoubtedly get around to reading/listening to IMAC. It's just not the place I would want to start.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Good book, but the sound quality of this recording is not great. There's also music in the background in places, which took some getting used to. Also, it was sometimes difficult to tell which character was speaking.
As a recent newcomer to Roth, I read The Plot Against America in paperback this summer and enjoyed it so then I tried American Pastoral read by Ron Silver on Audible. That was sensationally good so then I tried My Life As A Man but it was a different reader and a few chapters in I realised it was quite disappointing so I returned it and looked for another one read by Silver - which led me to this.
I've been enjoying a variety of good books for several years now on Audible and I always find that having the right reader is incredibly important. But in all my experience there has been nothing to compare with the marriage of Roth's prose with Silver's delivery. No doubt it is bound up in Roth's anecdotal monologue sort of method but if ever there were books which burst into flame when performed aloud they are these ones.
Silver's range of tone, pace and dynamics is virtuosic while expressing the deepest humanity. I wish everything of Roth's was available here read by Ron Silver.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Unusual story. It is big and small at the same time. Minute details of lives, political and philosophical ideas. A life with celebrity, as a recluse, how each story matters to those engaged and then it disappears. Hated the recording on the sample. Ran out of time to read so had to teturn to it. Loved the narration proper.