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I'm a Connie Willis fan. My favorite is To Say Nothing of the Dog. I've also read The Doomsday book, Blackout and All Clear. This book, Passages, was my least favorite. You have to get to hour 12 of the recording before anything really happens in the story. Then, another 12 hours of listening for something else to happen. In between, it's just the same details over and over........and over again. By the 24th hour, I couldn't care less what happened to the characters, I just wanted the book to end!
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
During the course of this novel, my attitude shifted from eager interest, to patient progress, to determined resolve, to anguished plodding, to absolute fixation. Ms. Willis has this way of making you feel so comfortable in the worlds she creates that you begin to grow attached to her characters, while putting up with things you know full well are bad decisions or wrong attitudes on their part. And then things happen, that make you terribly invested in the outcome. This was an easier process to endure in the Oxford Time Travel books because of the immediate and understandable hazards at play there, plague, the blitz, the end of time as we know it, etc. It seems to work well in her shorter novels too. Passage suffers, I think, from its generally "normal" setting and hefty length, taking a little too long to get where it needs to go, and in the process making the protagonists seemed by turns close-minded and scatterbrained. Of course, then that moment comes along and the stakes are suddenly different, or are revealed for what they truly are as the case may be, and you're back on board again.
Where the author continues to excel is creating a broad cast of characters that all have their own problems and deal with them in their own ways. I have always enjoyed Ms. Willis's portrayal of people facing adversity, and this book has some great examples of that, both in the discussions of historical disasters, and the everyday troubles of people who find themselves in the employ, or requiring the services, of a hospital. The hospital itself seems to be a character, as many plot points revolve around the inability of anyone to reach anything by taking a logical route. This is played for laughs regularly, and it's surprising how it can still be funny even near the end.
Ms. Pearlman's performance is good, with recognizable characterization and clear narration.
My overall score is based on my complete impression of the book, including my particular fondness for most of Ms. Willis's characters, however much I feel the story may be lacking. I also loved the ending.
28 of 29 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Passage the most enjoyable?
The narrative - it's exciting, yet truly throws you half way through. I remember reading the book some several years ago, being really gripped, reading it through the night while on holiday. The book stayed in my mind, if not the details, finding it again, listening this time, not being able to stop, but not wanting it to end.
What other book might you compare Passage to, and why?
I think Kate Atkinson's Life after Life and A God in Ruins have some echoes.
Any additional comments?
This is a book I would highly recommend. Very few books reduce me to tears, make me emotional, but this one does.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I really enjoyed the story and the characters were well formed. It was way too long and if there is an abridged version I would go for that instead