Pulitzer Prize winner and American master Anne Tyler brings us an inspired, witty, and irresistible contemporary take on one of Shakespeare's most beloved comedies.
Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister, Bunny? Plus, she's always in trouble at work - her preschool charges adore her, but their parents don't always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.
Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There's only one problem: His brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.
When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he's relying - as usual - on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: This time he's really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men's touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?
"Everyone loves Anne Tyler." (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Without Anne Tyler, American fiction would be an immeasurably bleaker place." (Newsday)
"You are involved before you even notice you were paying attention.... Her feel for character is so keen that even hardened metafictionalists [who] would happily fry the whole notion of 'character' for breakfast are reduced to the role of helpless gossips, swapping avid hunches about the possible fates of the characters." (Tom Shone, The New Yorker)
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Well worth a listen
I bought this audiobook for two reasons; I was curious about what would be done with such a problematical plot in a current setting and I know Anne Tyler as a very good author. I don't usually read Anne Tyler; I have had enough angst and deep sorrow in my own life that I choose to read books that don't put me through it.
If I had had to rate Vinegar Girl in the middle of reading it I would probably have given it 3 stars. There is a lot of family dysfunction and I didn't love the characters. I was pretty uncomfortable; it was not happy reading, but it never reached the point where I thought seriously about not finishing. I am so very glad that I did finish. Anne Tyler really did take The Taming of the Shrew and make it work and beyond that, she made it make sense.
If you know Shakespeare, you know the plot; Tyler certainly deviates from the original; she has to in order for the plot to make any sense in today's world. She does hit the high points of the play but I really had no idea how she would bring it all together at the end, but she does, and it is brilliant. I was completely charmed by her ending.
I want to mention that I also appreciated that she kept the book very tight; it is short as audiobooks go these days, but it was the right length for what she accomplished; there was no filler in it. It is so much harder to skip filler in audiobooks than in print; I have sometimes loved the plot and characters in a book and have just been worn out by all of the extras thrown in. Thank goodness for a disciplined author and for good editors.
Kirsten Potter was brilliant all the way through. I have heard her read before and she is one of the audio narrators who really shines in the profession.
I really appreciated this version!