Monday, October 8, 2012

Oct. 8: Reading With My Ears. . .

Used WorldUsed World by Haven Kimmel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I bought this audiobook because I like Haven Kimmel so much, and I'd just reread The Solace of Leaving Early. Listening to it over the course of two weeks was a little tricky, since Kimmel's structure is convoluted: flashbacks, dream sequences--I'm sure in the book some were even in my much-despised italics!--and antecedent-free discussions about "him" or "her" plus the usual and much-in-vogue varied narrator approach. However, the story is Kimmel's usual blend of funny one-liners, straight-on grappling with the dark corners of human nature, and subtle inclusion of plotlines from other books, topped off with a strong helping of belief in human goodness and resiliency.

If I were Kimmel's editor, though, here would be my advice: 1. Don't use CJ Tritt as a narrator. Kimmel is a dry, understated writer, and Tritt's over-the-top delivery is grating. If I'd known she narrated, I'd've chosen the print edition. 2. Pare down some of those Hazel dream sequences. Yikes. How weird were they? The woo-woo astrology crap clouds the focus of the story, and the dreams don't help. 3. Give Amos, the one good man in the book, something to do. That might counteract the fact that all the other men are weak and annoying, or strong and downright terrifying.

I guess I'd also like to reread the book in print. It's a mixed bag as an audio experience, but it has kept Haven Kimmel's reptuation as an interesting and rewarding writer intact. I'm curious what she'll come up with next!

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Our weekend has been shaped by Andy's dad's passing. Parkinson's disease had really shaped his last few years, so the end was welcome. The brothers' steadfast care and attention for their dad have been amazing, clear, and unflinching, and their presence at his passing was equally loving and honest. Sad, but inevitable. Nate and I got to see him and say goodbye on Saturday, spending Sat. night with Andy and the rest of the family, and then came home to hold the fort and tidy up up here. A learning process throughout. 

Today is a stunning fall day, complete with wet, shiny, colorful leaves, blue sky, and a brisk breeze. Such reminders of the wonders all around us!

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