Each heir wants the house. Yet to buy the other out, two siblings must team against one. Just as in girlhood, Corlis is torn between allying with the decent but fearful youngest and the iconoclastic eldest, who covets his legacy to destroy it. A Perfectly Good Family is a stunning examination of inheritance, literal and psychological: what we take from our parents, what we discard, and what we are stuck with, like it or not.
©2009 Lionel Shriver; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I have read most of Lional Shriver's books and enjoyed them very much but this does not reach her usual standard. She does not have enough to say and it is padded with dull detail. The book is not helped by the narration of Susan Ericksen and her attempts to adopt an English accent, often mispronouncing words including her assumption that potato rhymes with the English pronounciation of tomato.
I love Lionel Shriver. I love her sharp wit, her satirical approach to topical themes, her language and rich vocabulary, her sarcasm, her lack of fear and well, just about everything about her. I feared Kevin, felt smug about health and weight with Big Brother. I laughed at journos in The New Republic and felt a whole mixture of emotions at So Much For That. So this, my fifth Shriver, was a huge ask: a book about a sister and her two brothers fighting over their inheritance. The two brothers, one an alcoholic who left home at an early age, appears to attract disaster and has a string of ex-wives, and the other hard-working, caring, studious with a gentle perfect wife - were so appealing to me (I can't think why) that I suppose I was setting myself up for disappointment. The novel was quite simply boring. If had known these people in my real life, I'd have walked the other way when I spotted them at the mall.
I would have cut out about half of it.
The narrator was one of the worst I have listened to. She sounded as if she were straining her voice. Perhaps the sentences were too long for her lung capacity, but it sounded as if she were running out of air quite often, which was an uncomfortable sensation for the listener. And finally, sorry - we British do not say potaaaato (rhyming with tomato) - ever. And persevere is not pronounced purr-sever.
There were some aspects of the book I liked. The characters were well drawn. I do like the anti-heros she writes so well.
I will try another Lionel Shriver.but I'll stick to the newer titles. Perhaps her earlier books are not as sharp as her later ones.
I loved we need to talk about Kevin which is why I choose this book by the same author - and perhaps It too is a great book, but the narratation is so monotonous that I couldn't even make it through the first half.
No Character voices no pauses between conversations or even pauses between paragraphs.
Do not waste your money
yes provided the narrator was different
No character voices very monotonous
couldn't Even finish the story unfortunately
"Get a life!"
this book is like one long whine!!! I just wanted to scream "Get A Life!". It was actually painful to hear and I would imagine just as painful to read. We read it for my book group and one other woman said no one should ever have to read this book. I think it holds the top spot as the all time WORST book I have ever read/listened to.
I am a Lionel Shriver fan, and this book, while good enough, is not up to "We Need To Talk About Kevin". The story's premise is promising - three siblings attempting to dispose of the family estate, with none of them having enough funding to buy the others out. However I missed the added layer of computers, internet, email, cell phones and texting, that books written before 1994, or "B.C.", i.e. "Before Personal Computers" conspicuously lack. There is the usual variety of distorted personalities, most of them interesting, compelling and amusing, with plenty of quirks and glitches, but the narrative style seems artificially antiquated, and this book feels much older than it is. I kept imagining a "Gone With The Wind" setting, rather than North Carolina circa 1993. Still, it's a good story, and the author's facility with dimensional characterization is evident. I did think she could have done more with the protagonist, however, IMO the only really likable individual in the story.
My low rating of 2 stars is mainly for the narration, which I thought was overly dramatic and shrill. And...I have never ever heard "potatoes" pronounced "po-tah-toes". The pronunciation made me laugh out loud! Narration should err on the side of the majority of listeners, and I would guess there are very few out there who pronounce the typical tuber with a long "a".
On balance, it's a good listen, excellent picaresque entertainment, and I recommend it - even though it's not quite up to my personal standards.
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