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The Half-Life of Everything

A Novel
Narrated by: Lili Dubuque
Length: 8 hrs and 51 mins
1 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Summary

David and Kate are happily married 50-somethings when she's diagnosed with early Alzheimer's. He has never been unfaithful, but after several years of losing Kate more each day, he wonders: What is a married widower supposed to do? Two strong-willed women intervene and everyone finds themselves making unexpected choices. 

Can any marriage withstand the transformation of one partner into someone who's lost? When does a marriage end? The Half-Life of Everything, realistic in every detail except for one speculative twist, places David in the unwelcome situation of loving two women. Must he be the good and faithful husband he's always been, or is he deserving of a second chance? The novel is a modern study of marriage and love - and of friendship, the overlooked foundation of both romantic and everyday life. 

Deborah Carol Gang's beautifully written, humorous, and ultimately uplifting debut novel will remind listeners of Anne Tyler's lyrical and slightly off-kilter fiction. Tyler herself, who steadfastly continues an anti-blurb campaign, wrote the author "to tell you directly how much I enjoyed The Half-Life of Everything.” 

©2018 Deborah Carol Gang (P)2018 Bancroft Press

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The reader killed this book for me

Really hard to rate this book itself, particularly for a UK English ear, as I can't get past the narrator's voice which, to me, grates terribly. Every sentence follows the same path, no matter the content of the sentence: start with breathiness like an infomercial, and descend through the sentence into that US 'vocal fry' thing - lower register and grittiness from the back of the throat. Every single sentence follows this descent, almost robotically, in 'Johnny One Note' fashion. There's also no discernible attempt to differentiate between people by changing the voice when different characters speak. When there's no 'she said, he said' this becomes almost baffling. One of the characters turns out to be a 'working class Brit' and his working class British accent is remarked upon by the narrator. But, this happens right after the narrator delivers his lines in the same mid-west US accent every other character has, making no attempt to deliver it as written, presumably because she can't. There are some brilliant voice actors narrating Audible books, who don't get in the way of the story but enhance it. I kept going with this book in the hope I'd just adjust to the narrator and tune her out. But, it didn't happen. The layer of blandness and apparent disinterest - the faux smile and enthusiasm that starts each breathy sentence is regardless of the context or content at each stage of the story - the narrator puts between book and listener defeated me. I don't like dissing a debut novel, so hopefully this book, when 'read' comes across as more believable than when listened to.

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  • Sparkperson
  • 31-03-19

Almost all characters sounded the same

The story was o.k. (I became impatient waiting for the other shoe to drop.) I will reread the evocative ending.
I'm sorry to say that almost all ot the characters sounded the same - especially the husband, wife, and "Jane." I conceed: It's hard to vary voices when every character (except one) has the same accent and no other distinguishing voice feature. The only audible book I will ask to "return."