I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. I grabbed the audio version, and I’m so glad that I did, even though it was a pretty long listen at nearly 13 hours.
I had a hard time at first figuring out what was going on, mostly because the first scene is set in Italy and so the names of the people and the towns were hard to understand. But the narrator’s accent was perfect and soon I was drawn right in to the story.
The story itself was beautiful – many character’s stories told over several years, bouncing from one to the other, but pulled together seamlessly. At first glance, there are so many characters that it seems that it will be impossible to keep everything straight, but it’s done so well that I had no trouble figuring out the chronology and connections between them.
I loved the characters, all of them, even though some of them are meant to be disliked. They were just so well written and developed that I actually felt that they were real stories, that this whole book was entirely plausible and a true story. It zipped around, from a small fishing village in Italy, to Rome, Los Angeles, Seattle, and the UK, never losing momentum or my interest. It was love stories and life lessons all mixed together perfectly.
As for the narrator, I don’t think that there could have been a better choice. I think that Edoardo Ballerini did an excellent job of giving each character a distinct voice, and the accents were spot-on (including British and Scottish). His voice brought the story to life and made it seem that much more real for me. I’m sure that had I been reading it I would have loved the book just as much, but Ballerini’s delivery is so much better than what it would have been in my head.
I will be recommending this book repeatedly, I’m sure. If you enjoy contemporary fiction aimed at adults, then you *must* read this book. It definitely lives up to the hype surrounding it, in my opinion.