The beloved author at her storytelling best: four wonderful novellas of Americans abroad and Europeans in America. In these absorbing and exquisitely made novellas of relationships at home and abroad, both historical and contemporary, we meet the ferocious Simone Weil during her final days as a transplant to New York City; a vulnerable American grad student who escapes to Italy after her first, compromising love affair; the charming Irish liar of the title novella, who gets more out of life than most of us; and Thomas Mann, opening the heart of a high-school kid in America. These stories dazzle on the surface, with beautifully rendered settings and vistas, and dig deep psychologically. At every turn Gordon reveals in her characters' interactions those crucial flashes of understanding that change lives forever. So richly developed it is hard to believe they fit into novella-sized packages, these tales carry us away both as individual stories and as a larger, book-length experience of Gordon's mastery and human sympathy.
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by Gordon Korman
by Fern Michaels
"Mary GordonÕs collection of novellas is about people displaced over the Atlantic, a wide array of both Americans in Europe and Europeans in America. These potentially interesting stories are narrated in a lackluster fashion by Laural Merlington and Nick Podehl. MerlingtonÕs performances are technically fineÑalthough her French accent in the second story is a bit forcedÑbut they fail to emotionally connect the listener to the characters or their ordeals. PodehlÕs performance is even rougher, with a slow and stilted cadence throughout his story. It seems as though heÕs adopting this delivery to create atmosphere, but it comes across as distracting. Overall, the potential power in Gordon's words does not come through in the narration. J.L.K. © AudioFile 2014, Portland, Maine"
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