Audiobooks are hit and miss with me. The story could be the greatest one ever told, and still be ruined by the narrator. This is not the case with the audiobook version of Goldengrove.
The book was written by Francine Prose, and the narration is from Mamie Gummer. Before Goldengrove, I had heard of neither. Now I feel that I won't be able to get enough of them!
The story takes place in the summer on Mirror Lake. Two sisters are in a boat, but only one sister makes it back to shore alive.
There are two main characters: the narrator of the story, Nico, and her dead sister, Margaret. Nico is thirteen the year her sister died. She processes the loss maturely in many ways, and of course, immaturely in others. In other words, she acts exactly how one might expect a 13-year-old might act if they lost their sister.
The author has an amazing way of telling the story - her descriptions are wonderful and elegant and painful and honest. It is rare that I come across an author with the ability to paint a picture with words, while at the same time not being overly wordy.
As with all my book reviews, I do not want to give too much of the story away. Suffice it to say that in many ways, the book is both a coming-of-age story and a story of survival and growth. It's about connections and navigating the sometimes treacherous waters of relationships. And of course it's also about loss.
If you've ever lost a loved one, you'll recognize - and perhaps relive - many of the feelings expressed by the author. If you haven't lost a loved one, you'll get a very real look into what that loss is like.
The narrator's voice is wonderful and the nuance and emphasis is always spot on. You could always read it the old fashioned way - with your eyes, but you'll be missing out on the added depth this narration gives to the story.
Lasting impression: This book will stay with me for a long time, and I heartily recommend it as your next read.