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The Magnificent Ambersons (Englisch) Audio-CD – Audiobook, Mai 2007

4.1 von 5 Sternen 21 Kundenrezensionen

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Audio-CD, Audiobook, Mai 2007
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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

""An admirable study of character and of American life."" -- New YorkTimes

"An admirable study of character and of American life." New York Times"

"An admirable study of character and of American life." New York Times

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Synopsis

Major Amberson had "made a fortune" in 1873 when other people were losing fortunes and the magnificence of the Ambersons began then. Magnificence like the size of a fortune is always comparative as even Magnificent Lorenzo may now perceive if he has happened to haunt New York in 1916; and the Ambersons were magnificent in their day and place.

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Format: Audio CD
"A proud and haughty man--'Scoffer' is his name;
He acts with arrogant pride." -- Proverbs 21:24 (NKJV)

I am reviewing the unabridged Blackstone audio recording read by Geoffrey Blaisdell. The Magnificent Ambersons can be a little difficult to appreciate because the book writes about a period far different from our own, with horseless carriages replacing those drawn by magnificent matched pairs of horses and social position counting for a great deal more than money. A modern novelist treating this period as a historical subject would write the book much differently. As a result, I recommend that you listen to the audio version in which Mr. Blaisdell does a wonderful job of capturing the mentality and emotion of the age.

On the surface, the book is all about the downfall that always comes from too much pride, especially pride in one's position. Soon, however, you'll begin to appreciate that Booth Tarkington is also writing a social history in fictional terms that captures the changing of the guard from the "old money" of the day to the newer classes of wealth based on industrialism and merchandising. You also get more than a whiff of the problems that industrialization and the automobile brought to American cities. I was reminded of the Sinclair Lewis novels that so aptly capture similar changes that occurred slightly later.

One of the best ways to portray the desirability of something positive, such as faithful unconditional love, is by portraying the consequences of its opposite, such as selfishness. In that sense, The Magnificent Ambersons is a marvelous portrait of how much pain selfishness can bring.
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This novel by Tarkington won the 1919 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Actually, this is the second novel in a trilogy (the other two being "The Turmoil" (1915) and "The Midlander" (1923)). The novel chronicles three generations of a leading family in Indiana, including their period of decline. Major Amberson, who had earlier acquired a fortune, is the dominating head of a socially prominent family in the midwest U.S. His daughter Isabel is in love with Eugene Morgan but, through a misunderstanding, they break off their relationship. Isabel marries a man with whom she has little feelings and gives birth to a son, George, who grows up conceited and arrogant. Eugene, now a widower, returns to the midwest with his daughter Lucy and starts up an automobile factory. Lucy falls in love with George and Isabel and Eugene begin seeing each other again. But, George is appalled that his mother is considering marrying someone outside of their class. He takes her overseas to prevent the marriage but later brings her back when she is dying. The Amberson's fortune is now depleted, George is forced to start working for a living at a chemical plant, and his old friends appear to applaud his "comeuppance." But, after an automobile accident, George, Eugene, and Lucy, who still is in love with George, are reconciled. The story of the Ambersons represent the changes that U.S. society has undergone, particularly near the turn of the century: those in upper society who earned their places by heredity are slowly being replaced by those who earned their position by their achievements in industry, business, and in finance (that is, by their own labors). George had been unwilling to change. Perhaps it is appropriate that it is an automobile that forces him to realize this.Lesen Sie weiter... ›
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For me, the hope was to go back to a time when things moved slower and people were more hospitable to one another. I thought I could escape from the gossip and innuendo that recently seems to plague our daily lives. I thought I could escape from those whose rigid thinking prevents them from accepting change. What I found was a pleasant narrative that reminds us that the " old days " aren't necessarily what we thought they were. Indeed, there are glimpses of what we expect to find back then i.e. visions of magnificent mansions, fresh, breathy carriage rides through the snow, gala social events, etc. What most of us claim we would like to return to. However, what I also found was a spoiled, stubborn and ego-centric main character who can't seem to accept change, who is as inhospitable as can be and who, along with some of the other characters, is greatly affected by flow of daily gossip and whispered secrets. Mix this in with the coming change from horses to cars and from a tight, immobile society to a more homogenous blend of classes moving into a more migratory lifestyle and you have conflict galore as society shifts its focus in the early part of this century. For me, not necessarily a " I couldn't put it down until I finish " type of book. However, it is filled with enough nostalgia and disharmony to keep me interested. I was disappointed that, back then, it wasn't exactly as I thought it would be. In some ways, it was not very different from today. A good, not outstanding, solid book!
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