Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Alice's Review: The Lobster Kings

Series: None
Publication Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Blackstone Audio/W.W. Norton and Company
Length: 11 Hours, 27 Minutes
Narrator(s): Cassandra Campbell
Obtained: Library
Genre:  Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Intriguing family drama.
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library

Summary:  The Kings family has lived on Loosewood Island for three hundred years, and they’ve been blessed with the bounty of the sea. But for the Kings, every blessing comes with a curse. Woody Kings, the leader of the island’s lobster fishing community and the family patriarch, teeters on the throne. Cordelia, the oldest of Woody’s three daughters, stands to inherit the crown after the death of her brother. To do so, however, she has to fend off meth dealers from the mainland while navigating sibling rivalry and the vulnerable nature of her own heart when she falls in love with her sternman.  A love story and a modern epic in the grand Shakespearian vein that introduces a fiery and unforgettable heroine, The Lobster Kings is the story of Cordelia’s struggle to maintain her island’s way of life in the face of danger from offshore and the rich, looming, mythical legacy of her family’s namesake.

Review:  I have a confession. The truth is I only choose this book because it was the first audio book that was available through my library’s digital files. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. What I received was an extremely dark novel that spoke to the vicious place inside me that fiercely protects my family, my heritage, and my birthright.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It was gritty and not pretty. This family was pickled in tragedy. It was heartbreaking to read. There was a knowledge that they chose some of that tragedy. The family accepted it, welcomed it even because it was their birthright to do so. Things could have been different but I really believed this was the only way they knew how to live.

This is my first time reading anything by Alexi Zentner. What I enjoyed the most about  is the expressiveness in the writing. Mr. Zentner is truly gifted. I love novels that transports me to a different place and time. I felt the boat rock under my feet, the sea spray on my face, and the calluses on my hands from a day’s hard labor.  I loved how the Brumfit Kings paintings were described. I don’t have a lot of knowledge of art and paintings but I did want to see his. I liked how the paintings were woven into the story, shedding light on the past to help guide us in the present.

I understood the longing Cordelia felt. I swear, Cordelia dang near drove me bonkers. I appreciated her strength and courage, but she was so stubborn, too. I enjoyed reading how her relationship with her sisters evolved, but I couldn’t shake the idea that she thought she was better than them, the only true Kings of the three. She was selfish and a martyr for her beliefs. So many times I wished I could take a boat ride to Loosewood Island and hand her a tiny violin. What’s interesting is that I really liked her, too. She was courageous to the point of walking that fine line between bravery and stupidity.

My other favorite character in the novel was Woody Kings, the patriarch of the family. Cordelia was very much like him. He did his best to guide them and provide them with the foundation they needed for a life on Loosewood and the sea. Sadly, I’m not sure he succeeded.

As I first time listener, I discovered the beauty of an audio book is the narrator's ability to carry you to a place and the different characters by the slight inflection of her voice. Cassandra Campbell was perfect.

As much as I enjoyed , I know this isn’t the kind of novel for everyone. It is very dark. These characters were put through the ringer and they didn’t come away unscathed. It was a cataclysmic tragedy.



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