Cover Image: The Hummingbird

The Hummingbird

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Member Reviews

Regarded as one of Italy’s premier authors, Veronesi has detailed the family story of Marco Carrera. Called the Hummingbird because he can remain still and quiet while the world around him changes. He is a stoic but even so he loves life. He seems destined to lose people close to him and ends up raising his granddaughter after his daughter is unable to care for her. I found this a terribly sad book. The letters between Marco and Luisa were the one bright spot. Narration is excellent as the story is narrated by different voices and the narrators were spot on.
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I didn’t enjoy this enough to finish it.  It may have been the translation which could have been better, but I only made it halfway through.
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I found this book to be extremely heartbreaking. It’s a book about one man’s tragedies and his inability to prevent them. The only light I found were in the exchange of letters between Marco and Luisa. Otherwise, it made me very sad.
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THE HUMMINGBIRD is a beautifully written story about a family, but the main focal character is Marco Carrera. Throughout you learn the difficulties Marco faces in life, but his struggle is what makes him grow.

The narrators were wonderful. It created a realistic background to the story.
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The Hummingbird feels like a story within a story within a story. Each chapter could practically stand on its own. It is the story of Marco Carrera, an ophthalmologist. The story takes place backwards and forwards in time but the beginning of the chapter always tells which time period. This has the desired effect of keeping the reader engaged while slowly piecing together the stories of Marco’s life. It’s really quite magnificent.
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I loved this audio book!  I felt like the author was just talking to me as the tone from the very start was playful and fun.  As it progressed, we have other voices who narrate the plot and that was helpful for this listener.  This is a book that requires some attention on the part of the reader and I think I’d like to get a hard copy to appreciate it even more.  I like an author who thinks his reader is intelligent and expects something from me.   The story of Marco is told through many different lenses; letters, narrative, dialogue, emails, even poetry and the timeline shifts between at least four different eras.  There is quite a bit of social commentary also which I thought was inserted in a clever, entertaining way.    
  
 If you enjoy a dysfunctional family saga set in Italy that spaces an entire lifetime, you will appreciate this book as it takes us in a meandering way through the life of Marco.  As a character he’s multidimensional and,  overall, I liked him.  He’s not perfect and he knows this, but he does seem like someone who is trying his best to be a good person.  We follow him from childhood through death as he confronts marriage, parenthood, career, family, grief, love and many other universal experiences.  I enjoyed the plot – it moves forward at a good pace and twists and secrets are revealed in a way that kept me reading.  I finished this book in one day.

As an added bonus, I feel a bit smarter upon finishing this book.  Books from other perspectives are a wonderful way to learn about other cultures and I enjoyed the English translation of this book.  I don’t think it lost a thing in translation as is often the case.  I also learned a lot about Hummingbirds, human growth hormone, therapy, anime, euthanasia.…and lots of random, interesting facts.   The ending was satisfying and very different from any other.

I have never read this author and am excited to see he had eight other books awaiting me.

 Thanks, NetGalley and Harper Audio for the preview.
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