- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 10 hours and 59 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 31 Aug. 2010
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0045FCB7Q
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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The Enormous Room Audiobook – Unabridged
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This is one of the books one keeps reading over and over and never ceases to enjoy.
An excellent book.
Cummings gives us a rare view of humans surviving in situations that are completely out of their control.
The acceptance, the simple kindness, the beauty of the most damaged people .. Cummings describes with a depth of feeling that uplifts. . . gives hope.
I almost felt regret when he was moved and I'd not "see" the characters and the room again.
In the early pages I couldn't understand why the author was describing every incident and every person he met in such great detail. But this made more sense when he reached Macé. Most of the narrative from this point on consisted of describing his fellow inmates and guards, and this is where Cummings comes into his own - he has an artist's eye for describing people and shows great empathy with the prisoners. Cummings was himself in a privileged position - he had money which he could draw on to buy cigarettes and supplement the appalling diet, and had a fur coat and bedding whilst most of his companions had no money and nothing but a straw palliasse to lie on.
Cummings devises nicknames for his fellow prisoners and the guards - the Zulu, Trick Raincoat, the Fighting Sheeney and other colourful terms. The guards are a pitiful lot, mostly troops who are hors de combat through injury. The women, who the men are not allowed to socialise with (or they have to spend time in the Cabinot - a tiny solitary confinement cell), seem to be either prostitutes or associates (wives etc) of the men.
Cummings describes many incidents in great detail ,and it is obvious to the reader that he thinks that the whole system is ludicrous and the French authorities despicable. At the same time he has great admiration for many of his fellow detainees.
The end of the book is a bit weak, but the bulk of the narrative - the Enormous Room - makes a telling contribution to the literature of World War I.