Roadside Panic (Strugastsky bros.) - Audible audiobook version
Summary: There'a a brilliant short story somewhere in this mixed bag of a novel.
The narrative structure varies from great first person to a stilted third person, and back, in a seemingly arbitrary and jolting way. The action sequences are for the most part tense and thrilling, but the expository discussions/interviews are clumsy. The overarching idea is brilliant, but comes across as an afterthought rather than a reality check of the human condition. I would love to have seen a bit more use of the well thought out artifacts taken from the zone too. Strangely, there are passages which could be from any book about anything, revealing nothing about the characters or the story, and occasional out-of-place overly-detailed descriptions of someone taking a drink out of a flask, or wiping their nose.
The Audible narrator read in a laconic, noirish style, which suited the first person parts really well.
I'll have to revisit Tarkovski's movie adaptation. It's been thirty+ years since I've since it, but I remember it leaving a slightly better impression on me than this.