This is my first review after over a year as an audible member and well over 100 listens and ratings. I was so impressed with this course that I had to write this to add to my 5 stars:
I found this course more enjoyable and rewarding than any I've had in 8 years of higher education. Though that statement may, admittedly, say something about the quality of my education, it probably has more to do with my maturity in the nearly 20 years since my last degree, and I think can even moreso be attributed to the superb professor, Dr. David Thorburn of MIT.
What a wonderful set of lectures on modern literature! Dr. Thorburn has significantly transformed and improved my vision of literature in the 20th century (and today). He is fantastic in his enthusiasm and love for the literature, the art and the artist/authors. I was sad that the course had to end and depressed when I couldn't find another lecture by Dr. Thorburn. I'm hopeful he'll consider enriching us in the lowly masses with more lectures.
First, Michael C. Hall did an excellent job on the narration, lending a personality and voice to each character. You always know when the narrator does a great job when you lose track of him in the characters; that is, you forget that this guy speaking is the guy on that Dexter TV show. You don't remember the narrator until the audio is near finished. I wish I could give more than 5 stars. This narration job is up there with Will Patton's best work and at times is even better.
As for the Book,
I'd always seen the commercial highlights/trailer for the movie version of "Breakfast at Tiffany's," and the phrase is even iconic of that era and place. Yet, I'd never seen the movie or read the book--until now. I didn't know what to expect besides basically the description on the audible version of the book - the basic storyline. So I know if I say too much here in the review of the couple of twists and the ending, I'll be spoiling the enjoyment of this audio for another listener.
With that in mind, Truman Capote's masterful short novel displays this young lady's complexities of character underlying the shallow facade. Some can rise above the admixture of nature and nurture and dream so much they will follow it to the ends of the earth. Holly Golightly was a dreamer extraordinaire or as Capote put it, a "lopsided romantic" whose trait of personality would never change.
A poignant line which I think captures a major theme of the novel is Holly's observation that:
"it's better to look at the sky than live there; such an empty place, so vague, just a country where the thunder goes and things disappear."
I've read somewhere that Capote ran in the same circles as Marilyn Monroe and parts of Holly Golightly are loosely based on Norma Jean's personality and her early years. I don't know if that's true, but it sounds right, based on what I know.
I must add my thoughts that an outcast sissy-boy from Monroeville, Alabama at the time (and even today) was likely extremely sensitive and keenly observant of his environment in the Big Apple and the fact that he was also a gay man from down South up in the big city probably served to further enhance his remarkable attention to details in that society at that time. The difficulties he endured in those years likely integrated into his makeup as an artist who could and would so vividly paint the outsider trying to fit in with the clouds, "an empty place," as it turns out, "where the thunder goes and things disappear."
Ms. Denfeld has a unique talent for pretty prose anywhere, but here it's in prison and specifically on death row. I was skeptical when recommended this book but I quickly got past this with such gorgeous writing and imaginative storytelling from inside the mental thought processes of the irreparably damaged soul who is often back in childhood before he was brutally robbed of innocence, dignity and any chance at normalcy. This is terrific fiction.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
Not since "Night of the Hunter" can I remember a more charismatically evil "preacher" captivating a community and placing innocent children in peril. Two people know the danger in the preacher - the sheriff who has no legal evidence to act, and Adelaide, an elderly woman of the church who has appointed herself protector of the children in the congregation. These two are moral anchors of the community, in their own ways keepng the peace. But then the curiosity of two brothers sets events in motion that gain momentum and become explosive in a matter of only days.
Wiley Cash has perfectly captured the language of the region, with a finely tuned ear for genuine dialogue and prose. The characters are complexly gritty, tender, damaged and innocent, Told by three first-person voices, we get an inside look at life in the mountain country of North Carolina, where communities are close knit and closed in, and ruled by tobacco and fundamentalist religion. The three voices - Adelaide, Sheriff Barefield, and Jess Hall, a 10 year old boy terrified at being thrust center stage in the machinations of an adult world he can't understand, are all voiced impeccably by a trio of accomplished narrators. I generally avoid multiple-reader books, but seeing that Lorna Raver was included convinced me to give it a try. (Her performance of "Fried Green Tomatoes" was exquisite.) I was not disappointed.