With his heart in his mouth, the reader returned once again to John Lee's reading of The Pillars of the Earth.
William Hamley was raping a woman again. This Hamley was a curious fellow: He and the Bishop of Kingsbridge represented a duo of villains nearly as poorly-realized as Prince Lotor and Haggar the Witch, providing hideous rape scenes instead of Robeasts. It was a shame that this particular book placed such heavy focus on them, and on Hamley in particular, as his chapters were the least interesting and most predictable in the book-- perhaps in any book.
Despite this, the reader found himself greatly enjoying this audiobook. The narrator, John Lee, had made the experience of listening to this novel absolutely transcendent through consistently animated narration and effective character portrayals. His voice had presence and life, in comparison to which other narrators could only be diminished.
By day's end, the book was complete. Despite previous irritations with the frequent rape scenes, the reader had to admit that because of the many other fascinating characters in The Pillars of the Earth, the experience with this novel had been immensely enjoyable. This was a testament to John Lee as a narrator as much as it was to Ken Follett as a writer; but whatever the reason, it was clear that this had been an experience that was easy to recommend.
Also recommended is spinach salad with grilled salmon. Couple it with a balsamic vinaigrette for maximum delight.
elephant in the room? This book has a lot of rape, and detailed depictions of it. This would have been a 5 star book without it. there no way to get around it. it made listening to this book an extremely difficult chore at times.
otherwise, it was a good story and well told. the narrator was very good.
The story about church building, farming, commerce, and history could have been truly intriguing on its own. I lost interest after the third gang rape. Seriously, this author uses rape incessantly to demonstrate the villain's evilness. The first rape involves a minor and child who is forced to watch, with a touch of child mutilation thrown in. The second gang rape involves multiple orifices. The third gang rape involves a young mother (while loved ones, children, etc. look on). The fourth gang rape is aborted but not until the woman is stripped, breasts heaving, blah blah blah. The fifth attempted rape is just one man, but he holds a knife over the victim's eyeball to give the rape real pizazz.
This won't bother some people, but it grew tiresome pretty quickly.
The narrator was outstanding. I would listen to anything read by him.
Never in my life would I believe that a book about cathedrals would interest me. I was captivated by this book! Must read.
Follett is not a great writer. His prose is mundane and his characters stock. But this was an excellent book to listen to while driving; especially if you are interested in English history.
Tell us about yourself!
A story about a monk building a church probably shouldn't be entertaining for over 40 hours but this one certainly is! This story involves a couple generations rebuilding a church in medieval times. Philip, prior of Kingsbridge, leads the way in financing and building a new cathedral.
I was drawn into the stories of the individuals fighting to maintain or improve their own existences as well as build or in some instances destroy the new church. Good vs Evil, both internally as well as externally runs throughout these stories.
I really enjoyed listening to John Lee's performance. He did a wonderful job with the different characters and the telling of the story. Well worth the credit spent!
I would absolutely recommend this audiobook! I had read the novel several years ago, and returned to this title in audiobook format to break up a long commute to work. Good choice! From the very first page, the author engages the listeners with an immediate connection to the characters. There's plenty of drama, mixed with architectural instruction against an historical backdrop. Follett has a true talent for blending all of these elements into a captivating story.
My personal favorite was Ellen's "pissing scene". If you didn't pick up on her spunk before that scene, her tirade left no doubt. It was a graphic illustration of how frustrating it must have been for women of that era to be living amongst self-righteous, pseudo-intellectual men.
I did read the book first, and enjoyed it immensely. John Lee's narration was excellent, and did, actually, enhance the story for me.
I resisted recommendations to read this novel for a long time. I mean, really...twelfth-century English monks building a cathedral? Sounded so boring to me. Then my aunt pushed the paperback into my hands as I was leaving for a trip, and I opened it on the plane for lack of a better alternative. The plane landed too soon! I was hooked from the first pages, and enjoyed the audiobook just as much several years later.
Reading about peasant life in the middle ages is not the sort of thing that sounds interesting to me - but the rich story, well developed and interesting characters, and great reading performance by John Lee makes "Pillars" a book for the ages.