I had read this book when I stumbled on it by accident and absolutely loved it. The bargain price on Audible tempted me to purchase the audio version and I am so glad I did. The narrator does a fabulous job on this story of characters you come to love. If you are even thinking you might like this book; I bet you'll love it!
Having read most of the reviews before mine, I agree with the pros and cons of this book, however since this is a work of translation I kept this in mind wandering through the wind with Danielle... and conjuring up images of post war Madrid from an historical perspective. I loved the narrator (he narrated Snow Crash for those of you who are searching for him which I gave 5 star and wrote a review) and the music as corny and it might have sounded it somehow hit the right note :)... The first chapter is simple and deceptive because each story branches off into other stories with new characters with quirks, twitches and authentic voices you can see the cafe or the hat shop or the mansion where the murders took place... I love to listen to the language if you do you will love this book.
The language is so beautiful - you are so beguiled by the descriptions - places, things and times I have never lived were brought into reality - I could see it all.
It's too hard to name one without spoiling one of several moments for the next reader.
I have not, but this one was exquisite. I have started The Angel's Game - a different performer is doing that one and I normally love him as a reader, but for these stories, I can't imagine anyone being better than Jonathan Davis.
I guess I had two - first, I was crying at the beautiful ending, and second, I immediately began to listen to it again. I had to make myself go on to another book after I finished it for the 2nd time!!
I cannot believe I waited thirteen years to read this beautiful, mysterious book!
As others have noted, Zafon's own piano score does not help this narration. Davis is a great narrator who does the Spanish impeccably and adds distinctive touches to each character's voice, but when the piano came on I was so distracted. It tends to crank up whenever a woman appears, too, as if we are supposed to take notice of how very ephemeral and mysterious she is. (All his female characters are ephemeral and mysterious.) I hope the producers take note of these comments and consider removing that piano from later editions. I also agree wholeheartedly with the comment to have the physical book on hand (mine was from the library) to keep the characters and especially the POV character straight. When we went into Nuria's POV, I began to get very confused, and even Davis's narration couldn't help me. Otherwise, very enjoyable listen.
Sometimes, if a devoted reader is lucky, he or she finds a book of such greatness that the effect is overwhelming. This is one of those rare finds. Other listeners have commented on the skill of the author and the talent of the narrator but I think it is imperative to also honor the gifted translator who did an outstanding job maintaining the integrity and poetry of the original work. I heartily recommend this book to all lovers of great literature.
I believe this was the author's first adult novel and it definitely shows. The story is a but predictable, but nevertheless very entertaining. The subtle music during certain parts of the audible made me feel as if i were back in a time before television, sitting around the sitting room with my family staring at the radio listening to the narrator telling a story. Im relatively new to audio books and this was the first book that had that feature. The narrator was good at maintaining various voices for the different characters which made for a more enjoyable story telling. I definitely recommend this audio book for those who love books with a decent vocabulary and love the Spanish accent.
I never got involved with the characters. I found much of it gruesome. The language was beautiful at times, but at times it was melodramatic. I wish I had gotten as much out of it as other readers have.
This is one of those few books that makes you drive the car extra blocks so that you can keep listening. It is multi-layered with plots going deeper and deeper. But it is not hard to follow. The audio production is excellent - the voices clear but with interesting accents. There is a liberal use of music which adds to the already deeply atmospheric book. One of my favorites for a long time. A good story, well produced.
Runs with scissors.
This was a beautifully written, beautifully read, and translated book. I enjoyed every laugh out loud moment (there were many) and was entertained from start to finish. This book reminds me to appreciate the privelage and joy I have recieved through my many years of diligent (and sometimes obsessive) readership. Don't believe the naysayers, they can only be readers looking for television style appeal. This book has heart and soul and Jonathan Davis is the bomb. I actually found this book by looking for other books he has read after listening to "Snow Crash" (another excellent selection).