Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton. In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!!
If this were not Tom Wolfe, I'd only rated this "1 star". Unfortunately "0" is not an option. This is a clear case in which "the messenger" (a/k/a narrator) SHOULD be killed! After over 100 audiobooks, I can tell you that a narrator can make or break a book, even classics and best-sellers. I listened to actor Elliot Gould completely ruin a Raymond Chandler work while "The Help" and "I, Claudius" were totally enhanced by the excellent narration. Here, we have a great story with a lot of drama, comedy and sub-plots made unbearable by the cartoonish reading of it. It starts out with a scene in which African-American's sound like a stereotypical merging of "jive turkeys" and a bunch of minstrel coons. Guess what? More of us talk like just YOU do in real life than we are given credit for in audiobooks! We aren't all loud and crass as depicted in those horrid Tyler Perry films. At least in the hard copy of this story, the reader isn't forced to listen to some narrow-minded narrator's ridiculous idea of how HE thinks black people sound. While this narrator is very good at mastering a lot of different voices for the kazillion characters in this book, his overall reading is too light and silly for the subject matter. His "sound effects" (crying, sneezing, laughing, snorting, etc.) are way over-done and disturbing to the ear, especially one held captive by an iPod earbud. One wonders if the editors LISTEN to these books once they are recorded or just shove them onto the public. I couldn't finish this book - I had to throw in the towel about 1/3 of the way in. Author Tom Wolfe's masterpiece deserved so much more. I think I'll just READ the book again or watch the movie.
I would rank it in the top ten, among Atlas Shrugged, Unbroken, East of Eden, Grapes of Wrath, Fall of Giants, Gone with the Wind, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
It's hard to find a favorite character. There weren't many admirable people.
The way he changed his voice, evoking classes and prejudices.
A Perfect Storm of Classes
It was interesting to see some of the characters recognize their own faults, only to be unable to do anything about them.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
That's a harsh characterization that is as true as it is misleading. It's true because Wolfe has written a book so deeply steeped in the specific era it was written that it only makes sense in that one context. It's also a tawdry story of little lasting literary merit. It's misleading because that tawdry story does in fact have elements of the universal in it, plus that plethora of 1980s cultural references makes it a charming time capsule of what things were like. This is a terrifically entertaining book. It's a vivid reminder of how much things are still the same and how much things have changed. Joe Barrett does a terrific job of getting all the voices and accents down right. Wolfe does a terrific job of portraying all the different agendas and the ambiguity of how a single version of the facts can be perceived so very differently by all the parties involved.
Joe Barrett narrates with great tone, speed and expression. Also listen to 'A Prayer for Owen Meany' for more from this narrator.
This novel took me back to the 80s with reference to the lavish decor and excess shoulder paddage. Characters are well defined and interesting enough to keep one's attention throughout. Loved it!
Sometimes I really loved this book, and sometimes I just thought it was too far over the top. I did not like the swearing, but I understand why it was put in. I don't enjoy reading the expletives, however. Makes me uncomfortable. Aside from that, I think the writing style was great. I got a bit bogged down in it at the end, though. I actually thought the ending was disappointing. Maybe it is because I expected something else.
I have heard about this book for a long time, and I now understand its title, which is a great title. I will probably think about this book for years. The narrator, Joe Barrett, was one of the best I have ever heard.
I really enjoyed this book. It was so tragically sad in the way it portrayed the utter worst of every group involved. I think the one line that really gripped me was "And Sherman's regal chin sunk to his chest." When a book has a line that grips my heart, it is an important book for me
This is one of my favorite books of all time. The writing is wonderful, and the story is really funny. I read the book when it first came out years ago, and I'm happy to say that the audio version is every bit as enjoyable. Highly recommended!
Yes, the reading was great until the last couple hours. Then the reader started over acting for the characters and I thought it was distracting.
I have never seen the film so I came to this book without any preconceived notions. When I was looking for a new audio book, I read some of the reviews and saw reviews stating it was read well and the accents were believable. I am not sure where those people come from but I found the accents very annoying and not at all correct. Being from NY myself, the exaggerated accent made me almost embarrassed for the reader who seemed to be trying too hard. The main character's upper class snooty way of speaking was comical to say the very least. That being said, I did enjoy the story and will rent the film to compare. I would recommend this audio book even if it was a bit too long.
I work. I ski. I play. I write. I have a family. I garden. I coach. I volunteer. I sketch. I run. I read.
I have not read the print version. I saw the movie after listening to the book. As usual, the book is better.
I like the intertwined lives of the characters.
I like Sherman McCoy's criminal attorney.
I have no extreme reaction. However, it is highly enjoyable.
I'm going to look up more Tom Wolfe books.