It captures adolescence, and is at the same time appealing to any story lover
He sounds young and captures different accents nicely
Captures life in 1980's middle England perfectly, disturbingly realistic depictions of small village & comprehensive school drudgery.
A subtle coming of age story with one drawback, the narration.
If the lead character of a novel is a 13 year old boy please audible, pretty please hire an English actor.
The pronunciation of vowel sounds by this narrator are incredibly jarring. Pretty clearly an American doing an English accent and not all that badly EXCEPT for all of his vowel sounds!
Not being English also leads to the narrator woefully mispronouncing place names and butchering regional accents that are scattered throughout the book.
The narrators rhythm and acting skills are really quite good but he shouldn't be reading English characters without some guidance. Easier just to hire a Brit in the future, PLEASE!
I had just read this book six months earlier, but when I heard the audio sample wanted to buy it and listen to it anyway. They've chosen the ideal reader for this book: his accent is perfect, and his interpretation of the text and the characters is very sensitive. The book is a brilliant semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story by an author whose range is very impressive (from nightmarish futurism to historical fiction and plenty in between). This one is a realistic first-person narrative about a kid with a stammer and the usual tween anxieties. There's a full and convincing cast of secondary characters. The atmosphere is one of nostalgia for early 80s pop culture and sadness about the effects of an unhappy marriage; yet it is lightened by the humor and the fabulations of its bright 13 year old narrator. I'm sure that I'll listen to this again.
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.
I was blown away by Cloud Atlas so I had to give this a try. Initially, I was disappointed that there were no clever postmodern devices. This is a straightup narrative of the life of a 13-year-old boy. And I was initially skeptical since I've always thought this genre was done to death by American authors. It pains me to say it, but Mitchell does this better than any American author I've come across. Plus, it's just plain better than any YA novel I've come across period. It's totally accessible to the YA audience but it's not marketed that way. And while he may eschew postmodern gimmicks here, there's a sophisticated structure underlying it. What seems like a simple slice of life book is actually composed of a number of interlocking storylines that ultimately all contribute to our young protagonist's understanding of his world. There just seems to be no limit to the talents of David Mitchell.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
Not as powerful as Mitchell's superb Cloud Atlas, but an authentic portrayal of adolescence, set in early 1980s England. The book's protagonist, Jason Taylor, is a quiet, uncertain boy who struggles with a stutter. Through his much more even inner voice, Mitchell recreates with unflinching honesty all the joys and terrors of adolescence. Jason maintains a precarious hold near the bottom of the school social ladder, endures relentless torment from bullies, and watches his parents' marriage unravel month by month. The bullies are especially effective characters, as Mitchell makes sure they're just as bad as adult readers have tried to forget they were, and just as overpowering in their cruelty.
But, it's not all trial: there's friendship, first love, and the eventual turning point of hard-won confidence and social acceptance. Nor does Mitchell skimp on all the ordinary details of being 13 -- classes, walks in the woods, encounters with neighbors, crushes on girls, conversations at the family dinner, accidentally seeing one's father drunk and naked -- it's really these moments, experienced intimately through a 13 year old point of view, that drive the book.
Though not to the same degree as Cloud Atlas, there are a few touches of the fanciful. In the course of the novel, Jason meets several oddball characters who seem at least as much like literary figures as real people. Their presence, though not crucial to the story, challenges, in a winking way, both Jason's and the reader's politely restrained attitudes about life. One character, in fact, is an aged version of someone who appears in Cloud Atlas.
The novel has a very episodic structure, with the larger plot arc unfolding at a leisurely pace, and a narrative that consists, for the first three quarters of so, of small daily events that feed Jason's inner life, rather than drastically altering the course of his outer one. But this inner life and its reflections are really the point of the book, and patient readers will find much to like (especially the 1980s British slang) in Mitchell's eyes-open portrait of an age, time, and place. As with Cloud Atlas, Mitchell shows a talent for taking simple, familiar scenes and giving them an elusive air of meaning above the scene's own significance.
Side note: Some readers have complained that Jason sounds a little too eloquent to be a 13 year old. Yeah, I agree that no 13 year old talks like him, but I don't think it was so much Mitchell's intent to capture what a 13 year old *says* as it was to capture how one *thinks*. Sometimes a writer has to take a few creative liberties to get inside someone's head. Our own voices are always more "adult" in there, anyway.
Artist. Photographer. Devil.
Mitchell's pronunciation are so peculiar, it is taking away from the story for me. I have never heard an English accent so strange. It doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever. I grew up in the West Country, as did he - and I have never heard anything like it. He says "Aunt" for Ant. He says "Urn Bru for Iron Bru". He says "Don" for Dawn. He says Gehrage for Garage. He says MalVERN instead of MALvern, he says Dotsun for Datsun, He says Aaahlice for Alice and the list goes on and on. Americans probably don't realise how weird it is, but believe me, it is weird. Story is great - it reflects my own childhood era perfectly - but I do wish someone else was reading it.
NOT COMPREHENSIBLE, LINGUISTICALLY AND FOR THAT REASON ALONE I CANNOT RECOMMEND THE BOOK. IT IS NO EASIER TO READ THAN TO LISTEN TO - THE STORY ITSELF HAS MERIT.
I got this book because I recently met Kirby Heyborne and wanted to hear his narration. He did a awesome job but the book was very slow. The author didn't seem to finish what was going sometimes and would just jump a few months ahead in the story. Over all it is a just a ok book.