Say something about yourself!
It doesn't get much better than this. It is long and well worth the time. I will listen to this again.
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!!!
I first read all of the previous books in the "Shogun" series, this being the last. I don't know what was going on in James Clavell's life when this book was written but it's all over the place. Fifty-six hours is way too long to do anything except LIVE!!! I enjoyed the previous books because it gave an entertaining historical account of China in the 19th century. "Noble House" takes place in the 1960s but feels as if it is really dated about 20 later in the '80s in any city in the world that has a "Chinatown". I got nothing of the rich tapestry of local color or the Chinese people as represented in the earlier books.
There's just too many stories going on here - China, Hong Kong, England, drug wars, Triad gangs, CIA, MI5 and MI6, the Soviet KGB with single, double AND triple agents, stock market manipulation, prostitutes, womens liberation (the only real nod to the 60s) - just way too much!! There was even an unnecessary sub-plot "conflict" between a married couple over a missed wedding anniversary!! James Clavell is an unparalleled writer and this book has the perfect narrator in John Lee. But the narrator is the only consistently excellent aspect of this novel. Unless you first listen to "Shogun", "Tai-Pan", and "Gai-Jin, you will get really confused as the author attempts to link those stories with this one - necessary since this is what's known as a "sweeping epic saga". But even with the previous books in mind, "Noble House" only serves to confuse the listener even more. Too many new names to remember in this book while trying to recall the original central characters who created the business known as Noble House and the destiny of the current Tai-Pan. Even the incomparable John Lee began to run out of voices which only made listening to this book worse. Maybe it's better in hard copy........
Another thing that I found particularly annoying about this novel is the same reason why I don't like Twitter. It's hard enough living every second of your OWN life to have to listen to a blow-by-blow account of the lives of a bunch of OTHER people. This 80+ chapter, 56 hour, book mostly takes place over a span of few days, like the show "24". It's just the wrong approach for this kind of novel. I actually skipped completely over Parts 5 and 6 - roughly 16 hours - because the book was becoming too ponderous to bear and I had begun to suffer from sensory overload. I might listen to these parts later when I have nothing else to do in my life, including BREATHE! I usually won't buy an abridged book but "Noble House" definitely would be a better read/listen if much of the minutiae was removed - about 36 hours worth!
I don't know if I could finish reading a novel ever again. I am so addicted to listening to books I have little interest in reading!
I already have. The history and culture are fascinating, and the story is equally spellbinding. It kept me on edge the whole 57 hours.
The culture as the backdrop is really interesting. It's well read by John Lee, his work made swim in the British and Chinese culture war. The characters are so well developed and intriguing, and yet I could identify with any of them.
At first I struggled in keeping up with the different characters and more than once thought I had missed key points. But patience paid off, making Clavell's masterpiece one of the best listens I've had.
The Taipan, a dashing, brilliant athletic and empathetic leader. Robert Armstrong, the reluctant, loyal and honest policeman. KC, the beautiful, ethical and liberated American businesswoman.
But really every character had so much depth. This is a great one.
I just finished listening to an audiobook of The Noble House by James Clavell. 56 hours and 13 minutes of fast moving action and spies everywhere. Russian Spies, Chinese Spies, British Spies, American Spies, Industrial Multinational Spies, and Corporate Spies. The saving grace of this complicated story is that Clavell peopled it with characters I cared about. I loved it!
Although the story is set in 1963 and the politics is somewhat dated it is true to it's time and some of it, re: Viet Nam for instance is downright prophetic. I read this book sometime in the mid 70's back when I was still naive about what went on in the world. Sadly this time through I found all the goings on completely believable.
The reader John Lee did a fabulous job.
This was my first book by James Clavell. Awesome. From the start to finish the book was gripping. John Lee's narration is first class, his voices make the characters real and visual. At 56 hours it was still too short!
I listen to a lot of audio books. John Lee is one of the best narrators out there. However, this book is hard to get excited about. It is an exicting story but hard to follow. Keeping track of who is who is difficult.
The story itself is great, written by a connoisseur of Asian history. Its characters are very real, the numerous plots and side-plots evolve and intertwine in a continuum of intrigues. The narration by John Lee, whom I have enjoyed in other books, is absolutely incredible, with multiple extraordinarily rendered British, Chinese, American, Russian, Japanese, Portuguese (am I missing any?) impersonations. It enhances the whole story to a different experience. Only reading the book cannot give you a fraction of the pleasure.
Congratulations and thank you to both, James Clavell and John Lee.
Yes. Good story, good performance
The depth of the financial dealings, knitted together by the characters.
All of his Chinese characters were really well done, each an individual voice.
It is very long and detailed. You may want to listen in fast play to get through some of the details faster.
I couldn't stop listening to this book. To date, the best book I've listened to - and I've listened to some current, 5-star books!
It ranks at the top.
I liked the ingenuity of all the main characters.
John Lee brings the characters to life, especially accents, dialects and pronunciation.
I think the head of Noble House who offers a depth of understanding to what it was really like in Hong Kong.
A great story.