Bryce Courtenay guides the reader through the oft-horrifying, yet enchanted childhood and youth of Peekay, drawing heavily on his own experience but branching well into the realm of the imaginary. It is a vivid tour through the South Africa of the 1930s-1950s, brought to life by a dazzling array of characters, many brutal and despicable (the older bully at his boarding school, several guards at the prison where he learns to box), others cunning and colorful (his prisoner boxing coach and his best prep school pal), and some, not least Peekay himself, brilliant and heroic. Courtenay paints a vivid and entertaining picture of the many places and social milieux that Peekay inhabits.
Though it's not perfect, Humphrey Bower's impressive portrayal of the multitude of characters--with myriad accents--and his charming narration earned five stars from me. The story nearly earned five, but I settled on four because I found the reflective portions, such as Peekay's musings on the power of one, rather contrived, and the conclusion unsatisfying.
Fortunately, though, the vast majority of the book features Courtenay's insightful, well-paced, funny, disturbing, and uplifting storytelling, laced with keen social commentary and fueled by the ambitions and imagination of a wildly talented boy turned young man, one I was compelled to cheer for throughout. You will, too, and you will find The Power of One well worth the listening time.
This book really demonstrates "the power of two". The writing of Bryce Courtenay and the wonderful narration of Humphrey Bower.
I’m relatively new to Bryce Courtenay’s expansive storytelling. I read The Potato Factory jut a few months ago and was taken by his methodical and detailed style. The Power of One also pulled me into his world and had me connecting with his characters and reacting emotionally to the trials, tribulations and triumphs they experienced.
The Power of One left me with a single disappointment; the unfulfilling ending. In some ways it was like Peekay’s experience with Doc’s death. I felt like there was no time to say ‘good bye’. It was just suddenly over.
But I leave the book engaged with the characters, amused by Courtenay’s clever turns of phrase and enriched by the stories within the novel. And I was again captivated by Humphrey Bower and his talent for bringing Courtenay's characters to life.
Yes, I have now read or listened to them all.
Peekay meeting the witch doctor.
Yes, I loved them all. Great
It's such a pity there will be no more Bryce Courtenay. A fantastic story teller.
I don't know what I didn't love about this book. I love P.K. and everything he's been through and overcome. He truely is the Power of One.
So many memorable moments in this book. I actually saw parts of the movie over 10 years ago and I remember the part about the chicken vaguely. So at that part it was really hard for me not to cry. I think My favorite part though is the fight against his nanny's son. The meeting between the two as well as the relationship they build.
Everything! Humphrey is such a great narrator. I'm somewhat new to audiobooks and usually its kind of hard for me to listen to narrators with accents. I love this one though. He is so good at changing his voice for each character it almost sounds like there are numerous narrators.
I love the title of this book so I wouldn't rename it.
I've been recommending this book to all of my friends.
I loved the charactors in the book
Other good historical novels
Humphrey Bower brings the story and people alive
I laughed and was sad, and happy,
some parts were a bit gory, even though I loved this book
Powerful, moving, inspiring
The narrator truly brought me into the world of the story with what sounded like an authentic South African accent and his excellent interpretation of the emotional meaning behind the words.
Although the story was larger than life at times and the main character occasionally too good to be true, the writing was lovely and moving and there are beautiful, touching, sad moments that will live with me for a long time. The writer weaves throughout the notion of the "loneliness birds," which is such a visual way of describing what the main character was experiencing. I loved being taken into this world and loved hearing about the various people who made a difference in the main character's life and who taught him how to strive for the best. The characters were fantastic. I do wish a certain character who was introduced early on had made an appearance at the end to see how his kindness changed a boy's life, but still great even without that.
There is so much of this book that I really liked. While the beginning is disturbing - - anytime a child is mistreated - - you usually figure that there will be some sort of justice or happy ending to make the ride worthwhile. The narrator did a great job with the varying characters. They were all distinct , but somewhat one-dimensional. Either good guys or bad guys. The ending spoiled it for me. And this is a long book to wade through to find yourself feeling a bit cheated at the end. It felt to me as if the author had a deadline and had to finish in a hurry to "wrap things up". The leading character's behavior did not match the boy you had grown up with along the span of the story. I found it disappointing, but again, found many things to enjoy along the way.
I couldn't stop listening to it.
I loved the transformation from child to adolescent to young adult to adult.
all of them.
The story grabbed me -- inspirational and unexpectedly motivational. The writing was detailed and flowed beautifully. Well done!
I would and have recommended this book to a friend. I think it hits all the high notes that are in a good composition.
The character development was clear. The story flowed. The performance of the reader was remarkably believable. The exotic setting captivated.