I'm a 60 yr old former English major and grad student. It's been fascinating revisiting the books I studied in my 20s, read aloud to me.
Colin Firth does an amazing job enlivening a very boring tale of a love affair ended by a silly promise to God made during a bombing in WWII London. I could not wait for this story to be over, and I have read and enjoyed many many novels that many find horribly boring (e.g., Moby Dick, Remembrance of Things Past). Daydreaming while listening to Firth's mellifluous voice and cadence, I recognized Ian McEwan in this story, and even O'Henry in the ironic twists that develop, but none of this was enough to pull this book out of the depths of dreariness. The characters are all insipid, and the plot is inane, but Firth is wonderful to listen to. Find something else he's read. I cannot recommend this novel.
I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
This review has no beginning and no end. I should probably start then with the obvious -- I love G.G.. I love his Catholic novels (now having finished the fourth of that group). Greene's strength is his ability to make his flawed characters both repellant and lovely (or said simpler: human) at the same time. He approaches his thesis through unconventional approaches. Who but Greene would illuminate man's relationship with God with an affair as the novel's structural metaphor? Greene's relationship with God and his Catholicism is complex and uneasy at times and that is what transforms his novels into Art
I'm Robert's wife, a retired physician and homeschool mom whose grown kids now love history, literature, sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction
I should have paid more attention to the negative reviewer on this one. This will be the first Audible book I've started and not finished. (I even dragged myself through Doctor Zhivago, which was depressing and seemed to make a hero out of someone in whom I found almost no heroic qualities, though admittedly I may have chosen to finish it either because it cost two credits or just so I could say I did.) For this one, I can only ditto the reviewer who says the protagonist just keeps bouncing back and forth with his whinings. And, as part of those whinings, I must add a comment: Why does he seem to think it if God's responsibility to make things work out for him when he makes foolish and immoral choices and gets his feelings hurt? It is certainly not God's responsibility to simply give him whatever he wants. The main character, not only in his concept of God as a cosmic Santa but also in every other way--at least as far as I could stomach the story--seems absurdly shallow. I know most everybody else liked this one, but I kept thinking, where's the story? and what's the point?
Greene is an amazing writer and brilliant storyteller. This starts off in a dark, brooding and suspenseful tone and with a great deal of emotional power. But the book gradually evolves into a fairly didactic discussion of God and religion (it's one of Greene's major "Catholic" novels) that became (for me) tedious at best. The specificity of the main characters is lost to theory, and the ending--with its possible "miracles" struck this reader as downright silly. The narrator's prevaricating becomes repetitious and dull. There are memorable characters and moments along the way, but for me, it lost the powerful sense of the "real" that Greene usually does so well.
If I'd been reading this on the page, I would have skimmed the last third to half. Firth's reading is so good, I stuck with it. A compelling voice and a brilliant style. His clipped reading and at times terse delivery creates suspense out of even the banal moments.
Apparently everyone, but I don't get it.
Nothing. I find it utterly unbelievable. Not one of the characters is likeable and the only one who rings true is Henry---as the husband who really doesn't want to know. I don't know why either Sarah or Maurice wants to have an affair with the other. They are both selfish and boring. Next, I don't believe anyone truly means the bargains they make with God in moments of desperation. However, even if she believed she had to keep it, why didn't she just tell Maurice? Her vow was to give him up and, presumably, bear the pain. It was cruel to inflict the pain of not knowing on Maurice. The only reason I can think that she didn't tell him is that there wouldn't have been a book otherwise. I realize this is a classic and I am in the minority, but there it is.
As a story, this book is the pits. As philosphy, it's even worse.
No, but I will be looking for more.
Colin Firth was great. I will look for more of his narrations.
Mysteries, classics, non-fiction, time travel, Bounty hunters, grim reapers... anything but vampires, please!
Colin's voice and the wartime setting combines to paint mental images of classic cinema in your imagination. You are not just doing your gardening, listening to a book. You are gardening in England, in the midst of moral dilemma, while the world crumbles around you.
There are no right answers. About anything. Anywhere. Ever.
Colin Firth, with a voice I could listen to forever, reads with perfect nuance the struggles of Graham Greene's characters. Make no mistake, romance is not the subject of this novel about a British wartime affair. There is no dripping sentimentality about the end of the affair. These characters struggle with simultaneous hate and love of each other, as well as with their belief or non-belief in "God". All of the characters care; they are not indifferent to matters of religion. Even though I feel pretty "settled" in these affairs of mind and heart, I found much to think and care about here.
and I especially loved Colin Firth reading it....your life will be better if you hear this :)
Oral storytelling is my favourite thing in the world. If I lost my iPod I would feel like I had lost my arm.
The prose of Graham Greene as narrated by Colin Firth are a sublime experience. I'm so glad I bought this. My only hope is that Audible can convince Mr. Firth to go back into the recording booth to do more.