The reader was excellent. As for the book, I'm reluctant to be critical of a well-liked author who knew he dying of cancer, but I always felt that he didn't know where the story was going--so he just kept on going and going. First we have the "Jack learns to play the piano and escape blue collar Toronto story." Then we have the "Jack goes out west, becomes a poker player, and loses his virginity to a sweet hooker story before escaping from gangsters story." Then there is the "escaping from WWII by getting an early minor wound" story. Then the escaping gangsters in Las Vegas story. Then the escaping thugs in Africa story. Then the escaping his daughter's creditors in London story, which also results in saving Jack's talking parrot. One melodrama after the next. It all comes across like something written to be published in monthly installments in an old-fashioned magazine serial.
Yes and know. I enjoyed the first 1/2 of the book, in particular, depicting Jack's hardscrabble existence in depression-era Toronto and his depth as a musician. As both a Canadian and a musician, I truly enjoyed this part of Jack of Diamonds. The second half was not nearly that strong, stretching credibility - how likely is it that a mob member will tell an outsider the whole story?
I honestly could not finish the book, due in no small part to the depiction of mob life and the repetition of many other elements of his books - notably Jack from "Brother Fish". I would recommend Four Fires, Matthew Flinders' Cat, and Brother Fish before this one.
Humphry Bower is always always splendid. It is a testament to his gift as a narrator to drop the Australian accent for 26 hours.
Say something about yourself!
I will so miss Mr. Courtenay though he was not at his best for this one. One can only attribute this to a sort of swan song. It was a roll up of many of his characters and a blurry rehash of a lot of his previous plots and much better stories.
Jack of Diamonds had a challenging background, but not anywhere near as challenging as it should have been. He had so many benefactors, most people would have been happy with just one!
It isn't a wasted credit if you love Bryce Courtenay. He was a sick man and yet came up with a story that is readable. You know after a while that nothing really bad is going to happen to this guy. You know he will land on his feet – sorry, possibly a spoiler allert. And don't we all want that? Especially when one knows that one is not going to 'land on his feet?'
If you want to read a "in his prime" Bryce Courtenay book read Power of One, Tandia, especially The Potato Factory trilogy - awesome books! Brother Fish, The Persimmon Tree, Four Fires... I will always honor and admire this man's contribution to books, fiction, and my life. RIP Bryce!
If you only want what his previous offerings gave – don’t bother. If you Love Bryce, it is okay. I probably won’t listen to this one again – sigh… It isn't even Humphrey Bower's best effort.
I love to listen or read books...I have always got one or two books on the go at any one time. I am happily married, and live a quiet life.
I started this book, loving that it had many hours of listening time and at first I didn't really care for the performance. As the story progressed, and the sound of his voice continued, I fell in love with his way of talking. Just when I thought I wasn't going to be impressed, the story grabbed me and it was taking me down different avenues of Jack's life. To come from such a hard background and through hard work to become what he had dreamed, a jazz pianist, to have his dreams slashed and his love lost, he moves on and makes dramatic changes always being true to himself. I was also impressed at how his life experiences went on to enhance his future endeavours.
As the book ended, I realized this is the author who wrote the "Power Of One", and so loved this book, I became an instant fan of this author. I have never been good at remembering names of authors, so it did not click who this author was, but now I have all the books he has wrote on my wish list.
My hat is off to Bryce Courtney who has such a great knack for story telling, and how he portrays his characters, it was like walking beside the main character in his trials and blunders, feeling his pain, rejoicing in his success, and carrying his self respect & beliefs with him throughout his life. I can hardly wait to read the next of his books on my list.
He is the master of seemingly all dialects, Australian, South African, German, Irish, Chicago, New York, Canadian, the list goes on.
Watching Jack grow from childhood to senior citizen and all of his adventures was spellbinding. I am truly sorry we are at the end of Courtenay's books. What a gifted storyteller.
Another Bryce Courtenay brilliant book and as always narrated by Humphrer Bower .. what an exciting book. A great read.
the places jack goes the things that happen sorry to get to the end. started it again
any thing Humphrey reads is great
Jacks mum was great . she had pretty hard time
[RIP] Bryce loved every book . Audible we now need a good story teller like Bryce keep a look out please
This was was my first audiobook with Bryce Courtenay. When it first started I asked myself why did I buy a book that starts out in the 1930's????? My doubts were quickly dispelled and it sure did help pass the time away on a long Uhaul trip across the country.... in fact sometimes I couldn't put it down
I haven't read the print version but will probably buy it as I have every one of Bryce Courtenay's books. He's the most amazing storyteller.
Jack of course! He's flawed, but brave, innocent but inquisitive, talented and kind, unbiased in any way (like all Bryce's hero and heroines), picks his causes and they are always good ones. Loves his family, is loyal to his friends, and they to him. Makes enemies becos of his actions and views, but always sticks to his beliefs, and stands up for both those, and for others too weak, helpless or bullied to stand up for themselves. But yet, even though he sounds like a super hero he's very real.
I haven't listened to any of Mr. Bower;s any other performances. His voice was perfect for this story.
Jack of course!
I am heartbroken that this is Bryce's last book, and I loved that he realized that we would all want to know what happened in the next book which was "in the writing" and would have flowed out of him in 2013 - so he told us briefly what happens. I am so sad that all his brilliance was condensed into just a few chapters - when it could have been chapters and chapters more - but I am so grateful that he told us the rest of the story. Thank you, Bryce for all your wonderful characters, amazing stories, incredible observations, respect for the truth and for goodness. I loved every flash of writing brilliance, and there were hundreds and hundreds of them in every book.
An awful and pompous use of words. I can't believe this got published! I had to persevere to finish.