I'm writing this before I've actually finished the book, but halfway through it's clear that thi is yet another masterpiece, apparently the last, from this marvelous author. Humphrey Bower, as usual, narrates superbly,changing his voice and his accent to suit the character who's speaking. As the father of a 17-year-old jazz musician, this book resonates deeply with me, but I can't imagine anyone not loving it.
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
I have enjoyed other Courtenay books more, but this is a very good story. For me, the difference was that in his other books, I have found a female character to empathize with/relate to; and found none in this one. Jack's mother, teachers, "girl friends" and others were just fleeting characters in the story.
Jack is bright but sure makes some crazy (aka stupid) decisions throughout the story. Nonetheless, he survives, even thrives and his life story takes the listener to interesting and exotic locales where he makes his way with music and/or gambling.
Humphey Bower as always, did a magnificent job narrating the story. I simply would have liked to "care" a little more about the characters, including Jack.
What a well written story. It flowed very well. I am so happy to have discovered this author.
I have never heard such an accomplished reader. How many accents can he do? Really entertaining!!
As with all of his novels, I have been thoroughly entertained by Bryce Courtenay listening to Jack of Diamonds. I am sorry that have only a couple of his novels left to read/listen to. This novel was in a different setting mostly in Canada and Las Vegas, and a little towards the end in a mining setting in Africa. It was set among the jazz world, high roller gamblers and Mafia connections with an interesting thread about the culture and times of pre and post world war 2. I love Courtenay's novels .... he has been a wonderful story teller and will be greatly missed.
A better story
Not as interesting as his other books which had more of a historical theme and truth to them.
Not at all
On a Sunday, I ride my motorcycle to Maracas Bay Beach while listen. When I get there up goes the hammock, and I then listen to my audiobook
I'm sure going to miss Bryce Courtenay yarns … and Humphrey Bower brings them to life
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.
An awful and pompous use of words. I can't believe this got published! I had to persevere to finish.
It was slow and took a long time to really invest in the characters. He seemed to spend a lot of time on details that weren't significant to the overall plot.
Love him so much that I've found other audio books he's narrated, by other authors. He's a true master at narration, accents, characters (of both genders—without sounding condescending). But the story wasn't good so it was hard to get into his characters with this one. He seems to speak much slower when preforming with an American (or in this case Canadian) accent. It almost doesn't even sound like him.
I really enjoy Bryce Courtney's books—particularly Jessica, Power of One and Tandia. But it seems he's repeating/borrowing several concepts from his previous novels, i.e.
card player—similar to Tomo in The Australian Trilogy
copper miner/racial tensions—Peekay in Power of One
Obviously authors write what they know, but with 20+ books, I think he needs to expand what he writes about a little more. I still have some other books of his to listen to, which I will, but this was not his best.
overcoming great odds
I found that it was enjoyable with rarely a boring segment, but it was one I could put down and come back to later
This story, following a young boy from the depth of the economic depression of the 30's, virtually through his adult life was inspirational and read almost like a biography. It was, in a way, written in an old fashioned style of the 30's or 40's but modern in language and content. Its scope covered ground from Canada to Las Vegas, New York, England and Africa.