This may be one of my favorite books ever. But why? I don't like any of the characters. They are almost all self absorbed blighted people who hurt others with little compunction. The subject is depressing, the loss of innocence, alcoholism, divorce, lost love, death, the list goes on and on. It ends on the eve of ww2 with the house being neglected and ruined by soldiers stationed there. All is so sad, yet the prose are so wonderful, I feel I must have champagne and strawberries this afternoon. Of course, this book's narration belongs to Jeremy Irons, perfection! Listen before you see the movie (the old one, not the new silly choppy one). Get this book and enjoy Mr. Waugh's masterpiece!
It may have helped that we are in the middle of a cold snap just now, but I feel like I have been in Siberia. I am a student of ww2 history and and it's Soviet aftermath so I especially enjoyed this book and will continue to ponder the troubling questions posed by the author for a long time.
In the meantime, I have vicariously partaken of the food, the sites, the music and the stories of these extrodinary people. While listening to this book, I stayed busy online following our progress, watching you tube videos of the singing Babushkas, and reading recipes for borsht.
If you cried (or maybe just had a tear in your eyes) during the recent Olympics for the conflicting emotions of joy for these people, hatred for their system and what it has done to them and pride for their perserverence, then you will enjoy this book.
Truly, Mr Greene, 5 plus weeks on the train and only a 7 hour book? I would have been begging for more if it had been twice as long. Now I am just very sad that it is over...
I have read/listened to approx. 35 nonfiction (and almost the same in fiction) books on WW2 and it's aftermath, and the opinion of the Pope's behavior during the war is almost never favorable. Imagine my surprise to find out what might have been going on behind the scenes. Only one of the examples of disinformation. Brought up to the present day the examples pile up. In the US we are so naïve in our own lives, we can't imagine paranoia on the scale of the soviet block, its a wonder that we are still here. Can you imagine what your friends would say if you tried to point out that this news story or that is a Russian conspiracy? Be vigilant, but not paranoid (McCarthy may have been right, but his behavior and his misuse of power was wrong). This book will change the way you think about our history. Google the author for more interesting information.
PS, never confuse crazy governments with the incredible citizens who are forced to live under them. When you meet them, remember what kind of world they live(d) in. Call the police and you may be calling the criminals themselves, imagine having not recourse to justice anywhere.
Great plot, great pacing.
Right up there with the best, I could have done this one in just one sitting! Even the recipes seemed sinister as read in the dead pan narrators style. Somehow it really works. As the character sees things in colors, I tend to see things in flavors so this tour of exotic locals in terms of food really appeals!
Mr Matthews has a great career ahead! There is room for improvement in the sex and violence scenes. The sex is a little boring and violence of the torture scenes needlessly graphic. Sometimes less detail is more effectively chilling.
Having said that, this is a fast, well developed and very tightly plotted novel. Right up there with Silva, Le Carte et al, don't miss it!
All in all worth the credit, unputdownable 9 out of 10! I can't wait for the next one!
I think I will need to buy this one in print also since I do want to make some of the recipes!
If you have enjoyed this series, this ranks right up there with Still Life and A Rule Against Murder (well, they are all my favorites). This could be a stand alone novel, but I think it may be best to savour them one at a time in order. The joy comes with getting to know and love your friends as you listen to these books. I was shocked to find out in the closing interview that Ralph Cosham reads these books cold and unpracticed, his narration is a masterpiece. My only disappointment is that after months of waiting, I did listen to this one in a day (painting my house, I made great progress), and now I have to wait for the next one.
Terrific storyline and a great ending, tight and awesome story telling, LP has hit it out of the park again. Make a cup of tea (or get the paint brushes out) and enjoy!
Prof Greenberg brings us through the life of this great composer against the backdrop of Stalin's regime during the purges before and after WW2. It is an unforgettable tour de force of music and history that makes you cringe and maybe even cry. Set in context, this body of work is a microcosm of the horror, and yet beautiful too. We stand in awe of what it took to bring art out of this turmoil that was the USSR when just surviving was a risk. Listening to this series is will bring it to life, amazing!
Who was Gorky? What made Tolstoy tick? Why was Pushkin a great poet?
If you have any interest at all in great literature, get this course! Prof. Weil not only delivers a compelling study of these and many other authors, but does so in English and Russian (which he speaks so beautifully you might feel compelled to try it yourself). The history and literature of this tragic country has never been told with such understanding and respect ( governments not withstanding). I can not recommend enough! Get this book! But be ready, now its time to listen to War and Peace, Dr Zhivago, The Brother Karamazov, and The Gulag Archipelago, and about fifteen others! Can't wait!
The recent addition of the "Great Courses" is, for me like an invitation to a great feast! Starting with this unbelievable "dish". Robert Greenberg is a great teacher. I have no musical training or ability, just appreciation, but I can now hold my own in a discussion of music and composers. Prof. Greenberg is able to put music in a historical context as well as the personalities of the composers. His excitement for telling the "story" draws you in and keeps you wanting more. You may find yourself wanting to learn more about the history of a country, the food, the literature, etc, just because you had a taste of the music. There is truly nothing better than a great "story" well told! I am so pleased the Teaching Company has found and featured world class instructors so you and I can enjoy the learning! And I am overjoyed they are now available at Audible! I just can not say enough about this awesome course, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
This is a story that tells of the horrors of the Stalinist (and previous and later) regimes. Any thinking person just can not make sense of it all. But it is history in all it's unbelievable twists and turns and how it shaped these peoples lives. What a story! These are real people who suffered with their families things that are just too awful to imagine.
The narrator has a very good voice but strange inflection that took a little getting used to.
First let me say that this is a great listen! If you are interested in a story of ww2 France that shows the heroism of ordinary people, you will not go wrong! I went to amazon and looked up this book, and was delighted to see six pictures of the main characters and the places they lived, that was wonderful! This is not sophisticated writing and probably could have used a little more editing, but it is a solid heartfelt story of the author's wife's family's experiences. This book is also priced so reasonably for it's length, it is a great value, so I was quite impressed by the quality of the research. I would have loved a little more of what happened to everyone at the end, but that is because I really didn't want it to end, and didn't want to leave these people just yet. But I would have thought that, even if there had been more. Get this book! You will enjoy it!
What do you say when you listen to the perfect book, read by the perfect narrator?
And I am embarrassed to say, from an author I have been completely unaware of until just a few weeks ago? Words fail, and I have already given 5 stars to the predecessors so now what? Bravo Audible!
Ww2, spies, and David Audley as a young man. The scene of the office's mess is just about the best English military scene I have ever watched (and I mean I was there!).
The mystery (plot) Is subtle and believable, the characters full and their images clear. I said something in one of the other reviews of this series about this author being a LeCarre light and now am faced with a retraction that I am wrong, this Series has Smiley on the run. (Not that I could do without). Anyway, the only sadness is that these books are not long enough and there are only 18 of them, so savor them and delight in great audible story telling. This book may be in my top 5 ever. Okay, I will stop now, but you get the idea...
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