I found this audiobook absolutely riveting -- almost perfectly read, with the important twist of having separate male and female voices, given that the book is mostly a series of interior monologues from the various characters. Yes, you know they are all spiraling down to disaster, but the author has caught the internal voices of the characters very well, sometimes exquisitely. The Irani ex-colonel is particularly finely wrought, but I found the others well done also. The book is a meditation on the many different ways we organize our relationships with others, and how many different ways those relationships can fall apart. Father, mother, husband, wife, child, sibling, lover, immigrant, native, boss, subordinate, trainee, soldier in a strict military hierarchy -- Dubus manages to explore and say something interesting about all of these ties, with a bit of political and economic commentary that is subordinate to the more important themes. An amazing audiobook, one of the most satisfying I have listened to. My only criticism -- the brief interludes of music between sections are jarringly inappropriate. One caveat to this review: I have not seen the movie, so I came to the book without any movie-induced preconceptions.
Not too heavy on the political analysis, Anne Garrels' book is simply a fascinating, sometimes gripping account of the life, the business, and the busy-ness, of being a war correspondent in the 00's. Beautifully read by Anne and her husband Vint Lawrence. While other reviewers have complained about Vint's "Brenda bulletins" their very mundaneness completes the picture: a journalist has a life beyond her/his work, and Vint's emails are a reminder of what Garrels leaves behind in her wanderings abroad. A terrific listen.
The reader of this book did a superb job bringing all the characters to life through Lily's 14-year-old eyes. A joy to listen to, especially for someone who was 14 in 1964, like Lily. The picture of the economic and race relations in the dirt-poor parts of the rural South at that time rang true. My only quibble is the end, when the author tied too many things up too quickly and too patly, spending too much time on the moralizing and plot fixtures, and too little time letting the characters carry the story to its end. One of the few books I would listen to again.
Like another reviewer, I found I could not put this "book" down. No it is NOT like the movie (which was spell-binding), and those who expect the movie's intense drama will be disappointed. The book delves much more deeply into Nash's place in the math/applied math firmament, and takes a more scientific approach to his mental illness and treatment. All that was fine with me -- the detail was fascinating and rewarding.
BUT some of the pronunciation gaffes by the reader were like chalk squeaking on a black board. Examples: John Von Neumann's name is not pronounced "Von Newman;" CarNEgie Tech is not pronounced the same as CARnegie Hall; Paul Erdos' name ends with an "sh" sound. Granted, I have a math degree from one of the Ivies, but that is not why I know these things -- a brief consultation with almost any math or science academic would have avoided these annoying errors and others. The publisher should be ashamed that no one involved in producing the recording caught these.
Nonetheless -- it was a terrific "listen"!
This review applies to both volumes of the unabridged version. This very dense work was well-read and fascinating. The material is heavy enough that I am not sure I would have stuck with reading the book, but listening to it was easy.
A surprisingly intriguing true-life story, for once well-read by the author. Slightly repetitive, with a bit of not-terribly-relevant filler material. But Winchester knows his subject and the era well, and anyone who dotes on the OED will find its history entertaining. A good listen for a long car trip.
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