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Emrys

Alfred, NY, United States | Member Since 2010

90
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 33 reviews
  • 70 ratings
  • 261 titles in library
  • 8 purchased in 2014
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  • Les Misérables: Translated by Julie Rose

    • UNABRIDGED (60 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Victor Hugo, Julie Rose (translator)
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (818)
    Performance
    (698)
    Story
    (702)

    One of the great classics of world literature and the inspiration for the most beloved stage musical of all time, Les Misérables is legendary author Victor Hugo’s masterpiece. This extraordinary English version by renowned translator Julie Rose captures all the majesty and brilliance of Hugo’s work. Here is the timeless story of the quintessential hunted man—Jean Valjean—and the injustices, violence, and social inequalities that torment him.

    Darwin8u says: "!"
    "great in parts, tedious in parts"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The good:
    Hugo's sympathy with the oppressed; the grand scope of the novel; Hugo's gift for fine metaphors and aphorisms; some of the dramatic scenes; the sensitive narration.
    The bad:
    Absurdly long, detailed tedious digressive essays on things like the battle of Waterloo, the history of convents, the history and geography of the Parisian sewers; hard-to-believe characters who act in unbelievable ways; corny melodrama and sentimentality; excessively long and repetitious accounts of almost everything due, it seems, to Hugo's sheer delight in showing off his poetic inventiveness.
    I have great tolerance for long 19th century novels. But so often I found myself thinking: come on Victor, you've said everything you've got to say abou this event, character, situation, action, motivation, relationship, dilemma. All you're doing now is just repeating yourself using alternative metaphors. Let's get moving! I also found the plot pretty silly in places; a lot depends on coincidence and people acting in unbelievable ways.
    Hugo's philosophical reflections, which abound throughout, are sometimes interesting; but he's too much in love with paradox and coupling unexpected antitheses--a tendency which has bedeviled French writing ever since.
    The narration is good. I liked the translation: it employs up-to-date language which makes the novel less stodgy than it might otherwsie be.

    17 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Adam Bede

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By George Eliot
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (6)

    George Eliot’s first full length novel is the moving, realistic portrait of three people troubled by unwise love. Adam Bede is a hardy young carpenter who cares for his aging mother. His one weakness is the woman he loves blindly: the trifling town beauty, Hetty Sorrel, who delights only in her baubles—and the delusion that the careless Captain Donnithorne may ask for her hand.

    C. Telfair says: "First George Eliot Novel and First-Rate!"
    "A wonderful novel brilliantly narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's amazing that this is Eliot's first novel. The story telling, the dialogue, and the reflections are all so assured. The narration is truly wonderful. I'm originally from the part of England where Eliot grew up and where I imagine it to be set, and she gets the accents dead on.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Cider House Rules

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By John Irving
    • Narrated By Grover Gardner
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (721)
    Performance
    (402)
    Story
    (399)

    From one of America's most beloved and respected writers comes the classic story of Homer Wells, an orphan, and Wilbur Larch, a doctor without children of his own, who develop an extraordinary bond with one another.

    Patti says: "Wonderful"
    "A well-written entertaining novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I wouldn't call this Great Literature: I doubt if I'd consider reading it again, for instance. But it is still first rate literary entertainment. I especially like Irving's wry humour. The narration is very good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Handmaid's Tale

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs)
    • By Margaret Atwood
    • Narrated By Claire Danes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2917)
    Performance
    (2623)
    Story
    (2637)

    Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name....

    Melinda says: "Not So Far-Fetched -- Still Chilling"
    "Interesting novel competently narrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A well-written and interesting dystopian novel. Given how famous it is, I was a bit disappointed. But I tend to be a little impatient with the method of narration that keeps many things mysterious and leaks out what's going on bit by bit. Still, it's an impressive feat of imagination. The narration was decent, but somewhat lacking in variety of voice or tone.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Martin Chuzzlewit

    • UNABRIDGED (33 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    Overall
    (67)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (54)

    The Chuzzlewits are a family divided by money and selfishness; even young Martin, the eponymous hero, is arrogant and self-centred. He offends his grandfather by falling in love with the latter’s ward, Mary, and sets out to make his own fortune in life, travelling as far as America - which produces from Dickens a savage satire on a new world tainted with the vices of the old. Martin’s nature slowly changes through his bitter experience of life and his enduring love for Mary.

    Carol says: "not my favorite Dickens.... but"
    "Classic Dickens, superb narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love Dickens and have read all his main works. I'd rank Chuzzlewit about in the middle. Some memorable characters and great dialogue--I especially like Mrs. Gamp. But also the usual flaws-- e.g. authorial coyness that gets tiresome; sentimentality; uninteresting good guys. Sean Barrrett's narration is absolutely excellent: the voices he gives the characters sound perfect.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin

    • UNABRIDGED (20 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Harriet Beecher Stowe
    • Narrated By Richard Allen
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (172)
    Performance
    (81)
    Story
    (77)

    Uncle Tom's Cabin opens with a Kentucky farmer named Arthur Shelby facing the loss of his farm because of debts. Even though he and his wife, Emily Shelby, believe that they have a benevolent relationship with their slaves, Shelby decides to raise the needed funds by selling two of them - Uncle Tom, a middle-aged man with a wife and children, and Harry, the son of Emily Shelby's maid Eliza - to a slave trader.

    Steven says: "More on Richard Allen"
    "Good novel; excellent narration; a bit preachy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Uncle Tom's Cabin was a better novel than I expected; some of the characters--like Augustine and Opehlia, are quite interesting, and the prose is decent. Eventually, though, the unabashed moral intent of the book starts to make it repetitious and predictable. In general, the first half is better than the second half. Surprisingly, there are no especially graphic depictions of physical brutality; but there are painful scenes of separation and helplessness. The narration is excellent, especially regarding the different voices.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: 50th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Ken Kesey, Robert Faggen (introduction)
    • Narrated By John C. Reilly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (336)
    Performance
    (310)
    Story
    (305)

    Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Turning conventional notions of sanity and insanity on their heads, the novel tells the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her.

    Scott says: "Fantastic"
    "Great book; excellent narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A wonderful novel, with memorable characters and an engaging story. The character of MacMurphy is the central axis of the novel, and he is a wonderful creation. The narrator does a fine job of voicing the different characters, including the one telling the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ender's Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Orson Scott Card
    • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, Gabrielle de Cuir
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (19965)
    Performance
    (11562)
    Story
    (11679)

    Why we think it’s a great listen: It’s easy to say that when it comes to sci-fi you either love it or you hate it. But with Ender’s Game, it seems to be you either love it or you love it.... The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Enter Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, the result of decades of genetic experimentation.

    Kapila says: "6 titles in the series so far"
    "A decent sci-fi story--but a bit overrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed the story well enough, but If found the endless detailed descriptions of the tactics employed in the game room a bit tedious. The subplot involving Ender's brother and sister is also pretty weak. Overall, it was OK, but I don't really understand the fusss that's been made over the book.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • East of Eden

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By John Steinbeck
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (981)
    Performance
    (836)
    Story
    (847)

    This sprawling and often brutal novel, set in the rich farmlands of California's Salinas Valley, follows the intertwined destinies of two families - the Trasks and the Hamiltons - whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

    karen says: "American classic, not to be missed."
    "Great classic realist novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This has everything you want from a classic realist novel: superb descriptive writing, omplex characters, engrossing storyline, and some philosophical depth. The narration is very good.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Don Quixote: Translated by Edith Grossman

    • UNABRIDGED (39 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Miguel de Cervantes, Edith Grossman (translator)
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (113)
    Performance
    (106)
    Story
    (108)

    Sixteenth-century Spanish gentleman Don Quixote, fed by his own delusional fantasies, takes to the road in search of chivalrous adventures. But his quest leads to more trouble than triumph. At once humorous, romantic, and sad, Don Quixote is a literary landmark. This fresh edition, by award-winning translator Edith Grossman, brings the tale to life as never before.

    James says: "My Fourth Try at an Audible Quixote"
    "Great overall, but with some tedious bits"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Very worthwhile. The book is all these things: funny, satirical, poignant, tragic, philosophical, profound, repetitious, and sometimes a bit tedious. The narrator is good, especially the way he does Sancho Panza, although there's not too much variation in the other voices. The obsession with women keeping their virginity, and the way moors (who are muslim) are sometimes discussed, can be tedious. But the whole book is rich in observations and reflections.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Age of Innocence

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Edith Wharton
    • Narrated By David Horovitch
    Overall
    (180)
    Performance
    (140)
    Story
    (138)

    Countess Olenska, separated from her European husband, returns to old New York society. She bears with her an independence and anawareness of life which stirs the educated sensitivity of Newland Archer, engaged to be married to May Welland.

    Ilana says: "Narrated to Perfection"
    "V good literary-satirical portrait of high society"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Classic Wharton: portrays the high society of 19th c. New York--basically a bunch of idle privileged snobs some of whom are at least intelligent enough to realize that their lives are empty. Lots of subtle description and reflection. The satire is more subdued than in The House of Mirth. Excellent narration.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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