I have always loved Norman Mailer from his first novel, The Naked and the Dead, up to and including his recent effort, The Castle in the Forest.
This forensic psychological portrait of Hitler is both deeply disturbing and highly compelling, and I find myself looking forward to a quiet moment of the day when I can sit back enjoy some time with Mailer's extraodinary prose.
I'm a big fan of the printed word and I never thought I would choose an audio book of Mailer's work to listen to. Some of his phrases are so delicious, I like to re-read and savor them again and again. Perhaps I will buy a copy of the book to keep, too, but the narrator's voice on this is so wonderful I almost forget where I am. It is deep and resonant with diabolical mockery: Just listen to his charcterization of Himmler if you want a few goosebumps with your prose.
All and all a wonderful audiobook on all accounts. Mailer is at the peak of his powers as a novelist and the choice of narrator is perfect. You absolutely must get this!
Two things to say about Stephen King. One good and one bad.
First the good. He is simply the most skillful novelist in the English language. His descriptions put you right there in the story and his plot devices, though discernable in context, are always unique in their approach.
Now the bad. His books are simply TOO LONG. He is self indulgent and falls victim to the writing version of "Likes to hear Himself Talk." If there is an abridged version of Duma Key, I would recommend getting that and cutting through the hours and hours of slow (albeit somewhat entertaining) plot development.
I don't know what other people will say about the narrator for this story, but I loved his matter of fact reading, which aside from being pleasant on the ears, added to the weirdness of the events like a straight man for a demon.
Final evaluation. Yeah. Go and get this. It's good if you don't mind the length of the book. It won't scare the bejesus out of you, but you'll finish with a lingering sense of loss and renewal. In an ever increasing world of books that usually leaves you shaking your head at a waste of money, I would say leaving with a sense of ANYTHING after you read a book nowadays is a good sign. Thumbs up, Mr. King.
I forced myself to listen to this. The prose is overwritten to the point of being just plain hoaky. "She was the light of my life!" and "She was a woman now and that's why she was no longer a child." (or something equally ridiculous). Or how about a veteran police officer who weeps because a girl has been murdered? Sorry. I know veteran cops. They don't weep. Maybe they shake their heads or click their tongues, but weeping? I don't think so. Perhaps that one was ready for retirement.
The whole book is like that. I choked back a few laughs at everyone's self righteous indignation. The narrator didn't help, either. He seemed to play into every melodramatic turn of phrase like an afternoon soap actress. And his woman's voice needs work. I had a few silent guffaws over that one, too.
Don't waste your money.
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