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Anonymous

Listener Since 2006

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 353 ratings
  • 546 titles in library
  • 18 purchased in 2014
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  • A Case of Exploding Mangoes

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Mohammed Hanif
    • Narrated By Paul Bhattacharjee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (98)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (41)

    Mohammed Hanif 's writing is witty and wry - juicily provocative and laced with a plucky, disarmingly charming humorous comportment. A Case of Exploding Mangoes will have readers wondering what really caused a C130 aircraft carrying the Pakistani leader General Zia ul Huq to crash on August 17, 1988.

    Cariola says: "An Unexpected Delight"
    "witty, intelligent"
    Overall

    "A Case of Exploding Mangoes" is not a literary masterpiece but it would make for a good movie. I especially enjoyed the poignantly satirical "dictatorial" subplot culminated by General Zia's bike trip. The book is well read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Light in August

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By William Faulkner
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    Overall
    (51)
    Performance
    (24)
    Story
    (24)

    An Oprah's Book Club Selection regarded as one of Faulkner's greatest and most accessible novels, Light in August is a timeless and riveting story of determination, tragedy, and hope. In Faulkner's iconic Yoknapatawpha County, race, sex, and religion collide around three memorable characters searching desperately for human connection and their own identities.

    Robert Stevens says: "Superb reading of an excellent work"
    "Not a sentence which could be improved"
    Overall

    I have kept a running stockpile of unlistened-to books in my library lately. "Light in August" somehow kept dropping to the bottom of the pile while new purchases were flowing in. As often happens the book I had been trying so carefully to avoid turned out to be the best of the lot. And not by a narrow margin either.

    The novel is set in the American South in the 19th century or possibly early 20th. The central strand of the plot is the story of Joe Christmas who has some "n-word blood" in him that dooms him from the start in the society he is born into. And one day there is a big fire and his life is about to take yet another turn...

    For me, it was even more about how it was written. I was especially impressed by the language. So vidid, so natural, so simple yet so beautiful. Much of the credit should go to the narrator for the interpretation. This was much more than simply reading. The accents were so melodious like these people were almost singing.

    I would not say that this book was especially challenging. You do have to keep a minimum level of concentration though. It is not one of those books you can tune out of and then jump right back in at any time. The characters that were introduced by name at the beginning of a chapter may be referred to only as "he" or "she" for the rest of the chapter.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Buddha of Suburbia

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Hanif Kureishi
    • Narrated By Christopher Simpson
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (11)

    The hero of Hanif Kureishi's debut novel is a dreamy teenager, desperate to escape suburban South London and experience the forbidden fruits which the 1970s seem to offer. When the unlikely opportunity of a life in the theatre announces itself, Karim starts to win the sort of attention he has been craving, albeit with some rude and raucous results.

    Alexander says: "A bit disappointing"
    "Noteworthy"
    Overall

    This book is somewhat reminiscent of "White Teeth" by Zadie Smith. Both deal with meeting of immigrant (Indian in Kureishi's novel, Bangladeshi and Jamaican in "White Teeth") and European cultures. This is shown happening across several generations. Immigrants have children and the traditional generation gap that arises is still widened by civilization differences. The children often face identity problem.

    The reader is competent. Not too fast not too slow, and doing a good job with accents. The only downside to this production is the quality of sound. Various parts of this audio give the impression of being recorded in different environments of which I was able to distinguish a dungeon and a bathroom.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dracula

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Bram Stoker
    • Narrated By Jerry Sciarrio, Kris Faulkner, Kevin Foley, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (33)
    Story
    (35)

    Dracula begins with the journal of Jonathan Harker, a young solicitor on the way to Transylvania to give information to the mysterious Count Dracula about his new estate in London. Dracula takes the young man prisoner, and Jonathan sees many strange and evil things in the castle before escaping and fleeing into the night. He later decides that he must have been mad.

    Lee says: "A SUPERB PRODUCTION!"
    "You will be scared to death"
    Overall

    I am also glad to get hold of the original 1897 version of this classic horror. This audio is performed by a full cast which, as one reviewer pointed out, fits the story perfectly. Even more so because the novel is composed entirely of journal entries of its characters (one phonograph journal interestingly), letters, notes, newspaper clippings, logbooks, memoranda, cables and other various records. Having seen the 1992 movie before listening to this I have to say that count Dracula appears in the book rather less often than I expected. His slayer, Abraham van Helsing, gets most of the attention instead. Van Helsing is a Dutch professor whose mode of expression is quite peculiar. I would go as far as to say that it is too peculiar for a main protagonist of an 18-hour audiobook. Not being a native English speaker he is constantly trying to be too eloquent given the modest means at his disposal. I know that this was probably the idea, but my impression is that it has been somewhat overdone. The book is also accompanied by sound effects. They are a bit on the cheap side, but it was good to hear "children of the night" speak from time to time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Jonathan Coe
    • Narrated By Colin Buchanan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Maxwell Sim seems to have hit rock bottom. Estranged from his father, newly divorced, unable to communicate with his only daughter, he realises that while he may have 74 friends on Facebook, there is nobody in the world with whom he can actually share his problems. Then a business proposition comes his way - a strange exercise in corporate PR that will require him to spend a week driving from London to a remote retail outlet on the Shetland Isles.

    David says: "Coe returns to his comic vein, but keeps the depth"
    "A typical Jonathan Coe novel"
    Overall

    Listening to his book is like solving a jigsaw puzzle. I like the way old memoirs found in the attic, seemingly unrelated events and people gradually fall into place to form a whole picture at the conclusion. Unexpected ending is a must-be in Coe's novels so I anticipated one here as well. But I believe that even if I had spent ages trying to figure that one out I wouldn't have come up with the missing piece.

    Maxwell Sim is who Adrian Mole could be at 48. Naive almost to the point of childishness, low on self-esteem and "on the rebound" (for years now). Both have a comic trait to them but tragicomic is an adjective that would characterize Sim better (although there is a sort of a happy ending). His life is so mundane and his attempts to change it so pathetic that maybe one could not even call him that. Yet at the same time you cannot help liking him (clever how Coe constructs his characters) because being the narrator he keeps trying to convice you he is you pal. Most of the thoughts he offers reflect those of an average man living at the end of the 1st decade of the 21th century (eg. "these bankers and their bonuses, it's outrageous", "I have a million friends on Facebook and hardly anybody I could talk to, whatever happened to eye-to-eye contact these days?" etc) and are never controversial.

    There was one thread I found a little bothersome. While on a journey to Shetlands Sim starts to have conversations with his sat nav. It was funny for the first hour but as the journey continued and he kept that up it began to get a bit annoying. Especially that with a couple of exceptions "continue on the current motorway" was the only response he could extract from the machine. There was a point at which I was on the brink of deciding to rate the book 2/6 because of this, but then, fortunately, his car battery went flat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Little Stranger

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Sarah Waters
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (41)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    In a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life?

    S. Brown says: "Well worth it"
    "Not unless you are a haunted-house-story-maniac"
    Overall

    The author does well to capture the image of a post-war English countryside. Simon Vance's narration is more than decent. I found the plot a bit dull and predictible however. The one thing that surprised me was... the anticlimactic ending. Not being an enthusiast of the genre I can think of only one more reason to recommend this book; it is an easy listen, ideal for when driving a car.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Time's Arrow

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Martin Amis
    • Narrated By Steven Pacey
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (6)
    Story
    (6)

    Time's Arrow tells the story, backwards, of the life of Nazi war criminal, Doctor Tod T. Friendly. He dies and then feels better, breaks up with his lovers as a prelude to seducing them and mangles his patients before he sends them home.

    A User says: "Original and thought-provoking"
    "Original and thought-provoking"
    Overall

    The way this story is told makes it even more disturbing.

    Martin Amis' masterly prose is matched by Steven Pacey's narration which at times can send shivers down your spine.

    One of the best audiobooks I have listened to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Brief History of Time

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Stephen Hawking
    • Narrated By Michael Jackson
    Overall
    (1411)
    Performance
    (625)
    Story
    (624)

    This landmark book is for those of us who prefer words to equations; this is the story of the ultimate quest for knowledge, the ongoing search for the secrets at the heart of time and space. Its author, Stephen W. Hawking, is arguably the greatest mind since Einstein. From the vantage point of the wheelchair, where he has spent the last 20 years trapped by Lou Gehrig's disease, Professor Hawking has transformed our view of the universe. A Brief History of Time is Hawking's classic introduction to today's most important scientific ideas.

    Jeff Parent says: "Great book, but...."
    "You may find it interesting"
    Overall

    An average reader may not grasp a concept of a 26-dimensional space but there are more than a couple of things he can be amazed to learn from this book. Hawking delves pretty deep into relativity theory, quantum mechanics and some other current theories (as of 1988). Among topics covered are speculation (though not without solid scientific basis) on the origins of the universe, black holes and singularities.

    Michael Jackson's narration is somewhat lax and a bit unprepared to say the least. But somehow it does not spoil the book. On the one hand Mr Jackson stumbles over words, mispronouces them (neutron/neuron, protons/Plutos?), pauses mid-sentence, hesitates, at times seems to be brooding over a previous paragraph and on the other hand he has a good voice and reads with genuine emotion. It is not often you hear a narrator actually laugh while they are reading something that was meant to amuse the listener.

    If it does not put you off - give it a try, by all means.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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