Nanaimo, BC, Canada | Member Since 2006
Set against an African background but with the action in the UK, this is a rather unusual story about a secret summit of African leaders which is bugged by MI5 and an Afro-British interpreter who is in deeper than he appears to the delegates. The cultured voice of the reader still carries his racial background in its tenor, and he is able to give dicrete voices to each speaker so the listener is never in doubt as to who is speaking. Le Carre as always gives a twisting tale, and with the end of the cold war he has found other forums for his stories. This one is excellent and believable (alas!) but it is the superb reading which makes this audiobook so engrossing and plausible.
John Grisham had lost me for a while with his deviation into sport, which I have no interest in. Here he returns with a very unusual story concerning a will. Not until the very end could one guess the history behind the strange provisions in the will. It is an investigation which keeps the listener puzzled and intrigued throughout. The reader imbues each character with a separate voice, many accents, the timbres of men and women, different racial and educational backgrounds. In one voice we have an entire cast of characters and I offer praise to both writer and reader and thanks for hours of engrossing listening. John, drop the ball and get back in the courtroom where you belong. This book shows where you excell like no other.
The story of Coco Chanel's flirtation with the Nazis should surely make a great read, but this is not it. The narrative jumps from one time to another in a confusing way. A better editor was needed. One egregious error was referring to the duke of Windsor as Prince Edward VIII - was that the error of writer or reader? A number of mispronunciations hit my ear; the word "ingenuous" was read as "ingenious" (I am assuming that WAS the word as the other made no sense). The reader has a pleasant voice but falls often when mentioning the names of German and French places and people. I did not find her professional enough in this respect.
This is a remarkable book which describes how some insightful, influential and forward thinking Americans came to the aid of Britain during WWII. It also exposes those whose aim was to bring Britain to her knees by taking advantage of the precarious situation Britain was in to bankrupt her and set the stage for a post-war takeover of her trade. "Lend-lease" which meant that the US sold the UK old and decrepit ships for wickedly inflated prices and kept Britain poor following the war when the US helped Germany and Japan rebuild and left Britain starving was only finally repaid a few years ago; this was a deliberate policy of Americans who hated Britain and envied her pre-war status. The skulduggery and malicious intentions of the US are laid bare in this book, and serve to heighten and illuminate the goodwill and precious help that these three men gave to Britain. Had Britain capitulated to Germany as the French had done, with no place in Europe to base an opposition to the Nazis, America would have been in no position to fight them and would (with the delighted collaboration of people like Joe Kennedy, Charles Lindberg and other American heroes) have been forced to get into bed with Hitler. This book should be read by all Americans, especially Hollywood which likes to portray the Americans riding in heroically to save the day, and steals the stories of other nations' heroes with their historically incorrect portrayal of the Great Escape, the Enigma rescue etc., which were due to the British, Poles, etc.. Considering what an important figure in all this the American ambassador was (no! not THAT self-serving despicable person!) - the name of John Gilbert Winant ought to be better known. This good man was an essential element in winning the war and should be more famous. If Britain owes a debt of gratitude to anyone, it is to this man. A statue in London to John Gilbert Winant, anyone?
I decided to buy this audiobok after hearing the sample. A cultured voice. However I was disconcerted during the reading to hear many mispronounciations of commonly known words. When it came to French words I became very irritated indeed. If the reader does not speak French, she should be aware enough of her ignorance to seek advice on speaking the French words correctly. Surely this is the minimum one can expect from the reader? This lady is either Irish or American, and her good English accent is very acceptable and her voice pleasant. Also her ability to differentiate between the various voices of the protagonists is excellent, but more care should be taken.
I do wish more breaks would be inserted. When the listener is interrupted a vital part of narrative can be missed. Having to go back and listen again to half an hour already heard, just to hear the few lost sentences, is very annoying.
The book is interesting, with several strains to the story and an unusual period in which to set a mystery. It gives an interesting view of a decade little known by today's readers. I enjoyed it very much.
The voice used to read the words of Joseph Conrad is totally inappropriate. It is an American voice, but this could have been acceptable if some effort had een made to select a good voice. This one is thin, nasal and very irritating. I can barely manage to continue listening.
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