I have previously read (& love!) "American Tabloid" and "The Cold Six Thousand." I knew I wanted to see what the audiobook had to offer & am glad I did! The reader really does a good job of characterizing the numerous figures in the book consistently & convincingly. He does J.Edgar Hoover & Dwight Holly particularly well. The book is a little overwhelming at first, with the angry writing style and mutitudes of characters, but eventually you get the hang of this "world" & everything fits together after the first hour or so. Too bad the first book in the series ("Tabloid") wasn't made into an audiobook!
The narrator does good job with this epic, though a bit cliche. How else do you characterize the voices of sea dogs other than what you already expect? Otherwise, a gripping and poetic story, full of subdued (and therefore more humorous) jabs at Christian society and the customs of the age. It is sometimes difficult to follow the tangents into deep descriptions of the whale (especially considering how far marine biology has come), but the payoff is in the plethora of one-liners that zing into timelessness. Not having read the book previously, I was amazed at how many references are made to this book in pop culture. Some are obvious, others not so much. Either way, this book has enough to keep you interested to the finish and the narrator keeps the characterizations enlivened so that the result is an entertaining and fecund experience.
The narration in this book is excellent--he captures the voices well and consistently. The ideas and basic struggle of the book are a top priority, especially in these "A-for-effort" times, but too bad it wasn't written by a better writer. The plot is predictable and yet Ms. Rand is able to keep dangling the inevitable just far enough away from you that you keep with the story. How a commune of "dropped out" lassez-faire capitalists works is beyond me, but then again, the author also wrote a book about the virtue of selfishness, which wasn't good enough to keep to herself. In any case, if you can get past the words "contempt" and "astonishment" in nearly every paragraph and longwinded diatribes about the same topics every five minutes, then you'll be able to see why it is a classic. Too bad someone like Norman Mailer or Dashiell Hammet didn't write it--it'd be a third of its size and an actual masterpiece!
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