This is a precise, detailed, nuanced look at the carving up of Eastern Europe following World War 2. The intimate details of the domination of nations on a community (and often familial) level allowed me to gain a far better understanding of precisely how the Soviet Union achieved the isolation.
Anne Applebaum's Gulag makes an outstanding companion volume, providing the history of the slave prison empire that ran through the Soviet Union.
Someone more familiar with the history, or perhaps more accustomed to narrating non-fiction books.
The narrator (Cassandra Campbell) was dreadfully miscast. I kept thinking "she sounds like she thinks she's reading a novel by Gillian Flynn" -- and then I saw that in fact she's done exactly that. From putting the emphasis on the wrong syllables in words to mispronouncing proper nouns, and generally sounding like she had absolutely no idea of the meaning of what she's saying, Ms. Campbell robbed this book of gravity in her reading. She is not a bad reader for a novel but she was absolutely terrible for this particular work.
I absolutely loved reading _The Magicians_, and was delighted to try the audiobook version. Oh dear. I am sorry to say that the narrator, while not actually ruining the wonderful story, greatly detracts from any enjoyment of it. I don't know what was the worst aspect of this performance, but I suspect it may have been the "foreign" accents he affects for any non-native English speakers; with the exception of one female francophone, all others sound like a combination of Apu from "The Simpsons" and Boris from the Rocky Cartoons. Then there is the insufferable "dude, where's my car" sort of drawl utilizesd for Josh. But really, I cannot count the ways this narrator seems to have been hell-bent on making a marvelous, inventive, magical (if flawed) novel as unenjoyable as possible. If only someone else had narrated....
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