Mr. Woods was a wonderful actor, but his narration of Portrait of a Lady is, at best, distracting. This is one of my favorite books, so maybe, like reviewer Elinor below, I'm more picky than usual, but the frequent interruptions for episodes of panting, audible swallows, painful American accents and his unfriendly portrayals of the women made this hard going. Like other reviewers, I was particularly put off by the shrill women's voices. This isn't the first time I've been disappointed with a narration by a well-known actor. I think narration requires different skills than those of a movie or television actor.
If you can listen beyond Mr. Woods' theatrics, though, the book is wonderful. Granted, a great deal has changed for women since the book was written, and it makes it difficult for us to understand some of young
Isabelle's actions and choices. She can easily seem frivolous and overly self-involved. Maybe her experiences and challenges as a very young woman are too different from those experienced by young women today; maybe this part of the book does not withstand the test of time. But the adult Isabelle is another person altogether--along with her adult husband and friends. We've known these people, and unfortunately, we've known these situations. Henry James wrote of Isabelle with great love and sympathy. I think this book remains a classic because most readers will find the same love and sympathy.
You'll feel a part of the family. I was repeatedly surprised by the unexpected flashes if love and compassion.
This one will keep you guessing. I swung back and forth between irritation and sympathy with each narrator. A very entertaining listen!
I love Amy Poehler as an entertainer, but who convinced her that she should write a biography of her relatively short life? And why didn't her editors protect her from herself? I'll be asking for a refund on this one.
The story behind the creation of Wonder Woman is interesting, but I suspect this book is better in print than in audible format. This is, after all, about a comic book--a visual art--and hopefully the book included many of the actual strips. When listening to this book I wished I could see the comic book section the author was referring to.
As to the narration, there have been times when I was thrilled that the author read his/her own book (think Eudora Welty), but Jill Lepore doesn't do her book any favors. She is a narrator who too often indulges in goofy voices for emphasis. I heard her interviewed on Fresh Air about Wonder Woman's release, and although the interview led to me purchasing Wonder Woman on Audible, as the interview progressed the author's excitement over her discoveries became more and more unhinged. So it was, when the Audible book began, I fervently hoped I'd misunderstood when the intro seemed to indicate that Jill Lepore would be reading the book. Sigh. I wish I had skipped the Audible and checked the actual book out of the library. That's my recommendation--do what I didn't.
Maureen Corrigan recommended The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles as a light, fun escape. I usually like her recommendations, but this is an exception. I thought the plot was predictable and labored, and the characters were tedious. I found it neither fun nor entertaining, and finished it only because it was the only book on tape I had on my iPhone on the long drive home.
I'm usually a Francophile and expected to enjoy this book if only because it was written by a French author. But sadly, no. Josephine, you're no Amelie.
I wanted to love this book because I have so enjoyed (most of) Anna Quindlen's other books. But this one--not so much. The story is all too predictable.
If the author had been anyone other than Amy Tan I wouldn't haven't listened as long as I did. The characters are undeveloped and uninteresting, and the plot--such as it is--simply struggles along. I kept wondering if it was the writing or the narration that was the problem, and then came to the sad conclusion that it was both. Amy Tan--did you listen to the narrators? And if so, didn't you have the ability to ask for replacements?
This is a second-rate bodice buster that goes on far too long. My recommendation: Skip it. Try ANY of Tan's other books. She's a talented and moving writer--something just went terribly wrong with this book.
I'm a big Scott Turow fan, so I was excited to see he had a new novel. Very disappointing. The brilliant twists and turns of Presumed Innocent just weren't here. I guessed the mysteries too far in advance to feel any sense of satisfaction. My recommendation is that you check out any other of Turow's very entertaining books.
Like most people I don't like abridged versions of books and avoid them. So I WISH that Eudora Welty had recorded the unabridged version of this book, but to the best of my knowledge she didn't.
That being said, the beauty of the writing and the wonderful narration by the author outweigh any frustration resulting from abridgment. I have owned this recording for 10 - 15 years (first in audio cassettes), and returning to it is always a pleasure. I hear something new each time I listen.
I highly recommend this recording.
I'm a long-time fan of Ruth Rendell, but not a fan of this book. Very dull, very predictable. Some subplots were left dangling. Ho hum. Glad it's over.
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