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Wehrly

Redmond, WA, United States | Member Since 2011

10
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 3 reviews
  • 20 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 5 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
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  • Open City: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Teju Cole
    • Narrated By Kevin Mambo
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (59)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (47)

    Acclaimed author Teju Cole’s writing has appeared in numerous journals in Nigeria and the United States. His second novel, Open City is the story of a Nigerian-German psychiatrist making a living in New York City five years after the Twin Towers were destroyed. The tale emerges as a rich and unforgettable meditation of life and culture.

    Eric says: "A Rich Tapestry"
    "Passable"
    Overall

    This looked very much like the kind of book I like, but I was not thrilled by it. I was first worried when I found the first section stiff and boring...but I don't love discussions of classical music, so I thought maybe that's why I was not listening intently. The middle part got more interesting, but any insights into the narrator and his dilemmas were either incomplete hints, or too subtle for me to follow. There is a lot of potentially interesting stuff to come from exploring the relationships between the Nigerian/German narrator and various other expatriates, and African Americans in NYC, but this stuff was more academic than integrated into a story. Overall this novel felt like a lot of connective tissue had been removed for the sake of a leaner book, and that it might have been better if it hadn't been so whittled down. I was also misled by the idea that NYC was a major part of the story, which it is not--at least not the way it is in Colum McCann's novel Let the Great World Spin. (It may be that reading the latter while listening to this really put Cole at a disadvantage.)

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Persimmon Tree

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1598)
    Performance
    (1160)
    Story
    (1148)

    The Persimmon Tree opens in Indonesia in 1942 on the cusp of Japanese invasion and the evacuation of Batavia (Jakarta) by the Dutch. Seventeen-year-old Nicholas Duncan is on holiday there, in pursuit of an exotic butterfly known as the Magpie Crow. It's an uncertain, dangerous time to be in Indonesia, and Nick's options of getting out are fast dwindling. Amidst the fear and chaos he falls in love with Anna, the beautiful daughter of a Dutch acquaintance, and she nicknames him 'Mr Butterfly'.

    Corinne says: "An excellent sequel"
    "Boringly smutty"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read a lot of reviews before I take on a book by an unfamiliar author who is supposedly very popular somewhere else (like Australia) -- so I am surprised that none of the many reviews I read mentioned how larded this book is with juvenile, uninteresting sex (for the male lead), or perverted sexually-oriented abuse (for/by the female lead). Boring smut, descriptions of penises, and sexual stereotyping (Asians, Catholics, etc) completely undermine a potentially interesting WWII novel that starts out intriguingly. Although to be honest, a lot of the novel's plot that is not sexual consists of unbelievable lucky breaks, discoveries of cash, and field promotions. Can't believe I have actually made it to within three hours of the end (only because it is gardening season and I have hours of listening time).

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • State of Wonder: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Ann Patchett
    • Narrated By Hope Davis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4145)
    Performance
    (2978)
    Story
    (2974)

    Research scientist Dr. Marina Singh is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have disappeared in the Amazon while working on an extremely valuable new drug. The last person who was sent to find her died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding answers to the questions about her friend's death, her company's future, and her own past.

    F. B. Herron says: "Do yourself a favor and listen to this book!"
    "Unbelievable and boring"
    Overall

    Only could finish listening because Hope Davis' distinctive narration made this seem maybe a little droll, and I had a lot of weeding to do. The whole thing could have been a farce, except that Ann Patchett is not a funny writer and never has been. Unlike her other novels, there is nothing convincing or compelling about this story or its characters. The medical details are unbelievable, and the jungle and its inhabitants seem vaguely sketched and stereotyped. There are some thoughtful critical reviews of this novel lurking out there--I recommend you find them before you use a credit on this. (Meanwhile read Cutting for Stone, a much better novel with doctors and exotic locales, which also has weaknesses, but is at least original and compelling.)

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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