I loved The Glass Room, and was excited about this book, but I can't bring myself to finish it. I've tried to hang on to get to what other readers say is the exciting last part of the book, but I'm not going to get there (I'm two-thirds through it). The writing is clumsy, repetitive, and too literal. What should be implied is stated obviously, then restated a few times. It seems more like a romance novel than Simon Mawer. I had some difficulty with the narration: I loved Kate Reading in Pride and Prejudice, but here she seems to fall into the style of the book and over-play, over-emphasize the text. The male characters all sound monotonous and dull, due to the lowering of her vocal tone. I would rather have a higher voice with expression!
I'm disappointed! I really expected to love this book.
I love the format, mixing the text with music. I would have been happy with twice or three times as much of each, and would have preferred more depth. I found the narration over the top; the emotion, the cultured accents, were overdone. At times it felt like a Monty Python sketch. But if you're looking for the basics of Dvorak's life and a taste of his music, it's a good choice.
I’m finding it hard to put into words how fine and beautiful this novel is. Anthony Doerr has created a stunning book, full of exquisite writing and beautifully-drawn characters. The plot is intricately woven, with several strands that are developed independently, then gradually wind around each other. The book moves forward and backwards in time, always focused on and progressing steadily toward the climax. It is one of the best novels I’ve read about World War II, and possibly the most moving.
The author writes so comprehensively, with such delicacy and finesse; he creates such vivid circumstances and settings that he doesn’t need to tell us how his characters feel. He lays the framework: we know the characters, we experience their lives with them, and therefore we know how they feel. It is deeply affecting.
This, like much of the fiction written about World War II, focuses on the suffering and misery of the Jewish people, France, Russia, etc., but here a major theme is also what the Nazis did to themselves and to the German people. They systematically made themselves and their people into monsters, and this is shown in heartbreaking detail. As difficult as that is, the author balances it with humanity, courage, and love. It's not a depressing book, not in the least, but it's not an easy feel-good read; there is a great deal of complexity here.
The narration is beautifully done by Zach Appelman, who seems to be quite new to audiobooks. His delivery has just the right amount of feeling. He doesn’t over-emote or over-dramatize the material. He mispronounces a few words, but other than that, the narration is flawless.
It’s a wonderful, engaging, utterly absorbing, highly moving listen. I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time.
I got this book out of the library and was so involved in reading it that I bought the audiobook so I could listen as well. This is a fascinating account of the Dreyfus Affair at the turn of the (previous) century in France. We see everything from the viewpoint of Georges Picquart, an army officer who discovered evidence that Dreyfus was innocent and spent years trying to convince his superiors to do something about it. The book is a great spy thriller, doubly effective because it is true. The writing is excellent, the narration as well, and it's difficult to stop listening/reading. In addition to the spy-thriller aspect, the book provides an in-depth look at the political and social condition of France following its defeat by Germany in 1870, and at its Antisemitism. It's a very absorbing book.
I was not familiar with the narrator, David Rintoul. He sounds so much like Simon Vance that I was convinced this was one of Vance's aliases, but upon googling Rintoul, it appears that he is a separate person. He does a fabulous job with the book.
I tried reading one of Garrison Keillor's early novels and it didn't hold my interest. Hearing him read this one was lovely; no surprise that I find his work stronger in audio, since he is first and foremost a storyteller. It is like listening to a very long, in-depth News From Lake Wobegon, and it held my interest all the way through. It has everything his monologues do; humor, gentle satire, familiar small-town characters and former townspeople who got out, but it's all developed to a much greater degree, and it works. I'll listen to another one sometime!
Howard Norman hits a number of tones in this book: despite the tragedy of the overall premise (the narrator's wife has been murdered, he has sold their story to a film director, and his wife continues to appear to him), the beginning is almost lighthearted, with a good deal of humor. As the book progresses, Norman retains some of the humor but the tragedy encroaches, and the end is almost heartbreaking. Woven through it all is the character of their marriage and of his wife. It's a very affecting portrait of grief.
Bronson Pinchot does a lovely job with the narration. I loved his narration of The Child Thief (never would have imagined it was the same person).
I might add that this book is priced lower than many, and is a great bargain!
Oliver Twist is the second novel by Dickens. He was a writer with a huge social conscience, and has a great deal to say with this book. It is as though Dickens has written his heart directly onto the pages. While I find some of it melodramatic and overwritten, the minutely-drawn characters, plot, writing and feeling are more than worth a few wordy passages. It's a deeply affecting story.
Simon Vance, as usual, inhabits the characters and simply becomes the book. He has a tough line to walk here; the book is an intense plea from the heart, and the narrator could easily overdo it. Vance voices not only the characters but Dickens himself, and his tone is perfect. Slight quibble: I didn't like his voicing of Rose, but that's the only negative I can come up with. It's a marvelous performance of a wonderful book.
In a story told by Jack McNulty, the brother of Eneas and Tom McNulty, this beautifully-written book fleshes out the narrator's life and that of his wife Mai, and at the same time fills in gaps in our understanding of the extended family. Barry's The Secret Scripture and The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty are companion novels to The Temporary Gentleman. All are written in staggeringly beautiful prose and are, at times, almost unbearable in their detailing of the tragedy of Ireland's political conflicts, the treatment of women, and, in this book, alcoholism. While telling us of his wife's descent into alcoholism, Jack McNulty reveals even more about himself and his culpability in her situation.
Frank Grimes does a marvelous job of the narration. These novels by Sebastian Barry (and the ones about the Dunnes: Annie Dunne, A Long, Long Way and On Canaan's Side) are to be listened to and/or read slowly, and savored. They are not all available in audiobook form; I recommend ingesting them in any form you find.
I've been waiting for this audiobook, and it happened to be released the day I had to start a 2-day solo drive. It got me from NC to Connecticut, then I had a couple of hours until Vermont to think about it. In my book, Denise Mina is right up there with Kate Atkinson in her ability to create a fascinating mystery and write vivid, believable characters. I'm not quite to putting her up there with P.D. James, but I'm considering it. I love the Alex Morrow series in particular; the Paddy Meehan books are darker and more violent. Still excellent, but not as much to my taste. She continues to develop Morrow's character . . . the books have so much more depth than your average lighter-weight mystery. The threads of the multiple plots twine around each other and lead you further until Mina unravels them and you find yourself thrilled with what you've listened to and sad that it's over.
Cathleen McCarron is a terrific choice for this narration; the characters are spot-on and she has a beautiful delivery. She has only narrated a few audiobooks and I sure hope she'll do more. A real pleasure to listen to.
This book is simply mesmerizing. I bought this based on the positive review of one of the reviewers I follow, and am so glad I did. The setting is bleak: Ukraine, Winter, 1930. Soviet repression, neighbor turning on neighbor. But Luka, whose viewpoint we inhabit, is, in his imperfect way, ultimately compassionate and humane, and he fosters this humanity in the people he loves and in those he comes across by chance and misfortune. It's a remarkable book, and Bronson Pinchot more than does it justice. The narration is some of the best in the Audible universe. Take a good, long, deep breath before you begin listening, because you may not be able to exhale until it's finished. Very, very highly recommended.
I wasn't sure I was going to like this; I tend not to go for much in the way of popular culture, and the movie tie-in made me leery. Thank heavens I got over it! This is a wonderful book with great writing and characters, alternately deeply moving and very funny. There is a lot of depth here; the humanity and compassion of the book's narrator and those who help him through life far outweigh the cruelty of his enemies and the grinding poverty he strives so hard to overcome. It's simply a terrific book. Christopher Simpson does a superb job with the narration. The characters are so vivid and real, and he never hits a wrong note. Please give us more books narrated by this guy!
I can't recommend this highly enough. Go listen to it!
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