I wanted very much to love this book. I loved Secret History. I'm almost 3/4 of the way through The Goldfinch, trying to hang in there, switching it off in irritation . . . thinking "this is getting such positive reviews; maybe it ends up somewhere better than this," switching it back on . . . and now I'm giving up. It has a great story idea. The opening, particularly once we get to the museum, is very well done. Most of the rest of the book I found incredible repetitive and overwritten. Often the writing is just not good. The author uses seven descriptive terms rather than choosing the best. The protagonist often walks around dazed, confused, blasted out of his mind, stoned out of his mind, and did I mention dazed and confused? It beggars belief that someone this drug- and alcohol-addicted could make it to the age of 27 or 30 able to function in his job and without the people around him noticing. I wanted to send him to rehab. People ask him questions and he repeatedly answers "huh?" "what?" "but –" There is some good in the book, certainly. Boris is a great character and David Pittu does such a good job with him that he keeps talking in my head. Overall I feel David Pittu tries too hard to inflect every single word, and it's exhausting. Let the words speak for themselves. I feel the book is at least half again as long as it should have been. How many detailed and exhaustive scenes of teenage boys getting blasted, stoned and drunk do we need to convey this part of the narrator's life? It just goes on and on. Like my review. So I'll sign off now.
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!
I'm quitting this about 2 hours in, so take my review in that context. I love the Daily Deal and bought this because it had so many terrific reviews. The whole thing seems like a mediocre young adult book: forced "snappy" dialogue and, so far, a plot that simply isn't believable. It isn't terrible; it just isn't very good. I really need mysteries to be written well, and so many seem to scrape by on plot and/or character, leaving the prose sorely lacking. Oh, well. Onward.
The prose is lyrical, almost surreal, and places you directly in whatever character Woolf is voicing. I felt as though I were there, experiencing everything along with the characters. There is a clarity and immediacy to Woolf's writing, and I found it completely absorbing. Not a lot happens in this book; it is a portrait of a family, the individuals and their relationships. If you're looking for an exciting plot and action, this is not for you. We get to know these characters so intimately, and yet there is so much that we don't know about them and so much they don't know about each other. Their attempts to reach each other, with occasional success, are very moving. The book is like a very subtle but major earthquake, after which the reader looks at other people with new eyes and with more compassion.
Juliet Stevenson is just perfect. Not a wrong note in the book. She has a beautiful voice that is pure pleasure to listen to.
I don't really know where to start; I can't say enough good things about this book. It's classified as young adult, but it is far more complex than much of YA literature, and holds its own as adult lit. The story itself is riveting, and the performances could not be better. The two protagonists are voiced perfectly. If the story itself weren't so compelling (which it is), you could just get lost in the characterizations. It's that beautiful. Neither narrator hits a wrong note. The writing is lovely, the story is intense and heartbreaking, and the two women are so *present* and believable. Just go listen to it!
Yet another book I would have missed but for the Daily Deal. I enjoyed this book quite a bit. The premise is frightening and all too believable, and the author treats it with seriousness and thought. In the second part of the book, the dialogue and descriptions veer toward the Wild West, but it's not bad, just cliched.
As other reviewers have mentioned, the women are such cardboard characters that it becomes funny. Hey, women can do stuff! They can, uh, sew! Make breakfast! Organize a household! And there must be something else they can do . . . uh, no, can't come up with anything else. Did I mention they make a damned good cup of coffee? It's so retro that it's amusing, not irritating. I know it's 1959, but even considering that, it's unusually pathetic. Perhaps the author didn't know many women.
Anyway, it's definitely worth a listen. It's a plausible view of WWIII and its aftermath. It would be interesting paired with James Howard Kunstler's The World Made By Hand and The Witch of Hebron, recent imaginings of the life of a small town after the breakdown of the U.S. political system and the disappearance of oil and electricity. I read both of these and can't comment on the audio editions, but I recommend both books.
This is one of the best audiobooks I've listened to. It is a lovely story, funny and sad. It's particularly interesting to have this perspective on life inside Germany during World War II. The writing is stunning; the author continues to find unique ways to express everyday experience through the end of the book. I found myself wanting to write down each new turn of phrase; they are that good.
Allan Corduner's narration is spot-on. I hope he will do much more audiobook narration. He's one of the best. His voicing of the characters was distinct, moving, often funny, pitch-perfect . . . one of those books where you feel you know each character and miss them when the book is over.
I can't recommend this one highly enough.
This is a lovely and intense book about (among other things) the consequences of our actions for those we love . . . the two brothers at the center of the book have profound effects on each others' lives, and, rippling outward, on the lives of their parents, spouses, children. Jhumpa Lahiri does a beautiful job of drawing us into the relationship between the brothers and then into the lives of their families.
The narrator is generally excellent; I gave him four stars rather than five because I felt his women sounded a little insipid, but this is a quibble. I will keep an eye out for more of his narration; it was moving without being overbearing.
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