You no longer follow Cariola

You will no longer see updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can re-follow a user if you change your mind.

OK

You now follow Cariola

You will receive updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can unfollow a user if you change your mind.

OK

Cariola

malfi

Chambersburg, PA USA | Member Since 2006

806
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 178 reviews
  • 344 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2015
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
285

  • The Lemon Table

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Julian Barnes
    • Narrated By Timothy West, Prunella Scales
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    In a collection that is wise, funny, clever and moving, Julian Barnes has created characters whose passions and longings are made all the stronger by the knowledge that, for them, time is almost at an end.

    Cariola says: "A Real Downer"
    "A Real Downer"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I picked up this collection of short stories on the strength of Barnes's Booker-winning novel, The Sense of an Ending. Similarly, most of these stories also deal with aging--but without the humor and touch of hope found there. Quite a few deal with artists, musicians and writers who have lost their talent; several others involve elderly people who suffer from Alzheimer's and their caretakers. Overall, I found it rather sad and depressing, although finely written.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • The American Lover

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Rose Tremain
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson, Ric Jerrom, Kate Rawson, and others
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Trapped in a London flat, Beth remembers a transgressive love affair in 1960s Paris. The most famous writer in Russia takes his last breath in a stationmaster’s cottage, miles from Moscow. A father, finally free of his daughter’s demands, embarks on a long swim from his Canadian lakeside retreat. And in the grandest house of all, Danni the Polish housekeeper catches the eye of an enigmatic visitor.Rose Tremain awakens the senses in this diverse collection of short stories.

    Cariola says: "Mixed Bag (but the good stories are really good)"
    "Mixed Bag (but the good stories are really good)"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a fan of Rose Tremain and was really looking forward to this new collection of short stories, but for me, overall, it disappointed. I give her credit for focusing on a wide variety of characters, time periods, and settings, and for her very fine dialogue. But I've come to the conclusion that Tremain is at her best writing historical fiction. In fact, two of the stories that delve into that genre are perhaps the best in the collection. "The Jester of Astapovo" begins as the story of an unhappily married stationmaster's desire to have an affair with an older woman and ends telling the story of Leo Tolstoy's last days, dying in the stationmaster's cottage. It's by far the best of these stories. "The Housekeeper" is narrated by the woman who served as the model for Mrs. Danvers; she has a haunting affair with novelist Daphne du Maurier.

    "The American Lover"--a woman looks back on a doomed love affair.

    "Extra Geography"--Two schoolgirls decide to fall in love with someone. anyone, the next person they see: their female geography teacher, a middle-aged New Zealander.

    "A View of Lake Superior in the Fall"--A Nashville couple retires to the North.

    "Man in the Water"--A young woman swears she saw a man in the water that no one else saw.

    "Juliet Greco's Black Dress"--a young woman models herself after Juliet Greco.

    "Smithy"--An old man tried to move a stained mattress that has been thrown on the road.

    "BlackBerry Winter"--A daughter deals with her ailing, cranky mother over the holidays.

    "Lucy and Gaston"--Conversation between a long-married couple in which Gaston recalls his father's wartime death in a typhoon.

    "The Closing Door"--After Worrld War II, widow Marjorie struggles with sending her daughter Patience to boarding school at her in-laws' insistence.

    "21st Century Juliet"--Aristocratic Juliet records events in her diary, including her relations with her parents and her passionate affair with an Eastern European construction worker.

    These are the kind of stories in which not a lot happens outside of the characters, but quite a lot goes on inside them and within their dialogue. If you care about the main character, this works; if you don't, it doesn't.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Dylan Thomas: A Centenary Celebration

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Hannah Ellis (editor)
    • Narrated By Malk Williams
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Dylan Thomas: A Centenary Celebration is a collection of specially commissioned essays celebrating the poet's life and work, and exploring his lasting legacy. Edited by his granddaughter, Hannah Ellis, the book is arranged thematically and includes a wealth of material: essays from noted biographers such as David Thomas and Clive Woosnam explore Thomas's lasting legacy both at home and abroad, and Welsh poet laurete Gillian Clark reflects on the impact of the seminal "play for voices", Under Milk Wood.

    Cariola says: "Mediocre Collection of Essays"
    "Mediocre Collection of Essays"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Dylan Thomas has always been one of my favorite poets. As a teenager, I owned the whole Caedmon series of Thomas reading his own verse and that of others, and I played it over and over. Last year marked 100 years since his birth, and this collection of essays is in celebration.

    Overall, I was disappointed in the book. Most of the essays covered familiar biographical territory, and none of them were what I would consider literary criticism that would shed light on any of Thomas's poems. I was mildly interested in one essay on plagiarism: when he was very young (12-18), Thomas apparently plagiarized a number of poems that have now been purged from his collected works. Most of them had been printed in children's magazines, and Thomas had made minor changes--the kind of thing my students do with their papers. A few reminiscences of Wales and Thomas's early life were a pleasure to walk through, like a familiar path. I can't, however, recommend the collection to anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of Thomas and his work, or to anyone coming newly to his poems.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Girl on the Train: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Paula Hawkins
    • Narrated By Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, India Fisher
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (10504)
    Performance
    (8771)
    Story
    (8767)

    Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. "Jess and Jason," she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good? Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

    Paula says: "Mind Boggling Thrilling Mystery! Don't Miss It!"
    "Guess I'm Still Not a Thriller Fan"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Girl on the Train, a new thriller that has been getting a lot of buzz, is narrated by three women. Rachel Watson, the main character, is a divorced, childless alcoholic still clinging to her ex-husband, Tom. Afraid to tell her landlady that she has been fired, Rachel rides the train into London every day, pretending to go to work. The train just happens to go past her former house, where Tom now lives with his new wife and daughter. Rachel becomes obsessed with an attractive couple who live a few doors down the street; she watches them from the train, fantasizing about the perfect life she believes they have. Obviously an unreliable narrator (she has frequent blackouts), Rachel is the most intriguing of the women in the story. The other narrators are Tom's new wife, Anna, who fears that Rachel will do something crazy, and Megan Hipwell, the young woman idealized by Rachel. The crime line takes off when Megan goes missing, and Rachel thinks she may know something important . . . if only she could remember what. She becomes as obsessed with the case as she has been with Tom and the Hipwells, and the reader is left to guess what is real and what is imagined.

    I don't usually read thrillers, but this one got a lot of hype, so I thought I'd give it a try. Initially, I was caught up in the story, but by the end, it seemed to drag on, driven by far too many coincidences.

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Outline

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Rachel Cusk
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    Overall
    (20)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (18)

    A luminous, powerful novel that establishes Rachel Cusk as one of the finest writers in the English language. A man and a woman are seated next to each other on a plane. They get to talking - about their destination, their careers, their families. Grievances are aired, family tragedies discussed, marriages and divorces analyzed. An intimacy is established as two strangers contrast their own fictions about their lives.

    Nancy Morgan says: "Wordy and boring"
    "A Fine Collection"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Girl on the Train, a new thriller that has been getting a lot of buzz, is narrated by three women. Rachel Watson, the main character, is a divorced, childless alcoholic still clinging to her ex-husband, Tom. Afraid to tell her landlady that she has been fired, Rachel rides the train into London every day, pretending to go to work. The train just happens to go past her former house, where Tom now lives with his new wife and daughter. Rachel becomes obsessed with an attractive couple who live a few doors down the street; she watches them from the train, fantasizing about the perfect life she believes they have. Obviously an unreliable narrator (she has frequent blackouts), Rachel is the most intriguing of the women in the story. The other narrators are Tom's new wife, Anna, who fears that Rachel will do something crazy, and Megan Hipwell, the young woman idealized by Rachel. The crime line takes off when Megan goes missing, and Rachel thinks she may know something important . . . if only she could remember what. She becomes as obsessed with the case as she has been with Tom and the Hipwells, and the reader is left to guess what is real and what is imagined.

    I don't usually read thrillers, but this one got a lot of hype, so I thought I'd give it a try. Initially, I was caught up in the story, but by the end, it seemed to drag on, driven by far too many coincidences.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • My Life in Pieces: An Alternative Autobiography

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Simon Callow
    • Narrated By Simon Callow
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (17)

    Drawing on a lifetime of writing about theatre and film, Callow takes us behind the curtain and behind the camera to introduce us to the performers and performances that have shaped him as an actor and as a public persona. They include giants like Orson Welles, Charles Dickens, Tommy Cooper, Charles Laughton and Laurence Olivier.

    Spencer says: "great narration, disappointing & irritating story"
    "Very Entertaining Bio"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    'My Life in Pieces' is not your typical autobiography. It's a compilation of "pieces" written by the actor Simon Callow for various newspapers, books, programs, memorials, etc. Most of them, of course, revolve around Callow's work in the theatre and on film. If his name isn't familiar to you, his face probably will be, from movies if not the stage: he played the Rev. Mr. Beebe in 'A Room with a View,' Schikaneder/Papageno in 'Amadeus,' and Gareth, the gay man who dies of a heart attack at one of the receptions in 'Four Weddings and a Funeral.' He's also well-known for his one-man show on Charles Dickens, which was televised in the UK and is available on DVD here in the US. Callow presents insightful essays on many of the great actors of the twentieth century, most of whom he has acted with, including Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson, Alec Guinness, Paul Scofield, Orson Welles, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael Redgrave, Ian McKellan, and more. In addition, he writes about several directors and playwrights, classic 'schools' and 'methods' of acting, and his own views on the status of acting on today's stage.

    Callow is a wonderful writer and a great storyteller. He can be funny, charming, reverent, and insightful--sometimes in the same piece. The stories he tells of working in the theatre are delightful, but they also give one an appreciation for the true art of acting. I listened to this book on audio, and with Callow himself as reader, it was a wonderful experience. I've always thought he was a fine, underrated character actor, and my admiration of his work has grown after reading/listening to these 'pieces.'

    Recommended for anyone interested theatre arts.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Far Cry from Kensington

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Muriel Spark
    • Narrated By Pamela Garelick
    Overall
    (33)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (24)

    Mrs. Hawkins, the majestic narrator of A Far Cry from Kensington, takes us well in hand and leads us back to her threadbare years in postwar London. There, as a fat and much admired young war widow, she spent her days working for a mad, near-bankrupt publisher (“of very good books”) and her nights dispensing advice at her small South Kensington rooming house. At work and at home Mrs. Hawkins soon uncovered evil: shady literary doings and a deadly enemy; anonymous letters, blackmail, and suicide.

    Maine Colonial says: "Pamela Garelick"
    "Clever and Witty"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If she was alive today, I'd be writing to thank Muriel Spark for adding a useful phrase to my repertoire: pisseur de copie. It's a phrase that gets Mrs. Hawkins (later known as Nancy) into a good deal of trouble, but she never takes it back. Mrs. Hawkins, a large-boned and hefty 28-year-old war widow, works in the world of publishing, and she lives in a boarding house full of eccentric characters, including a Polish seamstress, a pampered daddy's girl, a clever lower class medical student, and others. It's her connection to Hector Bartlett, the pisseur de copie, that shapes the novel. Mrs. Hawkins takes an immediate dislike to the pretentious would-be author, who tries repeatedly to use his 'friendship' with popular novelist Emma Loy as an entry ticket. (Nancy suspects a sexual liaison, but Emma's revelation that Hector can quote from all of her novels--wrongly--suggests something a bit more egotistical.) When tragedy strikes the boarding house community, Mrs. Hawkins launches an investigation of her own.

    'A Far Cry from Kensington' is a delightful trek into the world of publishing, ca. 1950s, and a wonderfully droll study of character. I've read only one other novel by Spark, but I'll definitely be seeking out more.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Cal

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Bernard MacLaverty
    • Narrated By David Threlfall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    For Cal, some of the choices are devastatingly simple.... He can work in an abattoir that nauseates him or join the dole queue; he can brood on his past or plan a future with Marcella. Springing out of the fear and violence of Ulster, Cal is a haunting love story in a land were tenderness and innocence can only flicker briefly in the dark.

    Cariola says: "Sad but Lovely Story"
    "Sad but Lovely Story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    McLaverty's novel of "the troubles" in Northern Ireland, first published in 1983, has become a classic. Young Cal McCluskey is haunted by the role he played in the murder of a policeman yet struggles to detach from the IRA. Matters get worse when Cal falls for the local librarian who, he later learns, is the policeman's widow. As their romance heats up, he is saddened by the knowledge that their relationship is doomed: both of them have stated their belief in 100% honesty between partners, but Cal knows that 100% honesty will destroy them.

    'Cal' depicts the horrors of the continuing conflict betwen Catholics and Protestants: beatings, fire-bombings, land minds, shattered families and shattered psyches. Overall, a finely written and very moving novel. David Threlfall is a very reader.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Elizabeth I: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Margaret George
    • Narrated By Kate Reading
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (244)
    Performance
    (180)
    Story
    (180)

    New York Times best-selling author Margaret George captures history's most enthralling queen-as she confronts rivals to her throne and to her heart. One of today's premier historical novelists, George dazzles here as she tackles her most difficult subject yet: the legendary Elizabeth Tudor, queen of enigma - the Virgin Queen who had many suitors; the victor of the Armada who hated war; the gorgeously attired, jewel-bedecked woman who pinched pennies.

    Roberta says: "A different view of Elizabeth"
    "Very Enjoyable!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Hundreds of novels have been written about Elizabeth I, so one wonders, what could be written about her life that hasn't been covered before? Margaret George takes as her subject a less familiar period of Elizabeth's life, the last 15 years or so, from the approach of the Spanish Armada to her death in 1603. It's a daring decision, since what we generally think of as the most exciting events in her reign--her imprisonment by her half-sister Mary, her dalliance Thomas Seymour, her ascendance to the throne, the string of foreign suitors and her 'affair' with Robert Dudley, the arrest of her cousin Mary of Scotland, etc.--have already occurred. So what could there be in the life of an aging queen that is worthy of another massive tome?

    Plenty--especially if you are a reader who is more interested in characters than action. And George starts us off with plenty of action as the English troops prepare to meet the Armada. We're introduced to some of the major players of the period: Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the leader of Elizabeth's troops; her spymaster Frances Walsingham (incongruously clad in armor); Sir Walter Raleigh; Secretary Burleigh; Leicester's stepson, the Earl of Essex;--the list goes on.

    But characters drive this novel. By focusing on an aging queen with aging advisors who are often in conflict with the younger members of the council, George finds a reason to explore relationships, the changes wrought by maturity and experience, and a growing generation gap that affects both court and country. The effect is enhanced by dividing the novel between two narrators, Elizabeth and her cousin Lettice Knollys. The ten years younger, more beautiful, and thrice-married Lettice is the granddaughter of Mary Boleyn, sister of the queen's doomed mother. A third Boleyn cousin, Catherine Knollys, enters the picture as one of Elizabeth's foremost ladies in waiting. It is Catherine who observes near the end of the book that together they represent the three paths of womanhood: one a life-long virgin, one thrice widowed, and one happily married to the same man since her youth.

    While Elizabeth and Lettice would seem to be polar opposites (and Lettice had incurred the queen's lifelong enmity for seducing away and marrying Leicester), George's narrative subtly reveals the similarities between them as well. For one thing, both have learned the value of patience; for another, both reflect on the mistakes and lessons of the past and on the process of aging. Whatever else she may be, Lettice is also a devoted mother; and George depicts Elizabeth as a mother much devoted to her "children," the people of England, as well as to her many godchildren. In the case of Elizabeth, George attempts to dig below the myths and give us a closer look at the woman behind the face paint and the crown. The double narratives remind us of how difficult it was to be a woman in those days, especially for a woman who had to remind the world that she was a prince as well.

    Now, don't get the impression that this book is all thought and no action. After all, we are talking about a period that encompassed the invasion of the Armada and the continued threat from Spain, the Lopez 'plot,' the Irish wars, the Essex rebellion, the problem of the succession, and more. And for good measure, George imagines a dalliance between Lettice and that upstart playwright William Shakespeare. (Both women comment on his work and ponder its relevance--and John Donne makes two appearances as well.) In short, George gives us a brimming picture of life, both public and private, in late Elizabethan England.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Town Like Alice

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By Nevil Shute
    • Narrated By Neil Hunt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (227)
    Performance
    (202)
    Story
    (200)

    Eight hundred women and children begin a 1,200-mile journey on foot across Japanese-occupied Malaya. At journey’s end, only 30 will still be alive. This is the story of one woman, of her ordeal, and of how she was saved by the sacrifice of an Australian soldier. It is a story of rare individual courage in the face of certain death, and hope in the face of despair.

    Jean says: "Historical Novel"
    "Finally Got Around to This One"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Initially, I was totally captivated by this story of Jean Padgett, a young English woman working in Malaya who became a Japanese prisoner of war. The hardships that the women and children endured during their trek to one nonexistent prison camp after another and the alternating kindness and inhumanity of their captors kept me reading (well, listening; this was an audiobook) at a rapid pace. Under such an unlikely circumstances, one wouldn't expect to fall in love, but we do sense that it is happening to Jean when she means a resourceful Australian named Joe Harmon. But the war intervenes . . .

    The novel opens with the narrator, a solicitor, tracking down Jean to tell her that she has just come into an inheritance, and it is to Noah that Jean tells her story. After hearing all she endured, he could hardly be more surprised when Jean tells him her plans for the money: to return to Malaya.

    I won't spoil the book by telling what happens next, but there are quite a few surprises in store. I have to admit that the last third of the novel--the part that reflects the title--was somewhat less interesting to me. Still, this is one of those books whose title was familiar but about which I knew nothing, and overall, it was worthwhile.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Chaperone

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Laura Moriarty
    • Narrated By Elizabeth McGovern
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2439)
    Performance
    (2143)
    Story
    (2128)

    >The Chaperone is a captivating novel about the woman who chaperoned an irreverent Louise Brooks to New York City in 1922, and the summer that would change them both. Only a few years before becoming a famous actress and an icon for her generation, a 15-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita to make it big in New York. Much to her annoyance, she is accompanied by a thirty-six-year-old chaperone who is neither mother nor friend. Cora Carlisle is a complicated but traditional woman with her own reasons for making the trip.

    Amanda says: "Perfection."
    "Starts Well, Ends "Meh""
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is one of those books that really hooked me in at first but fell off a bit towards the end. It's 1922, and Cora Carlisle, a respectable Wichita wife in her late thirties, is hired to accompany 15-year old Louise Brooks to New York City. Louise, who became a silent film star a few years later, had been accepted by the exclusive dance school run by Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn. Despite their age difference, it quickly becomes clear that it's Cora, not Louise, who is the more naive. Wherever they go, the beautiful Louise attracts male attention--and seems to know just what to do with it.

    The story is more that of Cora than of Louise. The main reason that she wants to go to New York is to find out about her birth parents. She vaguely remembers a dark-haired woman holding her and singing in a foreign language, but her earliest clear memories are of the Catholic orphanage where she was raised to about age seven. Cora was one of thousands of orphaned children who were put on trains and shipped to potential parents in the plains states. Fortunately, her adoptive parents were loving and kind, but as she grew, Cora's life was not untouched by tragedy. In a day when adoption records were sealed, Cora attempts to find out who where she came from, who she really is.

    The confrontations between Cora and Louise are exactly what one would expect, Cora constantly reminding her charge that she mustn't allow herself to be "compromised," Louise scoffing at Cora's old-fashioned Christian morality. This leads to a lot of self-examination on the chaperone's part, including the revelation of family secrets. But it isn't long before Louise is invited to join the Denis-Shawn company, and Cora heads back to Wichita--but not exactly to the same life.

    The last quarter of the novel rushes through 50+ years of Cora's life, with occasional mentions and sightings of Louise. Overall, it seems rushed, and rather formulaic, all the 'surprises' too anticipated: hence the 3.5 rating. The rush is even more pronounced because the section on Louise seems rather dragged out. Think about the balance: 3/4 of the book focused on a few months in 1922 (plus Cora's memories), 1/3 covering the next 50+ years.

    Overall, it's not a bad read, just slightly disappointing in the end. One thing I did get out of it was a renewed interest in Louise Brooks, one of the most distinctively stunning and most controversial actresses of the silent film era.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.