I didn't like the sound quality at all. It's muffled, which, combined with the somewhat flat reading, makes the story just drone on and on. The story goes into significant depth about the characters, but I simply gave up on starting the second of five stories. While the stories might be interesting, I don't recommend this audiobook on the simple lack of audio quality. You can get a good idea of it in the audio sample.
The concept of the story seems interesting, but ultimately, I was finding the details, coupled with the difficulty in hearing it just not worth the effort.
Certainly a clearer recording - that didn't sound like it was made on a cassette recorder 35 years ago. It must be a rather old recording, transferred from tape.
And as much as I've always liked Sam Waterson as an actor, I found his reading flat to the point of becoming a drone.
Only to try to return the book.
The recording quality is probably a disservice to the writing. Sorry to write such a negative review. I think this might be a book better read off the printed page than this recording.
I'm not a rugby fan, and I'd never even heard of Gareth Thomas. I was intrigued by the theme of the book and the man on the cover. It's the story of a man who repressed his sexuality, while playing hard to stay hidden in plain sight, on the demanding playing field of life in Wales - where a man had better be a man. Growing up at a time when being gay was unacceptable, he fought on the rugby field, and inside his mind. Playing the game he loved, but maybe didn't quite fit. It's a moving and well written story of the ravages that can come from having to hide your true identity, and struggle to live a lie. Not only psychologically for the first person singular, but for those whose life he touches and entwines with.
The book relays his whole story, the trials, the pain, the triumphs, and does so in a way that is personal and quite captivating. I was always looking forward to getting my headphones back on to listen to more of his story.
I think Thomas captured the emotional side of his struggle in this book, and is an inspiration for others who deal with the insecurity of who they really are. He explains not only what he was up against, but why. The intricacies of how his self image affected his place in the world, why he was driven to hide his identity, and his drive to not only prove himself, but overcome the exhausting burden of living a dual life. Particularly in the über-macho world of professional sports, and specifically in the demanding world of the rugby field. Quite a difficult feat, which took so much of his personal and spiritual energy.
He spends considerable time going into details about how his choices affected others, and his later efforts to repair the damage he'd done by trying to be someone else.
In the end, I think he manages to overcome much of the stigma and fear, and become whole, while realizing the struggle never really ends completely.
It's an inspirational story that hopefully will help to give others the freedom to be who they are, without the damaging struggle that Thomas suffered.
I was excited about the reviews I read about this book, and thought it must be unusual and interesting. It WAS very unusual. Interesting? I guess the book is just not for everyone. It wasn't for me.
I did enjoy the poem, which is a rather small part of the book. And it's certainly an interestingly structured book, as the poem is used as a conceit to tell a broader story of a poet and his neighbor, who is our narrator, and ultimate publisher (and critic) of the poem. The story is really about the narrator, describing his role in the writing of the poem, and his attempts to get close to and influence the poet.
But it's really not about that. In the end, the story seems to come together, and finally, for me, made some sense. But I felt that when I listened to this book (I listen in segments when I am at the gym) I kept wondering "WHY am I sticking this out?" It rambled on and on, and it was a struggle to stay focused on the story. There were places where parts of stories would become interesting, but then I would suddenly lose the thread and wonder if my attention had shifted and I'd somehow missed a whole part of the book! In part, this might be because there are imaginary characters in imaginary places, from imaginary countries, and parallel stories going on at the same time that seem to shift back and forth.
For me, the book mostly drones on and on, providing the merest snippets of what's actually going on, and until the end very little fit together at all.
I see that others very much enjoy the clever word play and the challenge of following the tale and the characters, but I guess it's just not for everyone. I even suffered through the index at the end, which was in part because I really couldn't believe that this was included in the audiobook version, so there must be some meaningful surprise (or reward) coming. There wasn't. I think this might work better in print, where one could cross reference and even use the index to figure out who was who, and how they fit into the story.
For me, this was one VERY tedious book.
If you're a climate change denialist, you'll love THIS book.
Only a small fraction of the book actually carries the action. The bulk of it is a thinly - well, no, not veiled at all - propagandist work about climate change. The author obviously believes that climate change is a conceit of the media and environmentalist groups seeking to capitalize on a false global warming.
The lecturing is so heavy handed. The main protagonist, Peter Evens, is portrayed as a stooge who accepts global warming without questioning the "facts." The endless passages that go on for pages and pages are lectures from lawyers questioning and "enlightening" our hapless attorney, Peter, until he sees how hoodwinked he's been.
The book is its own hoodwink, trying to convince you that none of the evidence holds water (or melted glaciers).
I thought, after reading so many reviews touting how this book "makes you think, and question what you're told and led to believe" that it would be an incisive and thought-rpovoking book. But I found it to be a one-sided argument against climate change or human influence on climate, in the face of growing evidence.
Thought provoking? Leading readers to learn about science and media? Or preachy propaganda?
I think it's propaganda.
Still, it didn't convince me.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book as it got rolling. The premise was interesting, the main protagonist being quite the anti-heroic type.
There are a lot of coincidences and positive twists of fate in this book that help our unlikely hero along, but not beyond the realm of believability.
I thought the characters were quite well developed, and quite likable! And they meshed very well into a story that kept me interested and always looking forward to my next opportunity to tune in.
The narration was the perfect embodiment of the story. Excellent pace, and perfectly rendered, with each character played as a distinct and well defined individual all the way through.
I was surprised at the negative reviews of the narration of this book. I've listened to a number books narrated by Barbara Rosenblat and have always been impressed by her interpretations. Normally, I listen to books in the car, so possibly have not heard some of the "offending sounds" others have pointed out because of background road noise. But I think her performances are terrific. She has a way of creating a mood, a personality for the characters she reads. Subtleties in voice, in accent, denote and differentiate the characters beautifully. I have bought books she's narrated simply because she was the reader.
Now, the book. I have enjoyed most of the Temperance Brennen stories. A forensic anthropologist, Brennen is called in on cases where the mostly unidentifiable remains require extensive analysis and investigation to solve murder cases. There is thoughtful description of how these analyses are done, which I find fascinating. How anthropomorphic details like size,age, sex, etc. can be deciphered from clues in often very deteriorated human remains. The detailed police tactics involved in the case are also intriguing and interesting, because she describes enough detail to reveal the logic and rationale for how cases are handled. The story is convoluted, and engaging. I found I couldn't wait to get back in the car for my commute to listen to the next section of the book.
There are twists and turns in the story, and characters are revealed in such a way to lead you to wondering all the time how they fit together, and which is the perpetrator in this murder mystery.
Scenes are described with exacting detail, and given Rosenblat's interpretation, I feel drawn into each scene. Brennen's own relationships and inner demons are like a continuous undertone - a layer under the surface of the story that kept me intrigued not only with her job, but her life and relationships.
I think this is a good read, and I think Barbara Rosenblat is a great reader.
I had higher hopes for this book, based on the description. But I thought the advice was relatively common sense, and the book quite repetitive. Maybe for someone starting out in life, the pointers could be valuable. People with a natural curiosity, I think, already embody these ideas. They are natural for subjects you are interested in, but difficult for those which one might have to study, but doesn't really have an organic interest in.
Like many self help books, I guess a simple idea is stretched out to fill a book, and thus becomes overwrought with repetitive thoughts and examples.
Others might take more away. I felt as though most of it was obvious.
I stuck it out, but frankly, I couldn't wait for it to end.
I was supremely impressed with Louis de Bernières' writing in Corelli's Mandolin and Birds Without Wings. I was left somewhat flat by A Partisan's Daughter. While the previous two books carried me away, thoroughly engaged my imagination, and taught me quite a bit about history, this book never seemed to go anywhere for me. Maybe I expected too much from earlier experiences. Felt like it was little more than a way to pass some time. Unlike the earlier two, when this book was over, I didn't have too much to think about, or contemplate about the story, or about humankind.
A relationship slowly develops between two unlikely people, emotions slowly evolve clouded by unspoken words and unexpressed feelings. I won't reveal the ending, but I found it somewhat unsatisfying
An engaging story about the fight against bacterial infection - which only began with any meaningful success in the 1930s. The book provides an in-depth and interesting description of the "colorful" story about how the dye industry gave birth to the chemical industry - and ultimately helped conquer infection. The book provides insight into a lot of back story, related to the first and second world wars, patents, intrigue in the research community, and how Germany's chemical secrets and patents were plundered after the second world war.
A good listen if you enjoy history, industry, and science.
I found myself pulled into this book from the start. Barbara Rosenblat is a first class actress when it comes to reading. I think she has an amazing facility with nuance and emotion. The story is engaging, and all through the story, I felt that I was watching a play unfold on stage.
The story itself is interesting, giving a somewhat different view of the holocaust period. The story weaves personal tragedy with tragedy on a tremendous scale, and manages to hold its own. There are so many delicate touches and details in the story that it's easy to conjure the scene in the mind's eye, as if watching it on stage in front of you.
Highly recommended book.
There were some pretty far fetched moments in the book, but overall, quite engaging. The book certainly held my attention, and I thought the narration was very well done. It was the kind of book that had me looking forward to being in the car to listen to the next installment. I'm afraid I thought the weakest segment of the book was the ending, but I won't reveal it.
I kept thinking I could tell where the book was going, but it would veer off somewhere else. I like that about a book.
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