One of the better historical novels that greatly conveys the grinding horror of Sherman's march that helped end the Civil War. There were several parts of the story where I gasped out loud. E.L.Doctrow uses language so well to communicate mood and theme. A truly great author.
Pearl is my favorite character. She helps convey the feelings of a slave while telling the story of the promise of a country evolving into a new social fabric.
Joe Morton is a 10/10 narrator. I will actively seek out other books he's narrated for listening. There are many characters in this book. Male, female, southern, northern, poor, wealthy.... Mr. Morton makes this book come alive - it's like listening to a multi-actor radio play. It's hard to believe this was all done by one guy. Just Excellent.
Tearing apart a country to help it heal.
Originally - throughout the first 2/3 of the book I was really impressed how Elroy could write a prequel to some of his other books light the Black Dahlia and LA Confidential and actually add to the characters' depth. But the last 1/4 of the book pretty much falls apart and we're left with a preposterous ending.
Too bad. I like Elroy's writing style, but it feels like he paints himself into a plot corner and uses dumb plot ideas to resolve.
people who like to read comic books
The story is preposterous. The initial plot is the search for a missing, kidnapped child - and then Dr. Krysler and team take a several month excursion to upstate NY. Hardly a sense of urgency to find a missing child. And the character of El Nino is dumb - and sounded like Speedy Gonzalez.
A very good sense of personality in the voices he performs
The whole character of El Nino.
Carr likes to take a somewhat recent topic, in this case Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy and place it in the context of an early period. Kind of ridiculous for a novel.
Progressivism solves murder
At times - during the actually events around the murder investigation it was a very suspenseful story.
It was very impressive, and at times unbelievable how Guidall was able to take a room full of different characters and give them each a different personality in their voices.
Guidall is definitely a very skilled orator.
NYC enters the 1900's with it's own, "Jack the Ripper".
Sometimes the characters we one dimensional - Sara specifically - male authors are generally horrible at developing female characters. I guess the opposite is also true.
I live on Long Island, and am familiar with all the locations in the book. So, that was fun.Least liked - DeMille stretches out the last part of the story to a torturous length. Several times I had to force myself to continue listening - just so I would finish the book - when I really just wanted to bail out due to the drawn out ending.
North Fork of LI is interesting because I live close by to that.Least Interesting - was actually Plum Island itself. It turns out that Plum Island is a secondary part of the story. So, we're mislead to think that the story is about the biological warfare/research reputation of Plum Island, when in reality - that's secondary to the main plot.Also - the main character, John Corey - is really annoying. DeMille tries to personify a wise-a$$ NYPD Detective in Corey - instead, he's juvenile, smart-alecky, unlikable and we barely care about him.
He's a good narrator - he does a very good job of personifying the different characters.One criticism - he continually mispronounces one of the major locations in the story: Cutchogue, Long Island. Brick continually pronounces it as "ka-choog", but everyone I know on LI pronounces it, "Cuchog".
a TV series - yes - John Corey is more like a TV detective than one from literature. He's like a wise-guy Columbo, from NYC
Overall - I'd give this book 2.5 stars, but I cant' give half stars.
Nazi Court Drama
When the Queen parachuted down to the Olympics.
As soon as I started listening to this audio book I had a bad flashback. You see, I've tried to listen to an audible recording of "The Guns of August" four times, but have never been able to get into it - and I've blamed it on the narrator. I didn't know it at the time, but QBVII as the same narrator, John Lee. I don't care for him at all.
Many of the characters in QBVII are British, as is Lee. So for those characters he was good, and even the Poles - he did a fine job on both men and women. However, one of the main characters, Abe is from North Carolina. John Lee butchers the southern accent. At times, it seems like he's lost and trying to find the accent again. It was distracting. And, I'll probably make it a point to avoid any books he narrates in the future.
Some shadows can't be lived down.
One of the few books I've read where the movie was as good, if not better. Boghart's Spade and Lorre's Cairo help make the movie a realistic version of the book.
Most interesting aspect - understanding more what is going on in Spade's head - which you don't get in the film.Least interesting - Hammett seems to spend too much space devoted to describing the facial features/changes of the characters.
No - but he did a very good job.
Needs a rework - as a more modern story.
Not literature - good pulp novel - which is probably how it was written. So, my comments are not really fair - when looking at the Maltese Falcon as a fun murder/mystery novel - however, I don't think the review from Audible properly describes this. Audible makes it sound more like literature. It's not.
No. I am a big fan of Doctrow. I've read several of his novels. Billy Bathgate is one of my favorite novels. This book, Loon Lake - which I read after Billy Bathgate, really disappointed. It could have gone is so many more interesting directions - but this fell flat.
No - see above
His performance did not add to the book at all - and at times diminished from the story.
Find a different book.
This book reads like a first attempt at some of the sub plots used in Billy Bathgate.
I wish Doctrow would have used this story to better explore the life of the circus/carnival in the Depression Era - beyond the Fat Lady subplot.
Yes - definitely.. I read several reviews of the print version on Amazon before getting this. It appears the print novel lacks punctuation in places, making it difficult to read. The narrator M. Deakins helps us out by interpreting the prose and making it easier to hear the story than to read it. Sometimes a novelist uses missing punctuation or excessive run on sentences to set the mood for the reader. Well, I don't want to be driven crazy by reading a book and trying to guess where a pause should be inserted.
Sometimes - like with Billy Bathgate, the Narrator helps us enjoy the book more than if we were faced with reading it and getting frustrated by having to decipher the prose.
Otto Berman is my favorite character in this story. He appears to take a true interest in educating Billy in the knowledge of being a gang member, tutoring him, but not taking advantage of him. Kind of a Fagin father figure.
Oh yes. Definitely - see my response to the audio version being better than the print version above. Plus Mark Deakins is able to change Billy's voice at times, properly representing not only his mood, but also his maturity. For example, just the way Deakins has Billy say the word "Yes". It sounds silly, but in just the way Deakins has Billy say that one word he is able to convey innocence and immaturity.
Doctrow does a great job with the erotic scenes between Billy and Lola/Drew.
Also the final scene with Dutch and the mob with Billy is particularly graphic and well written - so much so - I could see it happen in my mind.
This is the first time I've gone back and re-listened to the book after finishing it the first time. I'm glad I did. Doctrow is a master of prose - and is able to convey hidden meanings in the verbiage that does not detract from the story telling - but like a great painting - you have to sometimes know where to look or how to look at a section to understand (or think you understand).
I leave you with one haunting question....Was Hines Billy's father? And did Dutch know it - and if so, when did he know it?
I'm sorry for one thing - that Doctrow has a limited number of novels, and I've almost gone through them all. :(
Poorly written prose that could have been written by a 10 grader. If you're looking for drivel to read on an airplane ride, I guess this would be acceptable. I didn't believe the characterization of Lee at all. I got the impression the author was writing excessive descriptions just to fill the page, because there wasn't enough story to write about.
Something written by a better author. Maybe Doctrow, Wouk or Del Passos.
The narrator did a good job of providing different accents, even for multiple men from Virginia - he did a good job. Don't blame him for this poor story/writing.
I would have found a way to ADD more historical events - not speculate what Lee was thinking while he was hiding behind a tree. Too much filler nonsense.
Maybe the book should have been entitled, "The Filler Angels"?
Yes - the way Doctrow writes, shifting eras from past to present to in between, it's sometimes hard to understand which time period he's writing about. Having the performer do the reading helps the listener to understand which time period is being discussed.
I've read that Daniel is compared to Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye. I can see that similarity in their personalities.
Daniel - who's motivations and personality is impacted by the era and at what stage of acceptance/defiance Daniel is experiencing about his parents death.
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