I really really wanted to love this book. There are vignettes throughout the book that are amazing. I found myself spellbound for passages. However, greater minds than mine are needed to hold the whole thing together. When someone figures this out, drop me a line. The narration is excellent. I thought the characters came alive.
Captivating, original, fascinating
Utterly fantastic book. Narration is top-notch as well. I picked it up because the North Korea "angle" seemed intriguing. The book sure delivers in that respect. And although North Korea itself is the utter center of this book, the characters and their stories are absolute gems. I am so glad I took a chance on this book.
What more can possibly be said about this book? It's a seminal and critical book about South Africa. It's amazingly contemporary although clearly the ground rules in South Africa have changed. I highly recommend this book. The narration by Michael York was quite good but, I found the English accent a bit distracting. Are there no South African actors who could narrate?
There are few story tellers like Stephen King (perhaps, there are none). He is a master and he masters his craft. He can illuminate that space in humanity where an average person can choose to go one way or another. Each of these stories shines a light on that particular phenomenon. My only observation is that Stephen King seems to be too big and famous for any editor to pare down his writing. I think that he is at his best when he is focused while weighing his words. The short story format helps him to do so. Great stuff.
I have previously reviewed the narration by Saul Reichlin with less than positive commentary. I would like to state for the record that he does an excellent job on this book. Maybe the contemporary setting suits his talents better. Whatever it is, it works here. I thought the book by Deon Meyer was good and interesting. It was my first exposure to contemporary South African crime writing. I picked the book because I was traveling to Cape Town and thought this could be an interesting perspective. There is a lot to like. However, I got the feeling that a lot of the character development has happened in previous installments. I really liked what I was reading but I did feel like I was missing half the story since I haven't read any other books in this series.
I love historical fiction. I love contemporary fiction. I love a good read. All the ingredients are here but ugh. Maybe that's the problem. Everything is here: drug addiction, horrible accident, burns, burns, burns, love, forbidden love, etc. etc. I think there are about 14 stories here that need to be extricated from each other. I can see that a lot of people like this (it's why I chose it) but, it's charms don't work on me.
If you like reading about snarky self-absorbed people, boy have I got a great one for you. I am all for contemporary British humor with an edge (Ricky Gervais... Ben Elton... ) but this one left me constantly checking how many pages I had left to read. I would never have finished it if it hadn't been part of my book club.
What a delightful surprise. I like Diane Keaton and was open to reading this after seeing her interview on John Stewart. I expected a bio and sure, there's a bit of that. Her stories of her early years and subsequent breakthrough was interesting and engaging. What really surprised me (and really touched me) was the juxtapositioning of her mom's journals with her own. I think it's difficult for some of us (maybe just me....) to think of our own parents as human and just as prone to failure as we are, not to mention that they do get old and weak. This book really brought that home to me but in a kind way. I would definitely recommend this book to others.
Patronizing schoolmarm-ish narration. Buy the book instead. Geraldine Brooks is a wonderful writer and I have enjoyed reading her work since she wrote at the Wall Street Journal. The narration literally ruins this book.
What a great story (and yes, I've already seen the movie)! This is a perfect combination of a great story and a great narrator.
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