Check the audio quality before you download this book. It's a bit tinny & some people may find that frustrating.
For that though it is a clever story & for the price I enjoyed it a great deal. Normally below average sound quality would annoy me but I knew the story was only going to last 45 minutes so I wouldn't be stuck listening to it for days, and it's very cheap.
Haven't come across Guy de Maupassant before & would try his stories again.
I looked at several reviews online before buying this (not including the ones here on audible). I saw the book described as a combination of Nabokov & Salinger. Nothing could live up to that hype, but this doesn't even come close.
It's a simple, easy read. It's not exceptional prose, it's not great literature. It barely held my interest as the characters lacked depth & the situations were fairly predictable.
It flows fairly smoothly from beginning to end & will certainly appeal to many readers.
I was expecting a great deal more from it & am disappointed. If the storyline description appeals to you & you enjoy a lazy read then you will very likely enjoy this book. But don't believe the hype.
In spite of the bleak setting for this book, every piece of this story is incredibly beautiful. Subtle, wonderful prose, and pure delight at every word.
I adore this story & it is a new favourite, one of the most beautiful books I've read. I'm so pleased I picked it up.
If you enjoyed Kite Runner & A Thousand Splendid Suns I am certain you will enjoy this book. I can't recommend it highly enough.
The narrator did a wonderful job in my opinion.
It's impossible for me not to compare this to the other three Lionel Shriver books I've read this year - they are the reason I returned to purchase this book, however The New Republic does not stand up next to "We Need to Talk About Kevin" or "So Much for That".
The story is dull and Shriver's usually strong narrative voice doesn't come through at all. And without spoiling the end, the ending really makes little sense. I had hoped Shriver would use Barrington Saddler's presence to introduce a twist as she did with her characters in "Big Brother". No twist and no logic to the end of this story.
The New Republic needs to stand on it's own merit & not on the reputation the author has from her later works. Shriver is an excellent writer, but this book is not excellent. It's not even good. It has no redeeming qualities beyond an interesting idea.
Jeremy Irons gives a perfect performance as Humbert Humbert (the narrator & fictional author of the story). His tone creates exactly the right amount of compulsion to listen while remaining a repellent character. If you know you want to read Lolita then this is the version you want.
As for the story, the way Nabokov brings the reader in as co-conspirator is both attractive & repellent. If we do not read Humbert's book, his crimes are not witnessed - possibly never committed. As reader we are complicit in every aspect of his crimes.
It's an incredible tale & we are invited right into Humbert's mind, where we are manipulated much the same way he manipulates everyone else around him.
The prose is remarkable. It is possible that Humbert is the most detested fictional character in the world while his story of "Lolita" is one of the finest stories ever written.
This book is Vonnegut at his finest.
Throughout the book he never failed to catch me off guard & yet it all made strange sense somehow, in a solipsistic style. If you've enjoyed other Vonnegut stories but haven't read this one yet it is well worth it.
The characters are well done but it is the moments when the author inserts himself into his own story that I found most startling & hilarious.
My first listen of Behind the Beautiful Forevers was from my local library. Once I'd read it, I read it through a second time immediately & then I bought my own copy here. Although I will never forget this story it is so compelling & so beautifully told I know I will read it many more times.
I hadn't read the description of this book when I first picked it up - I completed the book & it was only when I got to the epilogue that I discovered it was non-fiction. The narrative reads like a beautiful fiction but the story is true. The words of the characters are those told to the author during the 6 months she spent in the Indian slum where the story is set, or they are what she herself witnessed.
So now the authenticity I felt from the story is explained. It feels authentic because it is authentic.
The story gives insight into lives that people living in western cultures generally will not encounter. It is the story of deep poverty, deeper poverty & deepest poverty. And there are few ways to get out of the slum. The people in the story all want to improve their lives, but each has a different belief in how to do so. Hard work? Education? Corruption seems the surest method & it is not necessarily about having the most power - just about having more than the next person, and then being ruthless about using it.
While the stories of the people in this book are true, it is a book you will enjoy for the story itself and the way it has been told. Katherine Boo has deliberately chosen people who would not necessarily have shared their story with anyone else and therein lies the book's real gift.
This is another book that has gone to the top of my all time favourites.
“A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me, and every one of us who is, or was, or ever will be.”
This book is a beautiful concept under a masterful narrative. The 2 narrating characters (not the reader) lives touch in a meaningful way, although they will never meet.
An American novelist, Ruth, finds a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the beach of the island she lives on in Canada. It contains the diary of Nao (a bullied teenager in Japan), some letters and a watch. A lot of the story is the diary, where Nao reveals the secrets she is sharing with no-one else.
The other half of the book is Ruth's attempt to to find out more about Nao and her family. Nao appears to be in danger. While Ruth & her husband wonder whether the lunchbox might have washed across from Japan in the drift following the 2011 tsunami, it's also clear that the Nao's bullying & her father's attempted suicide is leading her to seriously contemplate her own suicide.
Buddhism, western philosophy & environmentalism are some of the themes that flow throughout this beautiful creation, but most of all it is about being now. It is this that makes this book something you want to read in one sitting. And what makes you want it never to end.
Booker short listed, this is an exceptional piece. Get it, you will love it. It has found it's place among my all time favourites & I am sure it will be the same for many other readers.
Winston Smith's small world involves tight control & surveillance. His job is to refabricate old news stories & official records to match with current political aims. What begins as a sliver of doubt about the reality of past & current events turns into a large wedge & Winston attempts to discover the "truth" of what is happening in his nation.
Orwell is an outstanding writer & this book is brilliant.
Samuel West does an incredible job of narration & this is definitely the version of the book to listen to.
This needs to be in your audible library.
I have no idea how this story was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. To me it feels more aimed at young adults - certainly this reading makes it feel this way & the main narrator of the story feels better suited to a younger audience.
I couldn't buy in to the story at all. Some of the characters, yes, especially the female ones. But Oscar - the main character - felt completely inaccessible to me. I didn't see any development in him throughout the storyline & his "achievements" seemed to be more down to luck than personal growth. As a character he was very limited.
Little about Oscar's own life seemed "Wonderous" to me. His family history certainly had some interest in it, but his own life held little.
Oscar's friend "Junior" the narrator seemed a strange choice to tell the story of Oscar's family as it seemed unlikely he'd have had access to as much information as the story contained.
I persisted to the end with this one but it felt like wasted effort.
Definitely a "ripping yarn". It doesn't disappoint...if you can get past the broad Australian accents of the two narrators.
The accent of the first narrator was off putting but I became used to it - and then the second narrator was introduced & it was like nails down a blackboard. I understand it's important, after all the story is Australian, but I have to admit that made me struggle.
Beyond the accents however the story is unexpected, unpredictable & deeply strange (but only in a good way). I admit I've never read a story quite like it, yet it is as compellingly Australian as Ned Kelly.
Listen to the sample & if you can live with the narrator's accent then give it a try, the story is "fanastical".
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