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Rochelle

Dunedin, New Zealand | Member Since 2010

31
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 49 reviews
  • 130 ratings
  • 435 titles in library
  • 34 purchased in 2014
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  • Nemesis

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Philip Roth
    • Narrated By Dennis Boutsikaris
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (279)
    Performance
    (155)
    Story
    (155)

    At the center of Nemesis is a vigorous, dutiful 23-year-old playground director, Bucky Cantor, a javelin thrower and weightlifter, who is devoted to his charges and disappointed with himself because his weak eyes have excluded him from serving in the war alongside his contemporaries. Focusing on Cantors dilemmas as polio begins to ravage his playground and on the everyday realities he faces, Roth leads us through every inch of emotion such a pestilence can breed.

    Mirek says: "Without pathos about life..."
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've enjoyed a number of Philip Roth's novels but this one did not do it for me.

    Throughout the book I just wanted to kick the main character. To me he came across as paranoid & hypochondriac & then later in the book as purely pathetic.

    Admittedly it would've been simple to turn this into some smarmy, inspirational "overcome all obstacles" type of story. By going the other way it didn't do itself any favours. I think that it needed to go somewhere between extremes & less predictable.

    What the character endures is not easy by any imagining but he does himself no favours. It's hard to imagine that he'd have faced any adversity in his life & come through it well. Admittedly it's hard to know how much it is about his own condition & how much is guilt, but in the end it makes no difference. He seems not to care much about his own life, and that's how I felt about him too.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • When the Stars Fall to Earth: A Novel of Africa

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Rebecca Tinsley
    • Narrated By Holly Villaire
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (59)

    When the Stars Fall to Earth is the story of five young Darfuris trying to make sense of their changing world in a time of war. Their lives come together in a tale of love and loss, self-reliance and courage, fear and violence. They overcome the ultimate challenge: to become proud survivors with a future rather than defeated victims, despite the tragedy enveloping them.

    P. Burdge says: "International Disgrace: Our Disinterest in Darfur"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I really wanted to read this to learn more about the situation in Darfur. I enjoy supplementing news & non-fiction with fiction stories as they can provide wonderful perspective when the author has spent time in the country as Rebecca Tinsley has.

    This was listed under literature, which it certainly isn't. The language used to tell the story seems childlike - not simple in a good way. In fact sometimes there is too much.

    I felt unable to relate to any of the characters, or to feel anything for them. All I felt was annoyance with the author for having done such a poor job of telling their story. Her characters deserved better from her.

    The issues the book is dealing with are incredibly important & need to be told. But this is not the author for the job. For good examples I'd suggested Katherine Boo (non-fiction), Khaled Hosseini and Anthony Marra.

    The sound quality of the recording was fine. The voices chosen for the characters were not great. Some of the voices sounded so unrealistic it made connecting with the character even harder. It distracted even further from the poor writing. From both a story & narrative perspective it felt like listening to a children's book.

    Overall this was a particular letdown as I am not aware of any other fiction based around the issues in Darfur. This is it & it doesn't live up to expectations.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • A Passage to India

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By E. M. Forster
    • Narrated By Sam Dastor
    Overall
    (270)
    Performance
    (164)
    Story
    (161)

    What really happened to Miss Quested in the Marabar Caves? This tantalising question provides the intense drama of racial tension at the centre of Foster's last and greatest novel.

    Diane says: "Extraordinary!!"
    "Poor sound quality"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There is a problem with the sound quality on this version of the book. It begins in chapter 2 & is very intrusive. I'd advise bypassing this version until Audible can get a quality recording.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Heft

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Liz Moore
    • Narrated By Kirby Heyborne, Keith Szarabajka
    Overall
    (870)
    Performance
    (787)
    Story
    (785)

    Forrmer academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn’t left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career - if he can untangle himself from his family drama.

    Melinda says: "Intriguing--Captivating--Altering"
    "Extraordinarily touching"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The publisher's description of the story did little to inspire me to read this book, I picked it up on sale & was blown away.

    Arthur is on first meeting, not terribly likeable. I could pity him, but there is a sense of dishonesty because he is dishonest. He doesn't like who he is & is unwilling to let others know what his life is, to the point of putting on a shirt & tie to answer the door to the grocery delivery man so he can pretend he has been working all day, while in reality he is housebound, completely alone & does little more than eat and watch daytime television.

    We begin to see through him though & what follows is a deeply moving story of loneliness.

    Kel, the popular athletic teenager is equally lonely & his story is heartbreaking from the beginning as he does his best to care for his alcoholic mother without any outside support.

    The two stories are told in parallel until their connection becomes apparent.

    Some audio books I find I can become involved in doing something else while listening. In the case of this book I didn't want to. I found I quickly became emotionally invested in the stories of the two main characters (and the other characters also).

    My only regret is that I didn't pick this book up earlier. It is absolutely a wonderful read.

    The narration is spot on.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Importance of Being Earnest (Dramatised)

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 57 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By Judi Dench, Miriam Margoyles, Martin Clunes
    Overall
    (92)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (46)

    Ever since the first night at the St James' Theatre on 14 February 1895, The Importance of Being Earnest has been recognised as one of the world's finest comic dramas. Now Judi Dench as Lady Bracknell leads an outstanding cast in this superb new production of Wilde's masterpiece, mounted to celebrate the centenary of the first performance.

    C. Telfair says: "Funny and Classic"
    "Perfection"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the easiest review I've ever written.

    If you're going to read The Importance of Being Earnest this is the copy you want. The performance is incredibly delightful & there is no way you'll have the same experience simply reading the text. I have read the text & loved it but there really is no comparison. Short of seeing it performed at the theatre this is it.

    The story itself is a hilarious "romp", it keeps your attention 100% and is wonderfully amusing.

    I'm already looking forward to listening to this performance again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Shadow of the Crescent Moon

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Fatima Bhutto
    • Narrated By Riz Ahmed
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (4)

    Set over the course of one morning in a small town in Pakistan's tribal regions, close to the border with Afghanistan, The Shadow of the Crescent Moon is the story of three brothers living through a world on fire. Two women – the beautiful Samarra and the unsettling Mina – are at the heart of the novel and through them unfolds a story of love, of loss, and how the backdrop of continuous war forces the individual to make terrible choices; to choose hope over love, the future over the present.

    Rochelle says: "Well crafted, enchanting story"
    "Well crafted, enchanting story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I enjoyed this story greatly. It is beautifully written although I felt it stumbled at one or two points. It's easy to connect with the characters & the descriptive prose is delightful - neither over or under done. It was easy to read in one sitting as the story is a compelling one.

    The stumbles were very small & barely detract from the story - a short cheesy kiss scene, and a brief but dated description of a mobile phone. It's a shame as without those two extremely minor points I felt the story could almost sit beside Khaled Hosseini's work (The Kite Runner). If you enjoy Khaled Hosseini's work you will probably enjoy this book as well. In spite of my comment about these stumbles they really were the only weak points in an otherwise great novel.

    From this book I learned about the diversity that exists in the young country that is Pakistan. It added a further & fascinating dimension to news coverage & other stories I've read about the area.

    It is a beautiful debut novel & I look forward to seeing more from Fatima Bhutto.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Schroder

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Amity Gaige
    • Narrated By Will Collyer
    Overall
    (36)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (35)

    Attending a New England summer camp, young Eric Schroder - a first-generation East German immigrant - adopts the last name Kennedy to more easily fit in, a fateful white lie that will set him on an improbable and ultimately tragic course. Schroder relates the story of Eric's urgent escape years later to Lake Champlain, Vermont, with his six-year-old daughter, Meadow, in an attempt to outrun the authorities amid a heated custody battle with his wife, who will soon discover that her husband is not who he says he is. From a correctional facility, Eric surveys the course of his life to understand - and maybe even explain - his behavior.

    Stacy says: "perfect"
    "Hugely Overrated"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Anthony Marra
    • Narrated By Colette Whitaker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (149)
    Performance
    (136)
    Story
    (133)

    Anthony Marra transports us to a snow-covered village in Chechnya, where eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night, accusing him of aiding Chechen rebels. Across the road their lifelong neighbor and family friend Akhmed has also been watching, fearing the worst when the soldiers set fire to Havaa’s house. But when he finds her hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives. He will seek refuge at the abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded.

    Ryan says: "A bleak, beautiful debut"
    "Stunning"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The New Republic

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Lionel Shriver
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Edgar Kellogg has always yearned to be popular. Bored rigid by his pedestrian life as a solicitor, Edgar decides to risk everything on trying to make it as a journalist. When he’s offered the post of foreign correspondent in Barba - a Portuguese backwater that has sprouted a terrorist movement - Edgar leaps at the chance to replace a blowhard called "Barrington Saddler" who’s disappeared. But the more Edgar learns about his posting, and his larger-than-life predecessor, the more he realizes that it’s not Barban terrorism he’s covering; it’s Barrington Saddler.

    Rochelle says: "Disappointing"
    "Disappointing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lolita

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Vladimir Nabokov
    • Narrated By Jeremy Irons
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (78)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (48)

    Savagely funny and hauntingly sad, Lolita is Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel. It is the story of tortured college professor Humbert Humbert and his dangerous obsession with honey-skinned schoolgirl Dolores Haze.

    Jefferson says: "Disturbingly Wonderful"
    "Consumate performance of this wonderful book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Breakfast of Champions

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Kurt Vonnegut
    • Narrated By Stanley Tucci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (527)
    Performance
    (183)
    Story
    (182)

    Breakfast of Champions is vintage Vonnegut. One of his favorite characters, aging writer Kilgore Trout, finds to his horror that a Midwest car dealer is taking his fiction as truth. The result is murderously funny satire as Vonnegut looks at war, sex, racism, success, politics, and pollution in America and reminds us how to see the truth.

    Glenn says: "My favorite Vonnegut book"
    "Best of Vonnegut"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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