San Francisco, CA USA | Member Since 2008
This is more or less extracts from the diary of a self conscious introvert with big self esteem issues. It doesn't go anywhere and doen't even offer any hopeful images of elite boarding schools. It is a depressing horror saved only by a level of fascinating detail (like watching a car crash) and an excellent performance.
I liked the premise, and the eve of WWII period piece details were good as Josh gets transported back in time from 2000 to 1941.
Marginal character development -this has more than a touch of romance novel; Josh is almost perfect in appearance and deeds. Some odd anachronisms in the details and language. I was happy enough to finish it and can even imagine reading a sequel (my standards aren't all that high...) but I did find myself rolling my eyes at some of the language and plot holes.
late in the book Theo remembers or imagines his father saying. And for all else, this IS an intriguing and entertaining story. Picaresque, it ranges from Theo’s coming of age in a forlorn Las Vegas suburb with his inexorable friend Boris to Manhattan and the furniture buying habits of the very rich. Of the many startling but believable coincidences, major and minor, I give one example: The Goldfinch painter and Rembrandt student Carel Fabritius died young in a huge powder magazine explosion in 1654 and, early in this book his painting is in an explosion at the Met in New York. (The painting is amazing and a most elegantly simple masterwork. I want to see it in the Hague someday).
Like complex clockwork, the story needs all of the small pieces that add up to 32 hours. Some scenes could even have gone longer; more could have been said and it would have been okay. There is a delicacy to the detail of description and narrative that I find appealing. I have always loved picaresque novels most of whose plot twists seem far less plausible than these.
The narration is great. I am speaking with Ukrainian eccent all the time now I finish book. A good listen.
the setting and events of pre-partition India (1930-1947), mainly Calcutta, and the early horrifying picaresque plot take it farther.
The heroine, born Pom, is terrifically honorable yet she is tormented throughout by having to keep her origins and early life a secret. A few easily swallowed implausibilities in her early life kept me aware that this was fiction. Lovely descriptions of her world -colors, scents, textures, food. The hero is missing some dimensionality -while she does describe him, I found I could not picture him and his origins and early motivations -he works for what is in part a secret police organization- are not revealed
I sometimes felt that I was being told the story by someone who, had been part of the Brahmin elite and was somehow narrating someone else's story rather than someone who rose from a very low caste. In a way, it is a credit to Sujata Massey, who did not live in this culture or near this era that she channels the product of some elite Indian boarding school.
Glad I read it.
or, to some, Engineering Porn. There aren't many thrillers that use this much mostly plausible science and engineering. Like so many books, the ending, while appropriate, felt a bit rushed and less complete than the earlier shenanigans
R.C. Bray is perfect. More than any recent audiobook I can remember, he WAS the main character, Mark Watney, stranded on Mars yet cracking wise in the most dire of straits.
It is an important and good thing that this book gives readers a glimpse of the true horror of DPRK. But ultimately this is a story (as Adam Johnson tells us in an afterward) and while I think it intends to show us how REAL people suffer, the fantastical, which makes it such a great read, makes the characters stay on the page.
The narration is super. James Kyson Lee as the voice of the PA system in every home -reminded -irony in some way no?- of the disembodied PA voice in M.A.S.H.
I had tried to post a review with a bunch of links in it. A no-no I guess. North Korea information sites and Kim Jong Il's movie star mistress, Song Hye-rim's Wikipedia page.
His story in last week's New Yorker about his penchant for collecting errant golf balls prompted me to start relistening to this. We had originally listed on a cross country drive so the story of the chemical tanker was perfect. Then, in Wyoming, the BNSF coal train segment was playing as we drove quite close to Powder River where the coal conveyor belt starts. It is a (dryly) FUNNY book (his narration makes it more so) with just the right amount of his personal bias built into the lush descriptions of all these folks who MOVE things.
This is one of the few books I leave on my phone permanently.
First, thank you Melinda. I follow you eagerly. I don't read too many thrillers or spy stories but I trust your judgement and was not disappointed.
This book feels real and feels contemporary. I can imagine it happening now ~12 years later. The Служба Внешней Разведки and the CIA are still at it -not surprising but somewhat out of sight these days. This book is taut, entertaining, and generally well written -Mr. Matthews uses language well. And it makes one think about the geopolitics that for many of us are normally in the background (though Syria is kind of highlighting Russia's ever-present ambitions.) Serious implications for us what with Russia still holding 3000+ nukes. The two main characters, Nate and Domenika are somehat unbelievable but really, suitable for the story. At the end of each chapter is the recipe of something described earlier. A cute twist, not disruptive and it made me hungry.
but still jolted by Mr. McLaren's mispronounciations. How about sluff for slough and rimpoch for rimpoche? Oh, and folks are still barring their teeth.
Good story and lots of tension. If you are someone more accustomed to conventional thrillers, you'll need to reconcile yourself to knowing in more detail what people are wearing.
I don't think I ever read a Nora Roberts novel before and skimming some of the other titles at the bookstore I'm thinking (as some have said) that this is a bit different. Glad I enjoyed it.
Dies the Fire was interesting and the clichés were newish then but by the time I've heard them this many times and there've been this many coincidences, this much incredible luck, and so many implausibilies beyond the fundamental Alien Space Bat implausibility of the disappearance of explosives/guns, internal combustion and electricity, I'm just plum tired of it. BTW, I'm surprised there isn't more use of hydraulic technology.
I like Todd McLaren's voice and his acting is good but some accents are off -don't try if you can't do them- and every ~20 pages or so there is a jarring mispronunciation. The persistent corzman/corzmen for corpsman for example is particularly grating. Okay, Obama said it this way once but multiple times in multiple books?
I think if I had known how marginal this was, I would not have gone beyond Dies the Fire but now I'm committed and my Virgo nature prohibits simply Googling the plot to find out what happens.
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