Well, how was Courtenay supposed to end this story based on history? I needed to hear about Gallipoli as I didn't even know where it was! I have seen people just shake their heads in mention of it, so I needed this book with its carefully planned descriptions -- rats included! Courtenay is not simply taking a stand against war, like choosing milk over lemon. He expresses several times his gut level take on the results of old men planning a war that young men will die fighting. I have sat frustrated in staff meetings with lieutenant bars on my own shoulders across from a grizzled and giggling major, while waiting for an elderly Lieutenant Colonel way past his sell-by date to say, "Well we kicked that around enough -- " without making any decision whatsoever! I have seen how ego rules these matters. And my Vietnam veteran husband left a poem about old men playing dominos, the domino theory being a knee-jerk shorthand picture of strategy in Southeast Asia where so many of his friends died, including Jack Freppon, a blond orphan raised in NYC's Harlem by a black family. Jack was hit while waving to his friend across a hillside.
Courtenay set up the shocking end to this book by carefully describing the various family members and how their lives were moving along as WWI approached. He even describes Victoria's "toilette" on the day she meets with David and Abraham Solomon. This is a marvelous lesson in dressing for success practiced decades before its time: no makeup, hair in a bun, neutral colors, sensible shoes. And Hawk's first idea had been to have her tart herself up! She has already finished law school. We get it loud and clear that this is a powerful and determined young woman embodying oodles of potential, whether or not her brother comes forward. We see how David has taken charge of indoctrinating Joshua, how Abraham is a reasonable man sadly overshadowed by his father. Alas, while the good die young, the bad sometimes do die old! Courtenay shows us that Hawk feels his strength waning, even as his mind and will are clear. Hawk is measuring himself against the task at hand, doing his best to set precedents that will reward future generations.
Then Ben comes forward as a true hero, a man who can always think what to do next when others are literally losing their heads. We know he is handsome like his Dutch father, but I fell in love with his intensity, his coming up with creative solutions to impossible situations. Anyone forced to work for an inadequate supervisor can appreciate how Ben is able to work with a real weirdo young OIC and turn him into a cooperative team member and ultimately a friend and brother. Suddenly we see the results of constant practice of a skill -- both with the rifle and in Ben's case with the Maori fighting axe. We see the men ordered to help each other, friendships formed that will have to continue in Heaven.
Sarah Atkins is a real breath of fresh air near the end of the book. Always having to scrimp, extremely modest, she is amazed when Ben treats her to a new coat in London. Another coat for her friend. Ben puts his money where they can well enjoy it. Obviously, Sarah has no clue her fiance is wealthy! These descriptions are delicious. As in, "We'll always have Paris!" or in this case, London. In looking online for historical background, I opened a 99-year-old document showing lists of nurses with sweet names like Edith and Myrtle.
No, the book doesn't fizzle at the end! We can imagine the rest. Joshua will never lead the company! Victoria will have to work with Abraham. We can hope she marries and has fine children and a real helpmeet in her partner. I would love to know more of the sources Mr. Courtenay used for this story. But to take the story any further would be like kicking around ideas about Prince William and his Kate. It will be what it is. History happens. Better to stop here and get it loud and clear that wars are planned by old men and solve nothing.
Some people had a hard time with this author jumping back and forth in time, linking up all the people. I did at first, thinking, Oh, gosh, now who is this? And what color are these people? And what relationship? There are long scenes in which you simply follow one character. When I found myself not paying enough attention, I just backed up or moved to a different activity for awhile. I have only listened once -- with several back-ups! I want to get the print book. I found Edward P. Jones through the recent marketing trick in which authors told about their own favorite authors. I sifted and took notes, and came out with paydirt like this! I am pursuing African-American authors for new personal reasons. I called the suicide hotline one night recently and a man answered. I told him, "I'm going through something absolutely outrageous and it reminds me of what black people have put up with for a long time and while I'm white, if you're black, I think you can really help me!" A man's soft voice answered, "I am black." I wanted to know how black people cope, how they get up in the morning and feel hopeful. How they deal in their own interior lives with hoo-rah and nonsense coming from unworthy people who nonetheless are in positions of power, people jerking us around in our immediate personal lives, little Nazis. The conversation we had was extremely helpful, freeing me to do the most healing and beneficial thing for myself because "we could come back in ten years and maybe nothing would have changed!" This seems to me at first like giving up. Then I realized I was going into tailspins trying to write letters and getting involved in situations not my own immediate business. Emotional energy is limited.So let's save it for the poetry, music, color.
Actually, this book inspires me to do some writing, myself. Mr. Jones has a wonderful writing style, telling what a character was thinking about, who did what, who said what, but not many adjectives or even adverbs. When shocking things happen, they simply happen. This makes them more shocking. I have not read Hemingway in a while, but Mr. Jones is spare like Hemingway. And yet he pulls together a rich and colorful "known world". I see patterns of intense jealousy when some people show tremendous talent as well as good work ethic. Still happening! Strong women and weak women. Hierarchies based on energy, intelligence, inspiration -- and color. Men and women praying for all they are worth. The woman weeping as she milks the wonderful cow. The bride who is given a slave girl for a wedding gift and never actually frees her, despite saying she is against slavery! The good white man who had blackouts and might have lived longer except for a bad tooth. The ordinary house with a stairs that didn't creak and the woman living there who always had a tablecloth -- that came from intelligence, industry and refinement. I relished the way a few people got away to fresh vistas and to un-dreamed-of joy and fulfillment.
I've sent for this author's two short story collections in print because I don't do so well listening to stories and I have a huge wish list anyway. I do hope this author is percolating another good book!
I found Kevin Free a perfect narrator for this book and many others -- I have him neck and neck with Humphrey Bower, another favorite. He can do Irish and white gentlemen and low-life truly evil good ol'boys and sweet black people and uninspired black people. The reading is seamless. You forget he's reading. Great clarity, no mispronunciations. I had to google his name . . . oooh, dimples too! Thank Heaven we live in a time when talent and industry can be recognized, enjoyed and rewarded.
Yeah, I give 5 stars to fiction writers, too. I'm a doctor's daughter. In the 1940's Dad, an osteopath, survived terminal TB to begin his practice in Bakersfield, CA of dustbowl fame. He told his overweight patients to eat God's food. Our milk man brought certified raw milk to the front door. And I grew up (and later OUT) on Oroweat Honey Wheat Berry bread! Meanwhile, I was learning to follow recipes, first sifting the flour and leveling it in the measuring cup with a knife and to win blue ribbons at the county fair! Betty Crocker! And tonight I felt Dad was listening with me, telling me to pay attention because for sure the big boys have really done it now! However, Dr. Davis does point out that wheat was originally modified for greater yield, in hopes of feeding a hungry world. Greed has certainly taken over -- greed and stupidity and not really caring about people. I love this book! Thank you, Dr. Davis!
Tom Weiner reads very well. I have no scientific background. I had to just sit and listen, almost holding my breath to take it all in, almost as though it were in a foreign language. And yet, Mr. Weiner makes the following as easy as possible. The book is also well written. I loved the story about the President of the Soupbone Club. My dad would comment, "Oh, he's a walk-off!" [It seems God was making people one afternoon and left some sitting on the fence to dry and their heads off a little way. When He came back next day, they had walked off. Without their heads.] I am already following Dr. D'Adamo's Blood Type Diet plan and as I work with wildlife and love animals, I am vegan or at least vegetarian. While listening, I realized I would have to turn on my oven and look around for recipes, ask questions at my health food store and try a lot harder to cook well for myself. Dr. Davis is loving. He says more than once that people are genuinely trying to follow food guidelines, but . . . and I for one don't FEEL like exercising! My love handles ache. I live in HUD housing and the Powers that Be bring us charity junk food. Well, I just put aside a lot of it to take back to the "free" table for someone who really needs it. . . . When I think of the decades of "good" breakfasts I had, getting up so early and not wanting to go to those jobs, slightly sickened by the wheat? Maybe so. Dr. Davis mentions several specific ailments I have already suffered. . . . I don't have precious little kids to feed, but I do have long-lived parents and grandparents, baby birds to go feed, good things yet to do. Thank you, Dr. Davis, for giving me hope. And for the PDF with great recipes. As the girl said, "Because I'm worth it!"
I've had this book for awhile and have already suffered with that Angliotta person trying to read Jane Austen. She rushes and swallows the last part of every important word. The neighbor's 7-year-old would do a better job.; Anyone at all would do a better job. I'm bailing for now and look forward to hearing Davina Porter do the work justice.
The author, a white man who served in Vietnam, was the perfect person to read these wonderful stories. He pronounces everything properly and moves along in a comfortable way. I had recently listened to a novel about a stolen painting -- 32 hours of the main character being drunk or stoned. When the next day it won the Pullitzer Prize, I was ready to scream in the street! This book, however, is so deserving! This writing is so rich. Most of the stories are told from the viewpoint of a Vietnamese person,man or woman, elderly or younger, usually a Vietnamese who came to the U.S. -- usually Lake Charles, Louisiana -- to settle. Not all the stories are about war at all. Some are about family life, co-workers, romance, trying to fit the old teachings and ideals into the new American framework.
I thought I already knew too much about Vietnam. I have a half-Vietnamese step-daughter who un-friended me on FaceBook, who got into serious drugs, whose daughter photographed her pregnant belly in the bathroom to show all of FaceBook, etc. etc. As the third wife, I listened to sickening stories of cutting down our tortured soldiers in the jungle, the naughty little lizard who uses the F-word. I've been screamed at by a Vietnamese-American boss one-third my age. . . . Americans tend to assume that brown people who don't understand English probably don't have much to say anyway. Butler shows how wrong this is as he paints the most subtle thoughts of his sweet and interesting characters.
These stories call for more than one listen -- and not more than two stories at a sitting! They're pungent! And sometimes funny. Among my favorites was the sleepy girl at the restaurant and Mr. Cohen. I also loved the ending of the one about bringing grandpa home from the airport, how the family prepared a feast and was so excited to have this dear old man come to live with them after many years of separation. How could the husband offer some kind of healing to his wife? Listen and see! These stories are a treasure. Thank you, Mr. Butler!
Audible sort of, um, lost my first review. I know they got it because on Day 2 when I checked, they said it was being looked at. That was over a week ago. Now, the best they can do is tell me to rewrite it! Mary Sarah Whatzername is still a terrible reader who is still in a hurry and doesn't know how to pronounce paroxysm and a number of other good English words! I agree with the other reviewer who suggested this narrator had to "use the facilities" and they wouldn't let her out of the recording booth until she finished the book! It's two hours shorter than the other version I just finished listening to.
So here you are, audible! I will give dear Anne Bronte's masterpiece a good review under the other version. In listening to that version with male and female narrators including Ms. Agutter, a number of new truths came out that I completely missed in Ms. Agliotta's breathy, hurried rendition. Every word is beautiful!
This was $1.95 absolutely wasted!
This is a serious book, well-narrated and a not difficult listen for regular lay-persons of any religious preference. The author is quite neutral, matter-of fact, though with a Protestant born-again background. You could sit there with your King James on your lap, scribbling furious notes. Or you could just keep knitting and listen twice as I did. I don't like the title at all. It suggests a flippancy or jokester element that is not in the book. We are all misquoting Jesus simply because the original texts are lost and nobody had a tape recorder running when Jesus was teaching. His first listeners and everyone since have done the best they could. Really.
The author is a fine scholar who built on his youthful passion for Bible study and went so far as to learn the original languages and immerse himself in the absorbing study of ancient documents, second-guessing the old scribes, reasoning through all the whys and wherefores. What this book does is impress the lay-person with how much he doesn't know, can't know, and has to trust the scholars about. Mr. Ehrman gives fascinating specific examples of the kinds of mistakes that were made over centuries of copying -- some accidental, some deliberate tweaking in a time before printing presses or copy machines. There was no respect for copyright. If material was being dictated, a word that sounded similar might be substituted inadvertantly.
I majored in English, so studied Chaucer and Shakespeare. I understood that the King James Bible was not telling me to go in my clothes CLOSET to pray among the boots and tennis shoes, although that could be a good place. I also came through a rigorous Sunday School and Bible study regimen as a kid. One college required four units of religion for graduation. That expanded my understanding. A visit to the un-Holy Land helped as well. This author does not speak down to anyone. He manages to include all of us as his friends and fellow students. I stayed interested. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to decide where to stop in taking up this study. Does an eager young person learn Latin, Greek and Hebrew and start studying old documents -- or does she learn enough to appreciate the more thorny passages, the major puzzles, and then proceed to ministerial life? This is the stuff of entire lifetimes! I have to think of the people who want to learn the computer, starting with bits and bytes and ones and zeros. They don't understand that they can learn to click a mouse and be gaming on FaceBook by suppertime! At any rate, this is a book I think the whole family would enjoy together, although I would never ever insist any child sit and listen! The old folks could play it on a road trip and the kids pick up a bit by osmosis. Even a teen would best find this subject gently for himself. The author gives a history of this study of Biblical texts so that we can investigate further to our heart's content. Huge subject! Absorbing listen!
I wish I had gotten around to this classic many years ago. At this stage of my life, I am finding love and joy and good works everywhere I look. I am way, way too far along to need reminding that we all die soon anyway, or to contemplate what happens to dead bodies or any more dismal nonsense.
Yes, it's a classic and Wikipedia has a wonderful long article about this fine person.
I want to recognize Duncan Steen's wonderful, smooth reading of this work. He sounds a bit like my old teacher, Stuart Wilde, another Brit. He reads with understanding so that the listener is better able to understand also. He varies his pace and tone so that the listener is refreshed. I never had the feeling that he was just droning on. I will definitely follow this narrator.
I can't believe the people who were bored or somehow didn't get this wonderful story. There are three sisters in the story, but the youngest is not even allowed to come along. So we have two very different sisters affected by learning that the men they had pinned their hopes on had betrayed them. So we have the older girl, Eleanor, in a lifetime friendship with a young man who is like a brother, but all ready to become much, much more. Until Eleanor meets a horrible little chippie who confides to her that she is engaged to the very same man! She tells Eleanor in awful uneducated English all about the wedding plans. Eleanor quietly implodes because by this time she must do damage control with her younger sister, Marianne, who has fallen passionately in love with an enchanting young man. Their love blooms; he takes her to his home, walks her through it and they imagine it spiffed up with paint and new furniture, and they will live there blissfully together! It just gets better and better. Until it becomes clear that he has married a wealthy woman who is not a tenth as pretty or winsome as Marianne. And it comes out that he is a genuine cad, with a great career of courting vulnerable girls and leaving them in a very bad way. This man was SO handsome and SO clever and SO beguiling toward Marianne that her anguish at learning the truth -- and the way Ms. Stevenson reads Austen's words -- must be a high point in literature. Any listener with two IQ points and two ears would remember being 17 again and crying hot tears because Allen was holding hands with that other girl. Or Bill was spending way too much time with ugly pimply Toni (who was known to go "all the way"). Some of the background is different, but the youthful suffering is quite the same. Surely male listeners who have suffered over a heartless girl with a flippy pony tail will be able to relate. And the hurt goes on and on and on as the sisters analyze how right it all seemed at the time and why did he act that way and say those things if he didn't mean them? And what changed his mind? And how could he!
AND THEN JUST AT THE BEGINNING OF PART TWO, A GLITCH IN THE RECORDING SICKENED AND LAID LOW iRENE iPOD, MY MAGNIFICENT 80GB iPOD CLASSIC. SHE HAD TO BE LAID ON HER BACK, GENTLY PUNCHED IN THE BELLY FOR CPR, GIVEN INTENSIVE ENCOURAGEMENT AND AUDIBLE TECHNICIANS CALLED. WE SPENT LITERALLY HOURS DELETING PART TWO FROM THE iPOD, DOWNLOADING DIFFERENT FORMATS, BLAH BLAH BLAH. NICE PEOPLE IN THE CARIBBEAN, BUT MY iPOD IS STILL JAMMING AT THE SAME POINT. NO THANK YOU, AUDIBLE! STOP RECOMMENDING BOOKS I HAVE ALREADY READ AND GET BUSY FIXING THESE GLITCHES! ALL AMAZON'S MARKETING CAN'T REPLACE TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE!
This is the second book I have had to listen to sitting at my computer where the speakers cannot be turned up quite loud enough. I need the story on the iPod and to take to my work! That story had only one narrator and one recorded version. At least with this book I have a huge choice of narrators for a second try. Why so many? And which might be the best? In a week or two, I hope to write a happy positive review of this book with a different recording. And find out what happens to these two young ladies. Sometimes we listeners have to work hard to make our own happy endings!
I have to bail on this. The narrator sounds like she's trying to eat too-hot Scottish porridge. She reads way too slowly, and the material needs to be speeded up because it's so mind-numbingly simple! State the obvious and then explain it! I can't imagine what kind of people thought this was a great book! Having read oodles of Diana Gabaldon, Bryce Courtenay, Alexandre Dumas and more recently Jane Austen, I just can't settle for this nonsense. Also there seems to be a formula in which the heroine starts out quite pitiful and one hopes eventually soars above it all. I bailed from another book awhile back which began with an abusive father. This one begins with an educated father who is so stupid he discusses religion at work and is fired. The heroine is clueless and pregnant. It is too stupid and sad. What happened to heroines who are strong and resourceful from the get-go? Anybody read A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich? Awesome good read! And that is my basis for comparison.
This book is about young ladies in England over 100 years ago. Their mail service was better than ours today, plus they had servants to run errands. As ever, these young ladies possess varying amounts of confidence, beauty, money, education and talent. The whole idea is to marry well, preferably for love. About like now except it was much more difficult then for a single woman to earn her own living and do her own "thing."
I majored in English and probably read this book and probably saw the movies, but I don't remember being so engrossed in all the fine points of the story. If I saw this on PBS, it was too many very similar girls in little tight dresses walking in gardens with foppish gentlemen. Actually listening to the words -- and more than once, please! -- delivers a wonderful experience! You can't tear through this material just to see what happens next! You already know almost everybody gets married off in the end. I found Sparks Notes for the novel and after two listens am not 100% clear on who is who. I think the more listens I give this, the more delicious the story will be, as in, "Oh, here comes the good part!"
One Audible reviewer said the characters were dis-likeable. Yes, wonderfully so. One new wife is nauseating, coarse and presumptuous, a huge snob. Juliet Stevenson gives her a horrible nasal voice! Most disgusting! The woman is a total bitch. She leans on one young lady to push ahead and get her a governess job with one of HER high-class friends! The girl sweetly and repeatedly tells her no, not to do that, but there is no taking no for an answer! The woman goes ahead, with disastrous results which she doesn't even realize! She is too stupid to be uncomfortable when the whole business falls through and has to be smoothed over with others.
Another character, a well-born but very poor maiden lady who is included in all the parties and never EVER shuts up, is wonderfully portrayed by Stevenson. This took preparation because Miss Bates is just gasping and so full of gratitude and sweet nonsensical comments. I think I do that sometimes. . . And the main character makes fun of Miss Bates in the presence of several other people. Snide comments are nothing new. The poor little lady doesn't even quite get the joke, but the others do. Emma is not very nice at the beginning, but she gains in compassion and graciousness through the story. Near the beginning she discourages a younger girl from pursuing a love interest that would have been suitable. She comes to regret that. And before it's over, she tells the same girl she would not presume to advise her about such a thing. How many of us today lean on each other for this or that reason -- rather playing God when it is not our place!
This tale does have sex and violence, but it is certainly not fifty shades. They talk about platonic man/woman friendship versus "making love" which only means carrying on a romance, but -- well, fully dressed and talking in a flirtatious way -- not what it means now. But they know when they're teasing or leading someone on in an expectation of engagement and marriage. These girls are up for auction, and people in the market should not waste someone's time. All the fine points are discussed. Much of the fun is in imagining! As for violence, two girls are walking in the country when they are overtaken by a gang of gypsy kids, a woman and large boy. Very rough characters! One girl gets away, but the other girl is helpless. Today we would say they mugged her. Pretty frightening even today when it happens to travelers!
I don't think this is satisfying literature for everyone. Maybe if your real life is complex and upset at the moment, this would help you calm down and relax. I think in the past I thought it was just silly business of ladies and gentlemen in drawing rooms talking about the weather and their health. Oh, no! These are real human situations; and that is what makes the book a classic and Austen deserving of all her fame. Lovely book! Lovely narrator who does men's voices very well also.
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