This is a beautifully written book with powerful characterization. It is told from three points of view - a story-telling technique that I happen to love because I know how difficult it is to write. Jess Hall is the younger brother of "Stump," a mute; Adelaide Lyle is an elderly woman and former midwife; and Clem Barefield, the town sheriff. The brothers, Jess and Stump, are endlessly curious which leads them into trouble and unleashes a chain of events that leads to a tragic climax.
What I most loved about this story was the way the author crafted the characters revealing bits and pieces of their pasts with both delicacy and power. I especially loved Clem for his essential goodness and his weariness of the evils of the world. The author's ability to convey a sense of place through the personalities of the people that inhabit it is mesmerizing. The ending is heart-breaking but believable. Altogether a great read.
The narration was excellent - I especially loved Mark Bramhill, whose strong, gruff voice perfectly embodied the world-weariness of a small town sheriff who has just seen too much and is tired of it all.
I bought the Audible version originally but wound up buying the Kindle version to finish reading. Connolly is a fine story-teller and this is an exceptionally interesting story with lots of plot twists and intriguing characters. Maybe it's just me but I find his "love scenes" to be his weak point. Too many "long moments" and "reaching for him/her" but since those seem to be incidental to the story it is a minor complaint.
I did not enjoy the narration. I felt the narrator tried too hard to make the voices of the various characters distinctive almost to the point of caricature.
Still a gripping tale and well worth the time spent reading.
James Dickey was a poet with an astonishing ability to blend the terrifying with the beautiful. This story is a perfect example of his skills. Will Patton's narration was spot on (as always.) A perfect blend of fine story-telling and skillful narration.
James Lee Burke is one of the finest writers in America today. His ability to capture the nuances of place, culture, and character is unrivaled and he is never better than in his Dave Robicheax novels. Robicheaux is both deeply spiritual and deeply flawed. As he continues his on-going fight against some of the most diabolical and perverse segments of society his fight with his own failings is always at the core of the story. In this multi-layered story as he attempts to find a missing singer whose sister has been pulled out of the bayou frozen in a block of ice, he encounters another purely evil character, Alexis Dupree, and his equally depraved son/grandson, Pierre. This time the stakes are higher because Dave's daughter Alafair is involved, his longtime friend and partner Clete Purcell seems to be sinking further and further into his addictions and wild behavior, and Clete's long-lost daughter Gretchen has joined them.
This is a great, tense, incredibly dark story -- bayou noir -- filled with outstanding characters and Will Patton does a superb job of capturing the personality of each one. This is a perfect combination of outstanding writing and outstanding narration.
Mary Doria Russell has the uncanny ability to create characters that are so real and so human that you feel like you know them. I wasn't sure what to expect from this book but the kid in me could not resist a book about childhood heroes. I never expected the total treat that this book is -- not because of the story, but because of the way these characters rise above the expectation that they will revive childhood fascination and become people the reader could know.
I am a reader who wants characters I can love and that I can cheer for. Like many people I've seen lots of movies about the Earps and the gunfight at the OK Corral and all that stuff. Wisely, Russell let the things we all know be just a part of the background and she focused on the people, the humanity of the people, that those legends were. I loved every character in this book. I loved the whores - educated, passionate Kate and stoic, vulnerable Mattie and practical, loving Bessie. I loved the Earp brothers, Morgan and James and especially Wyatt. I loved Bat Masterson in all his dorkiness. I loved the old priest and thought the scene after the funeral where they get drunk and start telling stories was one of the funniest I have ever read.
But most of all I fell in love with Doc. Russell's John Henry Holliday is a brilliant, passionate, loving man -- a Southern gentleman to the nth-degree with a big heart and a failing body. Toward the end of the book, when, despite his advanced tuberculosis, Doc stands up for Wyatt, Morgan Earp says that he now knows why fighting the Confederate Army was so difficult if all the Southerners were as tough as Doc.
The final scene, when Doc plays The Emperor's Waltz while his friends marvel at his tenacity and then dance, had me in tears. This is one of my favorite books in a very long time.
Mark Bramhill's talent as a narrator lent itself well to this story. His mastery of the various accents an his ability to portray the various characters so skillfully made this a delightful listening experience.
This is one of the most disturbing books I have read in a long time. Told from the perspective of Jacob Barber's father, a successful attorney, it shifts back and forth in time between an inquest in which Andy, the father, is being questioned and the book's main narrative. The writing is good and, though it did seem a bit over-wrought in places, I never lost interest.
When a fourteen year old boy is found knifed to death in a nearby park suspicion falls on Andy Barber's 14 year old son, Jacob, a classmate of the dead boy. The narrative is mostly about the trial and the revelations that begin to unfold about the problems within this family and the secrets Andy has kept all his life about his family history, including his father who is serving a life-sentence for murder.
Slowly we begin to realize this family has a LOT of secrets. Jacob was bullied in school by the dead boy. Jacob has some very disturbing behaviors of his own. Laurie, Jacob's mother, is shocked when she finds out about her husband's secrets and is unable to reconcile these revelations and their implications for her own son. When a psychiatrist adds some frightening (and I thought specious) opinions about Jacob's behavior, Andy overlooks them but Laurie becomes obsessed with them.
This is an extremely complex story and the ending is quite disturbing. I'm not really sure how I felt about it. I admired Andy's ability to trust in his son and I found Laurie's inability to do that quite upsetting. This is not a book one soon forgets -- and that makes it a better than average read.
The narration was quite good. Since I live in the Boston area, I especially appreciated the narrator's ability to handle the local accents.
I'v read this story many times but when I saw that Jim Dale was narrating it I just had to buy it and listen. It was worth every penny and minute. Though the story is one of my favorites from childhood, listening to him read the story was a whole new experience. He is quite simply astonishing. Like he did in his narration of the Harry Potter books, he uses so many unique and wonderful voices that you know which character is which without being told. If you already love this book, you'll love it even more hearing him read it and if you do not know the story you are in for an incredible treat.
Geraldine Brooks' novel is based on a true story of the first Native American man to graduate from Harvard University. It is set in Cambridge and Martha's Vineyard in the late 17th century and is rich in meticulous historical detail. Some readers found the speech, authentic to the era, difficult but I loved it. The story itself is about Bethia Mayfield, a young woman who befriends the Wompanoag man, Caleb, and who longs for an education that is denied her at the time.
I loved the historical detail and the language however I did find some of the plot shifts rather forced and some of the characters underwent personality changes or no apparent reason that seemed a bit jarring. The narration, however, was very trying. I have admired Jennifer Ehle as an actress in "Pride and Prejudice" and "Possession" but her narration of this story was so annoying I finally gave up listening and read the latter half of the book. She takes such care to enunciate each word that the narration sounds clipped and choppy. This is a book that is better reading than listening to.
Conrad's strange, frightening and bizarre story is one that has always haunted me since I first read it in high school. Now, forty years later, Kenneth Branagh's intense performance brings it breath-takingly alive. This is a deep, strange, haunting work and, in its own way, more relevant than ever. Sheer genius.
Many more people have written better reviews of this book than I can but I absolutely loved it. King's construction of the physics involved in time-travel is mind-bending. His imagining of what might have happened had JFK livid -- a worst-case scenario -- is genuinely horrible. But above everything is the love story between Jake and Sadie. The last scene is about as beautiful as anything I have ever read. Love this book!
I thought Craig Wasson did a good job with one exception. I realize it is difficult for men to do women's voices and, for the most part, he did a good job except for the character of Sadie who always sounded whiny and like she was about to cry. I found that distracting. A few of the other minor characters were a bit extreme for my taste but, overall, his narration was enjoyable.
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