I had heard rave reviews about this book. Granted, the author overcame some big obstacles in life, but in general I found the story and the writing to be sophomoric. It read more like an oral recounting of a number of stories pieced together. Some were entertaining but on the whole, I found the book pointless and laborious.
In my top 5.
Comparable to "Of Mice and Men" in length... but faster, more intense, more gripping.
Perfect voice & narration for this story -- low and under-produced, yet mysterious, quick, and forceful... great complement to The Pearl.
I generally like to get a lot of audio hours for my credit... so I wasn't sure it'd be worth it to purchase a book that was 2 hours and change. I was wrong. Gripping book... listens much like a thriller. Classic Steinbeck. The same way "East of Eden" navigates the unspoken rhythms of brothers and fathers, "The Pearl" spotlights the same between husbands and wives... though in a more succinct, more frenetic manner. Riveting listen.
Excellent narration. Narrator's voice was pleasing & easy to hear. Inserted some character inflections from time-to-time but at no point did the narrator try to 'compete' with the story itself. I would be happy to listen to another novel by this narrator.
For all the attention that has been showered upon WWII POW's (and rightly so), few Americans are as familiar with the narratives of Vietnam POW's. This book brings to life their stories in compelling and heart-wrenching fashion. It is a hard listen but an exceptional one. Equally as compelling are the stories of the POW's wives, who launched the POW / MIA movement in response to their husbands' captures and poor treatment. The author does a great job of interweaving these stories in a telling and timely manner. Extremely well-researched and extremely well-written account.
Sinise started a little slow (not sure how many readings he's done). Judged simply on the merits of the narration, there are certainly superior audiobook narrators. But once the character development and dialogue began, Sinise really began to shine. HIs character voices for this work were phenomenal -- some of the best I've heard on Audible. By the end of the novel, I was sold on Sinise even more than before (which is saying something).
So, so sad. Think "Where the Red Fern Grows" or "Old Yeller" or some of those novels you read in elementary school. It is heart-breaking on many levels... but you still have to read.
I had heard good things about Helprin and perhaps I started with the wrong novel... but Winter's Tale was a wholesale letdown for me. Although the plot begins with modest promise, the character development is scattered and/or non-existent. Ten hours into the work, I find myself indifferent to the plight of any of the characters. The tone is frenetic. In some instances, it resembles a children's tale, penned with the same idealism and yearning you may find in a 'Chronicles of Narnia'. But then the lily-white protagonist beds-down with a home burglar for a one-night stand and any parallel to Lewis is lost for me. At the same time, the writing is far too whimsical & detached to be taken seriously as a novel or an epic. All sense of context was lost on me.
I am generally open to most Audible narrators, and even if one may not be my favorite, I can adapt to their pacing and cadence after a few hours. I wish I could have said the same for Oliver Wyman. His voice is high and felt affected throughout, as if he were reading for a 30-second television spot as opposed to a 30-hour novel. A lot of forced emphasis.
At this time of this review, Winter's Tale has a 3.7 rating on Audible, so it's obvious that others have enjoyed. I, for one, would bypass.
p.s. in full disclosure, I did listen to this book after completing East of Eden, which is one of the best audiobooks I have ever heard... tough to follow that one!
Follett has a true gift for weaving together compelling stories. Eye of the Needle is shorter than his other works but equally as adroit at developing characters and building plot. If you didn't want to tackle a monolith like Pillars of the Earth, this might be a more palatable introduction to Follett. He does such a great job of taking you into the mind and emotions of each character, such that you identify with and empathize with the villains as much as the protagonists (mark of a great storyteller!). My only criticism with this performance was the narrator's pace. For the first half of the novel, it seemed as though he were speed-reading (almost as if nervous). I wanted him to slow down so that I could savor the writing a little more. Fortunately, his pace slowed as the book progressed. An excellent listen -- definitely a good use of a credit!
I read a number of great reviews about this book before purchasing but was underwhelmed. The story was slow, lethargic, and depressing, as was the reader's voice. Put me to sleep while driving. I would not recommend this one...
I generally enjoy books such as these but had to stop listening 1/4 of the way through. It was just dry... informative, but dry.
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