Anyone interested in Eastern European history or the end of the cold war will enjoy this inside view of the amazing events and courageous acts which led to the tumbling of first the iron curtain and then the Berlin wall. Who would have thought some obscure Hungarians were behind it all?
I'm a big fan of Alexander McCall Smith, love all his Botswana and Scotland series. I would certainly read the next book in any of those series, but not sure I would chance another "free-standing" book
I like her reading overall, but she doesn't make any distinction at all for the voices various characters (male and female) except for the occasional American accent. Everyone else sounds exactly the same.
Nothing of any interest happens in this book. It's just endless rounds of frustrated love among characters who are not sufficiently interesting to care much about. Page after tedious page of a teenage girl moaning over the fact that the boy she loves doesn't love her, or she thinks he doesn't but she can't bring herself to ask... I guess we're supposed to appreciate how the daughter's love live (or lack thereof) mirrors her mother's, but all it says to me is that they share the same annoying character flaws. Mr. McCall Smith's books are always rather slow paced, of course, but I usually don't mind as the characters are richer and there is an actual plot line, such as a mystery or unexpected developments. I'm finishing this book just because I almost always finish books that I start - not because I could care less about whether Clover eventually winds up with James or not...
I've liked her previous books a lot; this one was OK but not her best
The end was reasonably satisfying, but mostly I was more than ready for it to come already
Most of the narration was good and easy to listen to, but a few of the women's voices were irritatingly high pitched and babyish. I'm sure they were meant to be that way, based on those characters, but I didn't enjoy hearing them.
I'm sure it will be made into a movie some time
The depiction of the Courtesan House culture in Shanghai in the early 1900's was interesting, but there seemed to be a lot of unnecessary repetition. Some of the description of sexual encounters and seduction are fairly graphic, maybe unnecessarily so. I did get a bit tired of the main character (Violet's) whining about not feeling sufficiently loved. The secondary characters seemed a bit shallow, more like plot devices than people in some cases.
I rarely listen to books more than once, so this question is irrelevant to my review
The story is well crafted, the characters are well drawn and entertaining, and the history relating to the partition of India and Pakistan is very well presented and fascinating and elevates the book from a light hearted romp to a memorable read.
He strikes the right level of enthusiasm and performance without going over the top, except maybe for some of the female characters whose high-pitched, nasal voices get a bit annoying
I did find it difficult to put down
A refreshingly different detective series, perhaps just a bit derivative of The Number One Ladies' Detective Agency series, but different enough to stand on its own. Does for moderm India what TNOLDA does for Botswana, but has a much bigger canvas to paint on.
If you're looking for a story about a dog, this isn't it. The author just decided to put the very human (sentient, rational, philosophical) narrator's voice into the head of a dog, whose thoughts we hear so that his eyes (and ears and nose) become our window onto the events. The only really doglike aspect of this character is his unquestioning devotion to his human family.
That said, the "dog's" point of view is interesting and charming so the device works, and the story is complex and engaging. My brother, who is a fan of car racing and an occasional amateur race driver, really liked the car racing element and felt it was authentic and really captured the thrill. I'm not a racing fan but enjoyed getting a glimpse into that world.
When one of my book club members chose this for our next read most of us were pretty skeptical -- reading about someone dissecting a cadaver?? But the book grabs you and holds on to you from first page to last... a wonderful mix of story telling, philosophy, history, science and even humor.
A good story about some good people in a very bad time. Not much has been written about this particular theater of the war, so this book is a good contribution.
I'm a big Barbara Kingsolver fan so really was looking forward to her latest. Unfortunately I haven't been finding it very captivating, and the reader is so annoying I just couldn't stand it and gave up after about an hour of listening. The reader speaks in a sing-song voice, over-emphasizing words and over-enunciating consonants... basically, it sounds like she's reading a picture book aloud to a group of not overly-bright kindergarteners. She also has a slight lisp which is a bit irritating but I would have overlooked that if that were the only problem. Because of my faith in Kingsolver I might try reading the book instead of listening to it, but I have to say it's a pretty slow start and I'm not impressed so far...
Unfortunately, the reading was so slow and tedious I couldn't get past the first 10 minutes. Maybe it's a good book, but I won't know unless I pick it up in paper form.
Many who look forward to this book because they loved "Shadow of the Wind" (as I did) are likely to be disappointed (as I was). The story line is a bit plodding and ultimately there's no satisfying resolution. Coyly dances around a "Faust/Mephistopheles" theme without committing one way or the other. Characters in some cases border on caricature. Highly forgettable book in my opinion.
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