I cannot believe that this was written by a best-selling author! This was some of the most trite, overdone yet simple-minded writing I have ever read. I thing the listening made it worse. The author did a very fine job with all the accents, although they were very heavy on stereotype, but the narration was absolutely emotionless. And fast... I checked more than once to see if the speed on my device was set too fast. This was a bad book made simply awful by horrid narration.
I have so often been thoroughly engrossed in the beginning of a novel, investing high hopes in its potential, only to be let down by the author who seemed to lose any idea of where he or she is going (Night Film comes to mind). I hoped that this book would not break my heart this way, as I really loved it from the start. I was so happy that this book was true to the story right up to the very end. In fact, the final sentence wrapped up the final loose thread of the novel, and everything made sense. I loved this book, and was transported to a time and place in a rare way. The narrator is a marvel...I often think when I listen to a new Audible book "...now this is the best narrator I have ever heard", and then someone like Edoardo Ballerini comes along to make me forget the rest. He is spectacular. I really did not want to read a series, but I finished this book last night and will buy the next book today. It was that good. Just a great book, folks.
I found this book to be captivating and poignant, and I was never for a moment impatient to force this story to its conclusion. It does unfold slowly and carefully (but in no way boringly), but it ties the many threads of the story together in an elegant and masterful ending that held a lump in my throat for the last twenty minutes of the novel. I cannot imagine how this book was only a Booker Prize finalist and not a winner. The author's use of language is awe-inspiring. And the narration, especially by Jonathan Aris, is as good as I have heard. I am so happy I followed the reader's reccomendations and purchased this novel. I Loved it!
You may not agree completely with Ayn Rand's philosophy, you cannot help but be inspired by her characters. I don't know anyone who wouldn't want to assume some of the courage and dignity of Howard Roark in their own life. I love this book, and return to listen to parts of it all the time, invariably getting caught up in it for days. The narrator is excellent. This may be the best money one could ever spend on an audiobook, because you will return to it again and again.
I read the review in The New York Times and immediately purchased this title. I was drawn to the era, the late '80s, and to the prep school environment that we've all come to know from The Catcher in the Rye, A Separate Peace, etc. While I enjoyed the story, I was a bit disappointed by the manner in which the author gave such a perfuctory nod to so many aspects of the story. Few of the characters, besides the narrator, seemed fleshed out. Not that they weren't described, but they were not given life. The events of the story were often glossed over, as if the author were a tour guide, hurrying us along to the next piece of action before we had a chance to enjoy what was before us. There were storylines with certain characters (Leo, Officer Hardy to name two) that just faded away without resolution.
That said, I found myself engaged in the story throughout, and although we never know exactly how the critical event of the story actually unfolded, the author finds a way of making the resolution poigmant and appropriate. I loved the sailng scenes, and learning about navigation and the stars and the sea.
The biggest problem with the recording is the reader. I have never heard a book before this one that I thought would be better enjoyed if read instead of listened to. The reader, although passable as an 18 year-old young man, was terrible at creating voices of the other characters. I have heard many male narrators create wonderful women's voices, but the voices of the women in this novel came off as very bad charicatures, as did many of the men. There were also several words that were mispronounced--not a big deal, but a bit jarring for a professional production.
One thing that I did enjoy very much about the book is the way that a female author imbued the first-person narrative about a group of teenage boys with such a warmth and gentleness that belied its setting. I was never really concious of the author's sex, but I was concious of not worrying that the novel was going to digress into a crude boy's-school sex romp. It was not a perfect book, but I think that it is a good read, or a fairly good listen.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.