A Kinsey Millhone adventure which also shows the other side: we not only listen to the voice of Kinsey, but also to that of a sociopath Kinsey will get to meet. It makes the book extra fascinating. In my opinion, one of the better books in the series, with a very good build up to the tension, with multiple climaxes.
An extra dimension is added to the book by the narrator: Judy Kaye. With minimal means, Judy is able to give the characters their own, characteristic voice: Henry, with a slightly crackling voice, Tiny, with a dumb, nasal sound. Very well done, without it becoming at any point irritating or overdone. Instead, it makes the book better to understand, since Sue Grafton writes a lot of dialogues as only dialogues, without any comment indicating who says what. I remember from reading earlier books, I was sometimes puzzled as to which character was saying a line. With the way Judy reads it, there can be no doubt. Add to this the fact that when the tension rises in the book, her reading speeds up as well: she makes a great narrator!
This is a book I have been searching for some time: it explains quantum physics in laymen’s terms. All these mysterious phenomenon (photons, entanglement, Heizenberg’s uncertainty principle) are described in a very understandable way, as long as you pay close attention to what is being said. Suddenly, everything I had learned during my six years of physics classes in high school started to come together: the atom models, the states electrons could be in, and most of all, what the meaning is of these silly tests with screens with slits in it.
Kumar has taken a very interesting approach to his 100+ year overview of quantum physics. He takes the reader on a more or less chronological, social tour of the physics community in the 20th century, where we intimately get to know both the researchers themselves, their scientific views and the way they interact with each other. It is a well written story of how the scientific world works, an exciting discovery tour and, strange tough it may sound, it is an absolute page turner.
For me, this could have been a life changing book. Had I read this book as a high school student, it might have encouraged me to study theoretical physics.
The English narration was impeccable. A very pleasant, unobtrusive voice. Well directed and well cut: there was not a single audio editing mistake in the entire book. The pronunciation of German, Dutch and French words and names was way off, but nonetheless cute.
This book is an absolute must listen for everyone who is even mildly interested in knowing something about quantum physics or the scientific community (Einstein, Bohr, Heizenberg, Planck, just to mention a few names) behind its concepts.
Seldom have I listened to a novel that was so well built-up, so beautifully shaped and crafted. The story is simple enough: a painter attacks a painting, is institutionalized and refuses to explain his deed to his psychiatrist. Marlow, the psychiatrist in question, tries to find out why the painter, Robert, came to attack the painting. Robert only gives him two clues: a set of 19th century letters between an uncle and his niece and his permission to talk to anyone from his past.
Slowly, but steadily we find out who Robert is and why he attacked the painting. But every answer we get during this search, leads to new questions: why does Robert paint only one portrait over and over again, why the ghastly images of dead women? In the end, however, everything has fallen into place, and all the crazy behaviour seems normal and understandable.
This steady cadence of finding answers to old questions, but at the same time getting new questions that need to be resolved, is something Elisabeth Kostova thoroughly masters: this book is a wonderfully crafted puzzle. But that is not all she is good at: her main characters all have their own unique voice, which is best audible in the 19th century letters she writes that seem very authentic. And next to that it is also a story about painting and impressionism that makes you long for a visit to the nearest museum that has impressionists on display.
The director of the audio version of the book has made two rather unusual casting choices that work out fine. First, he or she has cast different voices for every one of the main characters. As every chapter is written from the perspective of one of these characters, this is not distracting at all, but adds to the unique voices that Elisabeth Kostova has written. Second, the two 19th century French characters, which mainly come to us in the form of translated letters, both speak English with a French accent. Fortunately, the accents are generally not too heavy and they are consist.
The Modern Scholar series normally provides a wonderful listen because of the academic analysis in easy to understand English. Generally, the professor herself does the reading. Though professors are clearly not professional narrators, the content usually more than compensates for this deficiency. Not this time, however. It takes M. Lee Alexander until chapter 11 before her narration comes up to speed, without far too long pauses on the wrong moments, slips of the tongue that were not edited out, starting every other sentence with 'And', combined with 'so' in the other half of the sentences. In short: the direction and editing is not up to standard and really distract from the content. Although you don't need to buy this audio book if you are looking for an in depth scholarly analysis of detective fiction. 90% of the audio book is taken up by spelling out the content of detective novels and short stories. Categories such as cosy, hard-boiled and international will not make you see detective fiction in exiting new ways. Buy it if you are looking for a very good overview of English language detectives to put on your reading list. Do not buy it if you are interested in exiting new academic insights with respect to detective fiction. And certainly don't buy it if you are easily distracted by bad narration.
An intelligent, thought-provoking book from a philosopher who likes to conduct experiments. Written in a very understandable style, without shying away from difficult words: non-specialist literature at its best.
The narration is excellent: interesting, varied, with a good sense of distinction between main sentence and subordinate clauses and no hesitation before uncommon words. One of those audio books that makes me long for my commute.
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