Mark Hammer's masterful narration of this book (and the other Robicheaux books) reveals the complexity and drama of a man whose depth of character, grief, personal struggle, and sociological conflicts are entwined with the rich, raw, and sensual Cajun culture. His subtle inflections and careful pacing exudes with authenticity, sorrow, and life-fatigue that distinguishes Dave Robicheaux's search for justice and meaning, in a world that challenges both. He faces pure evil in the person of the indomitable, elderly Legion Guidry, the portrayal of whom made the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up, with each encounter. William Patton who narrates Purple Cane Road, by the same author, is excellent in his narrative vibrancy, flexibility, and skill but tells very different story of Dave Robicheaux through his voice than that of Mark Hammer. I loved all of the Robicheax stories, but this is the best of all.
A small coalition of unexpected allies living in an old, thread bare building, band together to uncover the building's strange "behavior." Their approach to the many mysteries and problems is unique and refreshing.
In a small way it is reminiscent of American Gods in its magical realism. While AG is epic, 14 is a tiny story that "jumps the shark" in the second half aspiring to the epic--but it doesn't quite succeed in doing so.
The protagonist is delightful, earnest young guy who works at a dead end, mind numbing job who comes into his own as a courageous leader of a tentative alliance of fellow building tenants.
The writing did manage to generate a few chuckles. I found myself cheering the characters on and believing in their (totally unbelievable) mission.
The narrator did a fine job of seamlessly and convincingly speaking for a very diverse set of characters. A fun read.
If this book is representative of this author's work, never.
I would certainly give her another try as she was restricted by the quality of the material.
Can a good actor or reader redeem a lifeless, meaningless, poorly written work? I have yet to find one who can.
Easy to sleep while listening to it--no rewinding needed.
Silly, but not funny. Lively pace that takes you nowhere fast. Has a sunny California feel in a Dante's Inferno setting--very dissonant conceptually but without irony.
As a woman photographer, a lover of people and their stories, I really wanted to love this book.
Had the author settled on "what is this book" and picked a position from which to tell the stories of these women, I believe it could have been a wonderful read.
Had the author stayed with a consistent approach to these stories as a whole, kept with the emotion, thought processes, and experiences of the women rather than go on informational tangents I think it could have held together more and been more enjoyable.
The performance was fine.
The opening story had some compelling moments that were infused with authenticity and promise.
The book seems to suffer from an identity problem. Is it a documentary? No. Docudrama? Hmm, not exactly. Fiction? It is fictional, sort of, but not a work of fiction. An socialist/communist editorial? A poor one. The book is fragmented and disappointing.
I was looking forward to this listen based on other reviews. I found the story line intriguing but the language and attitude of the adult characters was crude and juvenile. I do not object to harsh or crude language as long as it is woven into the story and the fabric of the character's psyche. But here the vulgarity came across as gratuitous and unnecessarily repetitive. The indifference and superficiality of the characters was tedious. I tried but failed to like or identify with anyone in the story. There are much better books in this genre I am sorry I wasted my time on this one.
This selection includes a variety of stories each of which has a creepy twist. I suppose that is what one should suspect from such a collection. Those who seek a high creep-level will not be disappointed! Have at it. I love a good thriller or murder mystery however, in this collection I did not find even one likable character in the bunch. For me to truly engage is a story that features severe pathology or evil it has to be balanced by at least one redeeming character who represents or fights for good. If I could, I'd give you my copy!
Took me awhile to get up the nerve to start this tome--now, I can't believe it is already over. This book broadened my understanding of world politics, human nature, classism, elitism, the foundations of Western civilization, and of representative democracy. A fabulous and enriching read.
Where Ender's Game portrayed Andrew Wiggin as a brilliant military strategist-child-victim and Speaker for the Dead portrayed him as a compassionate, mature, almost messianic figure, Xenocide presented Andrew as a confused, thoroughly human, middle aged man who missed critical phases of his emotional development (while saving humanity),then marries poorly, ending up in the middle of science fiction's most dysfunctional and tragic, albeit brilliant, stepfamily.
The story starts and ends on the Chinese world of Path introducing new characters and flavors to the Ender series. However the real story takes place back on Lusitania picking up where Speaker for the Dead left off and is awkwardly sandwiched in the middle-- although Card makes a moderately successful attempt to weave the story lines and worlds together.
I agree with other readers who found aspects of the narration troublesome; the actor portraying the Hive Queen reads with a labored, creepy, sneering tone, and those reading the Chinese characters parts do so with silly, inconsistent accents make that make the reading irritating and almost comical.
There are three competing equally apocalyptic sub-plots two of which are all too abruptly and unbelievably solved. In contrast the interpersonal subplots get increasingly messy (but believable) and are left hopelessly unsolvable.
Given all of that, I really enjoyed the novel. However tedious, I especially liked the explication of theological, political, psychological, and philosophical dilemmas that reveal hidden human motivations and set the characters' heads spinning in search of solutions that allow them to preserve the beliefs at the center of their identities.
The novel left me ready to tackle Children of the Mind.
I loved this book! I listened to Operation Shylock while commuting to work--I shivered at its brilliance, gasped aloud each time I reached my destination and had to turn it off. As one whose profession it is to sort through the psychological complexities of mental illness, neurosis, psychosis, shifting perceptions and altered realities, I found the minds of the twin Philip Roths (real or imagined?) as fascinating as any patient I've ever had the opportunity to accompany through the dark abyss of self-doubt, creativity, confusion, and triumph. It takes one down thrilling internal twists and turns of the American Jewish psyche, back alleys of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and the Nazi war trials. This is one of those rare books I will listen to again.
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