Brilliant. Compelling. Categorized as "Young Adult" but perhaps more because the female protagonist is a child, this story will break your heart on one page and on the next give you comfort. You can't help but care about the characters.
The narrator, Allan Corduner, is truly amazing as he brings life to Death, the book's narrator. I took great pleasure in how his voice messaged the words and images. I've read reviews from those who read the written words and they all complain that it was slow getting into the story, but not true with Allan Corduner giving voice to Death.
And for that, the story doesn't deserve 5 stars, but then, what's the point of 4 when overall this story is so well put together - even if I did want to throw my iPhone at the wall when I got to the ending. Listened to this for my book club and I think my experience of the book was entirely different from those who read the book. I found the book hilarious in parts. The dark humor shone in the narration that I think my friends completely missed in the reading of the book. My guess is that everyone read so quickly to get to the next twist and turn that they didn't take the time to look closely and see how things came together. I thought it was a remarkably constructed story - there's the Amy of the Diaries, the real Amy, the Nick we think we know, the real Nick and all 4 are there all at the same time. It's a brilliant listen. While I think you really have to suspend your disbelief at the end of the novel, it's a great ride.
John Lee as narrator does a fine job. Follett was so formulaic that I think an assistant must have written it from an outline. In fact, I was offended in many places. Yes. Offended. His throw-away to gays in the story was at best patronizing and at worst showed an old man trying to pass himself off as modern. It was false and offensive. Perhaps I know too many stories of WWII, seen too many movies, know too much history, but Follett brings no new insights, breaks no new ground. Quite a disappointment.
There were moments of brilliant writing, but not enough of them. There was too much absurdity - sorry for the plot giveaways, but NO company writes a blank check for research without oversight not now, not ever, so the basic assumption of this book of a research team hiding out in the jungle is absurd. The United States would NEVER let a US citizen die on foreign soil without verification of death, reclaiming the body, issuing a death certificate. Excuse me, but how would his wife claim death benefits? Now if you can get past that, well, you might enjoy the novel, or not. Patchett hit on a couple good topics, a cure for malaria and fertility - both relevant but gave them superficial treatment at best. Worst yet, there's no overarching theme to hang on to.
The narrator, Lenny Henry, captures each character's essence and vulnerability. He is magic to listen to. A Gaiman story is always a magical and terrifying experience, but Henry's narration brings it home.
Such an homage to my youth. Just good fun. Probably too many stars, but why not?
Silly is the first thing that comes to mind. And the last. In between some lapses of common sense and a plot that suffers from too much predicability. But, if you have nothing better to do while you are folding that laundry, enjoy.
Just saying - Ondaatje writes lyrically, speaks sloppily. I have listened to 4 books read by their authors, and only 1 really worked for me.
Ondaatie's voice is so old for his fictional self, Michael. It wasn't until the very end of the novel that his fascination with Emily becomes clearer, and the kind of impact I remember in English Patient is present. Expected more.
I wonder if the French are aware of how poorly their justice system is depicted. They should be protesting. The book made me laugh out loud at the incredulity of it all. If you need a good chuckle, waste your money on this excuse of a book.
After all the glowing reviews, I was prepared to be moved, captivated, engrossed. But I guess I'm out of step with all the other reviewers, and just don't get it. The characters are rendered by the author as fixed and static. Character development by caricature is stultifying.
For once, I'm disappointed by the narrator - the lethargy in the voice, the blandness of English accent and this is a Spanish novel...just didn't work for me either.
Narrator, story, concept, especially the narrator. I am so out of sync with the rest of the listeners, I hated the narrator. I wanted to love this book. I did two hours before I threw in the hat, the ear buds, and deleted it from iTunes. Sad day.
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