After the first three hours, I almost put this one away. I am so glad I did not.
In those first three hours, the simplicity of the main character almost drove me away. In the end, I came to appreciate his simplicity more than anything.
Once Smithson Ide begins his long journey, breaking free from his cloistered, pathetic existence, the story quickly gains momentum. I became engrossed in his quest, remembering simple joys I have not thought of since childhood. What followed was an entertaining listen, sincere retrospection of my own life, and a main character I will not soon forget.
Through all the tragedies that befall him, Smithson Ide's decency and appreciation of the great gift of life lift him to a higher existence.
Well done, Ron McLarty - on both fronts. Good writing and sensitive, meaningful narration. I would highly recommend this book to others and look forward to your next effort.
Steinbeck's description and reverence for the land - as great as the characters and plot are, there is just nothing like Steinbeck's portraits of the Salinas Valley.
Kate Trask might be the most malevolent, truly evil character I've ever encountered.
Yes, though not possible due to its great length.
I couldn't listen to this - Arte Johnson's narration is so bad that you cannot concentrate on the story. He reads in such a halting style (and without appropriate pauses) that you can't follow the story.
I like Carl Hiaasen's work. If you're looking for entertaining pulp fiction, his work can fit the bill - just NOT when narrated by Arte Johnson!
Just about anyone. My best friend Steve? The guy who used to work at the radio station here in town? In all seriousness, I've enjoyed several Hiaasen books narrated by George Wilson. Was he not available? Then Lee Adams or Stephen Hoye should have gotten a call.
If you ever do this book with a different narrator, I'd like to give it a try.
Absolutely. As a matter of fact, I intend to listen to this book again in a few months. This book is haunting - and hopeful.
The death and subsequent burial of Hig's dog (and its aftermath) was heartbreaking.
The initial encounter of Hig, the old man and his daughter. Wonderfully suspenseful and comic at the same time.
A little Cormac McCarthy, a little Hemingway. Well worth another listen.
I would rate this book as "satisfactory." So no, I would not recommend it to a friend. I didn't hate it, didn't dread listening to it. The plot, though predictable, is solid. The characters are interesting, but not engrossing.
I was reminded that it might be a good time to take a nap.
Jim Broadbent did an excellent job of reflecting the deep emotional scars of these characters. What he did not do was portray a marked difference in the characters. In the end, almost all felt like the same person.
Why? To end insomnia in our lifetime? Once is enough.
There are two books that immediately come to mind which did a much better job of telling a similar story than this one:
"Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" by Helen Simonson
"The Memory of Running" by Ron McLarty
Not much. This book was heavy-handed and clumsy throughout. From the summary description, I expected a tragic-comedy. All I got was boredom.
I suppose I was expecting something a little lighter. A little more levity and wittier dialogue could have done this book a world of good.
While I've never been a big fan of Scott Brick, his solemnity can sometimes add the proper nuance to the right type of book; this wasn't the right type of book. He's much more suited to science fiction, in my opinion. Put him in present-day America and he drowns everything in melodrama. Again, I'm not his biggest fan.
Disappointment, I suppose. By the end of the third hour, I knew what was going to happen.
See headline ^^^^^^^.The deadpan, dead-on narration. The wonderful character development. The turn of phrase (and there are many) that still makes me laugh out loud spontaneously.
Occam. The dog, not the man. I'm not a groiner by nature, but I can play that role...
This book reminded me of the early works of two of my favorite authors, before they became "serious writers" - John Irving and Richard Russo. Much like "Straight Man" and "Nobody's Fool" by Russo and Irving's "The World According to Garp," I enjoyed the character development of this book.
I liked these people - and I especially liked the fact that there was no single protagonist. I wanted them all to be successful in the end. It's not a world-changing book. It won't win the Pulitzer. But I thoroughly enjoyed the storytelling, and that was refreshing.
In this book, Susanna Clarke brings a fresh, inventive twist to storytelling that I found most enjoyable. Throughout the book, she succeeds in combining factual events and historical characters with the mystical, nether-realm of magic. It is a style very much like Dickens. In fact, I felt as though I were listening to a work of Dickens throughout.
Simon Prebble does a wonderful job with the narration, creating distinct characters and setting the dark mood of the work successfully at every turn.
As enjoyable as this book is, it is not for the undisciplined listener. It is long and demands attentiveness.
This is the first Audible product I purchased 2 1/2 years ago, and it's still the most enjoyable.
I have listened to the complete work three times now. Whenever I'm bored or dissatisfied with the selection I have made for the month, I pull excerpts of this book off the shelf and listen to it instead. What more can you say?
I have since collected all of Bryson's works offered by Audible and thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. But this one is still the king.
This book is the perfect example of what can happen when you combine an endlessly fascinating subject with humorous, intelligent writing and narration.
This is the best example of what Audible has to offer.
I first read this book in paperback 20 years ago and couldn't wait for the unabridged version to come to Audible.
I had forgotten many details of the story, but I knew that the key to enjoying this book would be in the narration. This book is such a swirling stew of outrageous characters, no mere mortal could attempt to commit it to the spoken word.
Barrett Whitener was up to the challenge.
As a son of the South, I have a keen ear for Northern or Midwestern interlopers who attempt the patterns of Southern speech. Adding to my suspicion was the unique brogue of New Orleans required to authentically portray these characters.
Mr. Whitener started slowly. His portrayal of the complex, bombastic Ignatius J. Reilly was sputtering and stilted in the first two chapters. But then he began to find his stride with Ignatius and soon began adding extra flavor to the many quirky, hillarious characters that make this book what it always has been - an American original.
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