As a longtime Arcady Renko fan, I was expecting to like this book, but just how great it was took me by surprise. All the books have been great, starting way back with Gorky Park, but this was perhaps the richest, most intricate, most haunting and most soul-satisfying of all of them.
Renko's economy of words and understatement of even his thoughts brings us readers into the irony of his world and the perversity of the situations in which he seems to find himself.
The reader is wonderful, creating the characters, especially the old men, of the novel. But he is at his best expressing Arkady's thoughts and his spare, restrained manner of conversation. This book has a perfect match of narrator and character.
In all the Renko novels there is a wealth of detail, coupled with the bringing together of these details to complete the picture as the story comes to a conclusion. Stalin's Ghost is no exception. Even the details of dreams and hallucinations are woven into the plot. The end of the book was like seeing the seemingly disparate pieces of an abstract puzzle satisfyingly assemble into a clear picture.
The story is haunting, gritty, ugly, beautiful, and utterly engrossing! It is not just a good story, but good writing at its best. The best thing I have put into my ears for quite a while.....
Elegant writing. Masterful narration. The mood remains even after the book is over. And best of all, there are 17 more of them in my future!!
I have no idea why I picked this book. Not in my usual profile of whodunnits and police procedurals. But so glad I did!! A delight from start to finish - witty, well-written, fascinating in its engineering details (and i am no engineer), interesting in its travel information, delightful in its cast of characters, and soul-satisfying in its conclusion. I can think of half a dozen people I'd like to give it too! If you ever navigate a boat or airplane, or ever build a model, this book will delight you!! And also if you DON'T navigate anything..... Just a terrific listen. Narrator excellent and 'in the spirit' of the humor of the book!
I listened, or rather started to listen to this right after Nevil Shute's Trustee from the Toolroom. What a letdown. Eliptical gushing prose, frequent hyperbole concerning floating or despair, endless whining about real or imaginary childhood injustices, just hours of glop and never got better. i quit as our heroine had just figured out she had been lured, penniless and alone, into a heroin den. If you are a chickflick person you might like it. Even the mostly-half-in-tears narrator seemed bored with it. Buy Trustee from the Toolroom instead - you'll love it!!
Poor Herzog! Brilliant, obsessed, twice divorced, broke, bruised by everything from real estate to child custody. How could I like him so much and hope for a happy ending to a book so full of the complexity of life? But I did. Perhaps it was the overwhelming passion he feels toward everything, both good and bad, past and present, that kept me with Moses Herzog throughout the book. Very little overwhelming passion exists in the world....
Malcolm hillgartner's narration catches the manic intensity of Herzog's rants (sections a visual reader might choose to skip) without being annoying. The narration also amplified the touching aspects of the story and its protagonist.
I feel I have explored the personality of Herzog more deeply than I have most actual people I know. And this exploration has shown me much to like, admire and sympathize with. An intense book that I am glad I read.
I generally dislike books in which the protagonists get deeper and deeper into trouble. In The Foreigner, Emerson, a Chinese American, goes to find his brother after the mother has died. He finds a disquieting world of Asian corruption and dangerous family ties. Horrible plot - right? Well along the way we see into the repressed, tenacious, ultimately even noble soul of this odd main character, and find something there to like. I enjoyed this book and am still thinking about it quite a while after finishing it.
James Chen's Asian accent narration and ability to convey the innocence and earnestness of Emerson as he navigates the snake pit of relatives and the flower garden of interested potential girlfriends is just wonderful!
After loving "the Book of Air and Shaddows" I rushed to order "The Forgery of Venus" and boy am I glad I did!! The story is a delightful roller coaster of twists and turns with an engaging protagonist (or possible two - does he have a 17th century doppleganger?) and an encyclopedic view of the Great Masters of painting, especially Velasquez. Add halucenogenic drugs, a few ex-wives, a (possibly) evil mastermind, and a lot of fascinating detail abour food, wine, and art forgery, and there you go!! What a ride!!
I liked this narrator a lot. Better than the much more obtrusive voice of the narrator of "Air and Shaddows". He had the job of voicing two people speaking, and he did it clearly but without resorting to accents, manerisms or other bothersome tricks. In voicing the main character, Chaz Wilmet, he was just excellent, with the undertones of frustration, agitation, craziness and philospphical acceptance all perfectly appropriate but so understated i felt like it was my own voice comprehending the words in my head.
Hey Audiblre - Why are two of this author's books available only in abridgement????????????
This author was new to me. I bought the book based on its summary in Audible. Lost Shakespeare manuscript, mystery to unravel, etc. the sort of thing I like. What fun it turned out to be! We get to follow from several characters' perspectives the tracking down of this, possibly fraudulent, enigma. We even get an intriguing fragment of real (also possibly) 17th century letters concerning the S- man himself. Worth millions. Possibly... While all the while exploring the psyches and libidos of all involved. Add Russian gangsters and a convict priest -- what's not to like?
The reader was not new to me, however, Stephen Hoy had narrated Hiassen's book Star Island, which I hated. One of that book's least appealing characters is the irritating, grasping mother, read with an even more irritating parody of a Brooklyn Jewish accent. There was a mother in Air and Shaddows also, but she was Italian, and a highly literate librarian as well. But I guess mr. Hoy has only one mother voice. Despite this, and his kind of insinuating style of delivery in general, his narration did begin to grow on me.
Throughout the book the reader is led down the garden path, along with the gullible characters. But we are too smart for him, right?? All of which makes the ending of the book all the more delightful! This book does not appear to be one of a series, (my preference) although the main protagonist is an intellectual properties lawyer, who could potentially ferret out more literary secrets. But I have not seen the last of Michael Gruber.
As a dedicated Kurt Walllender fan, I felt I knew what to expect in this book, just another in the excellent series. Wallender introspective, police procedure grindingly glacially, Sweden bleak and foggy. I was not expecting Latvia. Wallender is out of his never-very- comfortable comfort zone and spends much of the story in horror at getting himself embroiled in an illicit trip behind the iron curtain. Unlike some of the other, more procedural books, in this one he finds a depth of his own bravery and capacity for heroism that astounds him, and us.By the way, the trip to Latvia is off!! At least the treacherous cold war era Latvia Wallender navigates in The Dogs of Riga!!
Any book in this series is an excellent listen. Narrator Dick Hill adds a dimension to the character of the Swedes who people the books without endless annoying overacting and bogus accents. His reading of Wallender captures the world weariness and indecision of this very human character.
This book continues the lives of George's enjoyable characters of the London CID. As in the other books, Barbara Havers steals the show. In this long and complex tale, themes of sexual confusion and infertility are everywhere. It' s a page turner for your ears!
The narration is excellent, with the flexible voice of Davinia Porter taking all the diverse parts with authority.
It's long, and soap opera-y, but enjoyable. Cut it?? Never!!
The book begins with such gratuitous violence and upsetting torture I did not get any further. A shame this is needed to sell what otherwise might have been a good read. I wouldnot listen to anything written by this author again.
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