South Australia, Australia | Member Since 2010
This truly is a revelation. I had read the book many years before, of course, but I had never really appreciated the way the story was told in correspondence. I suspect that lack of appreciation is a testament to Bram Stocker's skills as a storyteller and to my lack of acuity. Whatever the reason, hearing the tale told through the words of the correspondents makes it so much more intimate and exciting. It puts the Twilight Saga and True Blood in their place as pieces for their time and generations, but confirms the traditional view of Dracula, van Helsing and Transalvania as everlasting pieces of literature for all time and a mature audience. In the parlance of the present cinema, it's M15+ verging on R, but not for the sensuality (although that is there) or the viloence (of which there is an abundance), but for the themes.
As for the production, it is first class. For me it was Simon Vance and Katy Kellgren who shone; more so even than the named principals. Alan Cumming was as good as ever. Tim Curry really didn't have enough of a part to make a real impression, more's the pity. Van Helsing is really seen through others' eyes. So the Harkers stole the show. In retrospect, that's not suprising, but I had (wrongly) expected more from the principals. I also missed a voice for Dracula (because he is not a correspondent, of course). I thought Vance captured his intonation beautifully when he recounted the conversations between the Count and Harker, but with Borsi Karlof, Frank Langella and others in mind, it would have been nice to hear him speak. Alas, that was a legitimate sacrifice for the lierarary device that Stoker adopted and which this production brings to life.
Now I think I know Harry a whole lot better than when I picked up "The Bat". He and I have been through a lot together; he, and I and Jack and Jim. Long hours searching and not finding; looking in the right places for the wrong things. We have come such a long way, he and I. Well, that's what it feels like.
Jo Nesbo has come a long way, too. I wrote in an earlier review ("The Redeemer") that the plots are getting more complex and the stories richer. But, even then (only two books before this one) for all of Nesbo's Hole anti-hero charm, it was still a far cry from the sticker that appears on all his books, "The Next Stieg Larsson". I understand (from web reviews) that Nesbo hates that epithet, and who would blame him. Still, it was meant as a compliment, I'm sure, and this book takes a huge stride in the Larsson direction. It is blacker, more daring and very suspenseful. I can well see why it is being mooted as a motion picture. For my part, I highly recommended it in this genre, .
Barrett is, as I have said, now Harry Hole; tall, thin, gaunt, with the alcoholic's pallor. All of that is in his voice. Worth a good listen.
This time I read the blurb correctly; it is indeed Rusdie interviewed by Hitchens. It's not as good as the one I picked up by mistake (which is all interview and wherein they rehearse some of the stories that they abbreviate in this version), but it is still very entertaining.
Rushdie reads extracts from his then new release, Shalimar the Clown ( a great book). The reading is not great, but the insight, the wit and the freakish brilliance of Rushdie is on show in every word of every line. The little tribute to great Indian writers (by Hitchens) is also very interesting.
Another hour well spent. When someone asks you that old chestnut, if you could have dinner with anyone at all, you'll know to say Salmund (alas, Hitchens has left us).
First, my thanks to Ted (whom I follow) for alerting me to this series. It is truly a great find. It has set me on a course to explore the lesser known Shakespeare's.
Secondly, a quick note about what you might want to have handy if you want to do the same thing. Unlike a novel, it is not easy to follow the many voices unless you have the script handy. I struggled with this until I got the Letterpress Folio edition out. So, bonus, I get to hear a play I don't know so well and the sublime pleasure of following it in one of the best reproductions in print. If you don't have a Letterpress handy, any old version will suffice so you can follow who says what.
Thirdly, I found the production values to be a bit dated, but that was more than made up for by the full cast reproduction.
Finally, I thought the play itself a very interesting and topical one. It has so many ramifications for the present day lust for power, the spiral of power and corruption and the modern parable that "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely" (Acton). One can see how easily it might be adapted to more contemporary times. I have got the Raphe Fiennes movie on order now so that I test the theory.
I am looking forward to the next wet, winter day encounter with a lesser known William
It has taken me a while to get around to listening to this Member's Gift, but I am glad that I have now taken the time. It tells an all to familiar story of colonial misconduct perpetrated upon an essentially honourable, less modern civilisation.
In this autobiographical account, the Chief of the Sauk nation, Black Hawk, tells his life story concentrating on the years of the American Revolution and the expansion of settlers across indigenous lands. He states this is to correct the record. The tale is very familiar, although at least the Indians were required to be conquered and, in theory, they were protected by law; something that did not occur in my home until 20 years ago, this month (June, 2014). Even allowing for the fact that the story is likely to seek to paint the Sauk in the best light, and thereby paints the settlers in the worst light, the tale is too familiar to be fanciful, in my opinion. It made me angry and sad to listen to it and to feel its resonance.
The text is read by Brett Barry as written (or I should say, dictated) by Black Hawk. The telling is appropriate and authentic, without being inflammatory.
A thoroughly good listen to a thoroughly bad experience.
I have read a lot Dawkins and Hitchens and the difference between the two, telling the same tale about gods, is usually quite stark. On this occasion however Dawkins delves down into the arena, get his hands dirty with invective and (particularly at the start and the finish) resorts to rhetoric. Of course, in his inimatable way, he acknowledges he's doing just this and he even has the good grace to sound apologetic about that. However, the method is not as persuasive as I have come to expect from him, although the key (middle) Chapters return to the well learned practices of his past writing, full of sound reasoning, inferences and evidence.
I have some sympathy for the lack of evidence, but then I am already a "convert", to borrow from the iconology of the religiously minded. It is hard to prove a negative, as every lawyer will confirm. Still, I would have been happier with the central Chapters without the soapbox start and finish. That said, the starkness of the language and the boldness of the frontal attack have the consequence of making even a convert think about the extent of their conversion; has it gone far enough? To paraphrase a former PM, this is a book for the true disbelievers. It will probably not persuade anyone else, which is a pity.
Again, the combination of Lalla Ward and Dawkins works well for the listener.
I confess to have completely misread the blurb for this title. I thought it was Hitchens interviewing Rushdie. In fact, it is the opposite. However, that doesn't matter. The discussion on the eve of the release of Hitchens' third to last book, the autobiographical, Hitch 22, is stimulating, interesting and very entertaining. The source of the name alone is worth the listen.
Rushdie is, of course, a literary giant. Hitchens was one of the most read, and a very well read, commentator. Their long time friendship is apparent on listening and their literary games are in a class apart.
You won't regret the hour or so of your life you spend with these two.
These days we are all skeptical. This includes our perception of literary awards. Once upon a time, a prestigious award like the MAN Booker (then the Booker) would have been a strong recommendation to read and own a novel. Now I sometimes regard it as a forewarning! Accordingly, the last two awards of that famous prize have been a pleasant return to the old form.
In this deservedly praised novel Barnes achieves the rare feat of capturing a time and place. Actually, it's not so much A time or A place as capturing the state of mind that, I suspect, 90% of his listeners have visited or inhabited sometime in their lives. That place and time seemed very familiar to me although the plot line and my experience is quite different. I think this is a rare gift of insight.
I won't delve into the plot because its unfolding is a pleasure, a surprise and a joy. It made me wince and smile, in turns. Also, the book is blessedly short. Oh for the return of the short novel. Bravo!
The late Richard Morant's reading was very good, too. It completely suited the text and the principals. It took me a while to stop thinking of Julian Clary (because Morant has, for some reason, a Surrey accent), but that wasn't much of a distraction.
By the time one reaches the tipping point in a series, they might be expecting the standard and pace to level out. This is certainly not the case for Nesbo's Harry Hole series. This title is a marked development (for the better) on the previous title, "The Devil's Star"; not that it was poor - it was the best in the series to that point. It is also a world apart from the more recently released "The Cockroaches", which was in fact Book 2, and the book that I last read. In other words, Nesbo's plots are getting more complex, the characters are getting deeper (as they should after 5 books) and suspense is the winner. I normally rate myself on being able to pick the plot twist in this genre, and, although I picked the principal plot line, the sub-plot was a surprise to me.
Again, Sean Barrett does a bang-up job as Harry; again, I am looking forward to the next installment (especially with the high praise that has been bestowed upon it).
This title is well worth the read, but it probably is improved if you have read Books 3, 4 and 5 first. It can stand alone, but it is much better with the back-story intact.
I truly enjoyed this title. Not only id it resonate with my memories, but it reflected many of my own lamentations about what what I consider to be a profession, not just a job. If that is too hard a distinction, I apologise. My intent is a reflection of my own view, not an intent to disparage working in any other job or profession.
I particularly delighted in the discussion of what it is to be a good person and aa good lawyer, the drive for the almighty dollar and the unachievable, but commendable, ambition to be a good lawyer. What comes with the latter is being disliked sometimes and loved at others. Sometimes there is great reward (money or justice) and other times great disappointment (loss or injustice). Dersh' (pardon the familiarity) gets it right, in my opinion.
Joe Barret is a good substitute for the real thing. I would have loved the author to read this (as he did "Genesis of Justice"), but absent him, Barret gives a wonderful performance. I have listed to parts of it 4 or 5 times already and I will listen to the whole again within the year. It, the title, has become something that I think I will give to all my out going Clerks.
This is one of those volumes I have always meant to read, but had not. I wish I had. This is really a Manual. It is not meant to be listened to, in my opinion. It is meant to read, consulted from time to time and, if you have a combative or adversarial occupation (like mine), adapted to your application, as necessary. Many of its observations are sage and well expressed, in a pithily Oriental fashion (Confucian like).
However, it is very difficult to listen to. I persevered, but I enjoyed reading the passages that resonated with me, more. Accordingly, the performance scores are not a reflection on the narrators, but on the suitability of this text for narration. The story score reflects its applicability to what I do and the fact that centuries ago someone thought about this enough to write a manual at all.
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