This is a book where the message matters more to the author then the tale. Minor characters are interesting and the heroine is a bore. The reader's breathy feminine pronunciation of Stephan's (Gertrude's) impossibly naive, overly dramatic text doesn't ring true. All other personages and accents are very well done and lively. It is a cold story without humour and sufficient depth of characterization. Lust, ignorance and anger melodramatically travel with the wealthy self absorbed world famous Stephan of London and end in the arms of self sacrifice on the dismal streets of Gay Paris. As a message, the unfair historically cruel treatment of homosexuals and the absolute necessity for change, it is an important one, and vital for humane understanding of people and nature. I would have been grateful to have found and read this novel at an early age, I think.
I have read and listened to 'The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty', not all in one go, a few or one at a time, between novels or for a break, in a car on NPR, and on a plane to escape my seat companion, and I am always taken completely from myself into a world of word as music. The common and tragic tales of survivors, living as best they do, in the chaos of being alive.
The narrators are not all meant to be reading these stories to us, sadly, as much as they may love the author, but don't let those few stop you from purchasing this excellent collection. You will be transported!
I absolutely loved this book. Fast paced swashbuckling adventure, brotherly love and Bromance, Romantic intrigue with beautiful women, and the murderous machinations of Catherine de Medicis! Lust and vengeance at every turn!
What's not to like?
The two Heros are very much in the style of the later humorous and wonderful Musketeers of the 'D'Artagnan' series by Dumas. Those readers, like me, who've craved for similar stories of honour and adventure and the goodness of men against evil, will thoroughly enjoy this book and it's brilliant narrator, Robert Whitfield.
Not an easy listen but a brilliant performance by the narrator, Jonathan Oliver, and a performance it is! Melodramatic, hysterical, Tolstoy lets his audience know what he thinks of indulgence and lust.
Lazy over-fed fornicators, dressed in the false cloth of an anti-Christ Christianity. Women are to be respected, treated as sisters, mothers, daughters, not as vessels for man's pleasure. People should work, hard. Should abstain from alcohol and sexual passion. Should not marry. Should not waste important energy searching for 'love'. One should be kind helpful good and 'love' all mankind.
'The Kreutzer Sonata' is more a message, and less a novel. But, an exciting story of a murder it certainly is, and, for me at least, it is an interesting idea.
Imagine a delicately dressed, quietly soft woman, circa 1800 under the influence of Napoleon's murderous campaign against Europe, writing in the hand of Ayn Rand, in a copse in wild Yorkshire, and you have an idea of the scope of 'Shirley'. What a treat! Industrialization, striking roughs, aristocrats poor and prosperous, and the plague of poverty, struggle with the politics of embargo and isolation. There are no devils in this story, but people wrestling realities, truths of spirit, ignorance and pride. Characters are given grace and life by the impeccable narration of Anna Bentinck, and the story and words of Charlotte Bronte bring a beauty to humanity, understanding and love, that begs the ear and heart to devour more.
'Brookland', for me, was full of promise. The young protagonist, Pru, has a vision of Manhattan as an 'Isle of the Dead', seen from the 1780's Brookland shore at her parents gin distillery, and the community of mainly Dutch characters of rough drunken charm and sometimes a stiff religious zeal, bring the first half of the novel to great heights. Pru sets those heights with a burning desire to build a bridge between Manhattan and Brookline. Historically this never happened, but the family and business dramas allow this fantasy to become plausible. However, the fantasy almost destroys the wonderful richness of character development with the energy needed to narrow itself to the purpose of bridge building. As the elder members of the community die and Pru and her sisters emerge to shape the new republic, now just before the turn of the next century, the promise of a great book struggles, returns, fights again, reaches up, falls flat, crawls pitiably away, leaving the characters without a home.
I loved so much about this story, and am glad I spent time with it. I wouldn't be able to read it again, but like a dream remembered, weak and faint, it gave me pleasure, but left me disappointed with what I appear to miss.
The narrator was not the best. Males sound flat, and the women, elderly.
I loved narrator and story from beginning to end. It is the first Henry James novel to keep me wanting more and then delivering. Katherine Kellgren's reading is as multi-layered as the characters' personality in time and place, each given with respect and understanding the long long long sentence structure of James, the constant conversation of characters and their thoughts and struggles.
It is a dense novel, practically action less, so readers who enjoy discovering the person through the art of conversation, listening to thought, 'The Golden Bowl' is for them. The period of the time with it's restrictive social atmosphere, the vast separation of culture between the new world and the old and the living, breathing, warm blooded cast of characters finding love, discovering it's many meanings, plays lust against honour, dealing directly through their thinking minds and words.
A fantastic listen with a narrator that blossoms like a Japanese Cherry Tree.
An adventure story writhing with human frailties and great strengths, sorrowful tragedies interwoven with the beauty of love and respect.
This book is for anyone who believes in the honour a death deserves, and the glory of being alive.
Aging Artists and Models, Intellectuals, adulterers, and their children, make for an interesting series of critical and complicated situations. Read brilliantly by Christopher Cazenove, 'The Good Apprentice' follows a tragic death's trail through a wonderful group of characters playing at life in their search for meaning. Fun, serious and sometimes just strange, it is a story that surprises throughout and ends as it should.
Although called a 'Love Story', I found Murakami's very popular novel to be a tale of dysfunctional youth, expecting, as many may, to replace loneliness with adult love.
An extremely 'laid back' and very well read protagonist shares tragedy with a mentally unbalanced young woman, suffering from the suicides of loved ones, and another student who has spent years watching family members suffer and die. These young women enjoy servicing their well read friend without reciprocation. He 'loves', they 'love'. So creepy.
The women in the story seem honest although disturbed, the young men, hollow and enslaved by their youthful prowess. The narrator, James Yaegashi, reads, as if for the first time, this story of a dull 'laid back' late 60's university student, without heart. His women are shrill or idiot sounding.
The descriptions of city and country and the natural world can be wonderful in 'Norwegian Wood', but love seems missing here. A sad story of sexual frustration perhaps, one I would have preferred not listening to.
A brilliant telling of the Brangwen family's 3 generations, before and after the industrial revolution from their small bit of England, and their rise from people of the land, to people of culture and worldly knowledge, with moral, spiritual and earthly struggles. Eventually revolving around the granddaughter, Ursula, a 'modern' women of free thought and the challenges that envelope her. It is a story of great passions, misfortunes, loves and agonies, always surrounded by their small place in the world of earthly power.
If you love this book as much as I have, 'Women in Love' continues the tale, this time focusing on Ursula's younger sister, Gudrun.
Maureen O'Brien is the best narrator I have, to this point, heard! Remarkable!
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