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.
Simply an unbearable story for lovers of the natural world. A difficult book, worth the effort, to be read only once. Not for the weak hearted.
Not every read must be pleasant, but it can be beautifully sad.
This sadness is not a surprise in 'The Good Soldier', but there are many in this novel that keep the reader engrossed in a difficult tale. Narrated to perfection and gorgeously written, a story of people as real in all colours of growth and disintegration as the earth we survive upon.
The painting of a small portrait, I am grateful to have witnessed.
I first started reading Doris Lessing in the 70's and have admired her writing, although I remember little of it. I will never forget 'The Golden Notebook', as the most tedious well written novel ever. Juliet Stevenson's aristocratic reading, portrays the neurotic Anna's numerous life crises, in a middle-class whine that rarely quits. Listening to the successful but blocked writer, Anna, weep, screech, complain about her lovers in the frightening atmosphere of the cold war and the inhumanity of South Africa's racial war, was interesting at most for me. I found the supporting characters, specially the Americans, caricatures. Notable for it's selection of taboos, every vice of the pre-sexual revolution written here, it must have been an eye opener for many. However, it is Anna we follow through this long book and I don't know why we do. A single mother, who insists she loves her daughter (we never see it), has a nasty masochistic affair with every straight man she rents a room to and lives off the royalties of her one novel, while going kind of mad in a sexual flurry.
Juliet Stevenson was Anna, and I'll never be able to listen to that voice again, or see her in a film, without running away.
Mr. Pierce does a great job narrating. The notion 'Miles' is reading this does not interfere with the quality of the text. He's pretty perfect. Knowing this story from movies only, I was pleased to hear it as written. It's humorous and satirical, lots of 'potty' stuff, full of fantasy and Swift's personal politics and humanism. It's wonderful, for me, to hear an author of the period, blast the cruelty and evil of imperialism for it's destruction and massacres of lands and inhabitants, for greed, and in the name of God and goodness.
A sad, interesting story of a dedicated teacher abused by fate. The characterizations are brilliantly written, with Stoner a supreme man of pathos. I'm glad to have found this book.
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.
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