This book was originally written in 1889, but only proves that English wit has stood the test of time. If you like English humour, you'll love this book -- I'd have NEVER guessed it was old. And the narrator, Martin Jarvis, provides a thoroughly enjoyable, and listenable, accounting.
Another amazing thing -- according to Wikipedia, this book was "originally intended as a serious travel guide, but the humorous elements took over". Incredible!
First, I must admit I enjoyed listening to the book. I'm more apt to read non-fiction, and Ilisten to books like this as an escape, a respite, which it was. And at first, I gave it 5 stars. The narration was first rate, I cared for the characters, the plot was easy to follow, and there were several surprises. The author clearly went out of his way to create non-traditional approaches to situations (for instance, finding a new way for Danny to get out of prison early),
I've downgraded my rating now, though, because a nagging problem I had throughout the book -- are these twists actually reasonable? -- grew from a tenuous "well, maaaybeee" ... to something less accepting. The author simply worked too hard to plow new ground.
The book did entertain me and the reading was excellent -- two of the ways I judge an audio book. But I did not learn anything (which I hope to do even in fictional works) and the plot simply didn't hold together after I put the book down.
The bottom line -- the true test for me -- is whether I would recommend this book to friends, and the answer is "no". There is just too much else to be read....
This story, and the narration, wrapped me in a world away from ours. The story, above average. The imagery, and the author's ability with words that make the world seem rich and alive, outstanding. And the narration, terrific. You care about the characters and their tales; you live their lives with them.
That said -- this probably isn't a book for someone not content with moving slowly and gently, with someone more intent on action or pace. It's a story for luxuriating in. And although my inclination tends to be with science, non-fiction, and history, I loved this.
I'll look forward to anything else Diane Satterfield decides to write, or these narrators choose to tell.
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