I rarely review a book, but wanted to comment on this one, especially in light of the reaction of the other reviewers to the ice and the rat. I found the retelling of the Titanic's tragedy compelling, which is high praise when the material is so familiar, and the performance was stellar.
First, this is not a history book, but poetry. If you come to it expecting a straight history, you will be disappointed. I liked the ice and loved the rat. As I was listening, the commentary of the ice reminded me of the chorus in a Greek drama. As for the rat, have you ever before given a moment's thought to the rats that also went down with the ship? I don't know which of the cast read the rat, but it was perfect, vividly portraying a real rat, scuttling about in the dark. I also thought that the handling of the post office, which another listener found repetitive, had the same effect. The reading of the simple, repeated words brought the mailroom and it's work vividly to life. I also enjoyed the clever promenade sections, sometimes backing up to listen to them again, and was impressed with how they were woven back into the narrative at the end.
The language of the book was evocative in a way that a straightforward narrative could never be, and gave depth and human richness to the characters, both the good and the bad. I must say, however, that as fine as the book itself was, I'm not sure I would have much liked it as a print read. This is writing not for the eye but for the ear, and the narrators in this recording deserve five stars and more for the color and life they brought to it. I had originally downloaded this free from the public library, but partway through purchased it from Audible. I knew even before the end that this was a book I wanted in my permanent library.
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