I was never able to get through reading this wonderful piece of historical fiction. Listening to it made the journey through the complex characters and story so much easier. The world that was early 1800's Russia is painted so clearly and the nature of that centuries cultural and political intracies so vivid, I feel I could have lived and experienced it myself.
When I finished listening to this beautiful story, I thought that the characters must be real...must have existed and that the story was in fact, true. I went to the internet to see if there really was a Dr Thomas Stone, Liver Surgeon. Such was the presence of all the characters in this story of love, faith, loyalty, hope, despair, delusion and more.
I rarely, if ever, consider re reading or re listening to books, but I think, in a while, I will listen to this one again, listen to the innocent Marion/Shiva unveil Ethiopia, the town of Missing, it's inhabitants, their culture, faith, the sounds and smells of it, the way they love and hate, live and die, judge and forgive.
Then Ethiopia comes to America and the story unfolds with poignant tears.
Haruki Murakami is one of the most interesting writers I've had the good fortune to be exposed to. Norwegian Wood is NOT my favourite and by no means gives the listener the full picture of his ability to create worlds where the tricks of thinking become a reality played out with excruciating intensity. The novel gives you an idea though and is well worth a listen to get the idea.
More Murakami please Audible!
If you are looking for a standard tale of an English high society woman making it in the wilderness of America in the making, then this is for you. Nothing outstanding but engaging enough to keep me listening to the end. Not much more to remark on.
I will never be able to watch children, whether they are simply looking with interest or acting with innocent malice, playing with ants again without thinking of this novel. All of us have heard a story of children who pull wings from moths or playfully lead a trail of ants into disaster. Some of us will have our own story.
Under the Dome turns these mostly innocent, playful events into a 'Lord of the Flies' like story of power and politics, contemporary culture, fear and intrigue. Our culture is captured and examined...will it survive?
I grew up in Sydney and experienced Balmain as it was emerging in the 60's as a very trendy, expensive suburb, inaccessible to most working class people. Danny Dunn grew up there when it was very , very different (the opposite in fact), so historically it was fascinating listening to this tragic story.
Toward the end though, Danny just had too many things go right, too many things go wrong to allow his story to remain solidly real. I love Bryce Courtenay's writing, his detailed emotive, personable characters, but this story was just a little over the top for me. (Plastic surgery in the 1940's must have been very crude)
I was hesitant about this book for some reason, perhaps it was too popular....when you've listened to this story you will see the irony in that.
I very much enjoyed this book. Amy's character is a blown up version of a scant few people I have met in life and always had a sinking feeling about their motives. Frightening look at trial by media. Gillian Flynn gathers as all that is left unsaid in relationships, words that are lost at the back of your throat, left to fester and for Amy, turned into fuel for the ultimate comeback....
I now know Grace so well, she could be a sister and her story is pretty amazing. I enjoyed "The House at Riverton" very much. It satisfied the 'Downtown Abbey" in me. I can picture the Riverton estate, the rooms, halls, servants quarters, the clothes, the faces and expressions of it's inhabitants, their moods, quirks, laughter, joys and tragedies.
A clever plot keeps the pivotal secret from the reader until the very end and despite it being predictable, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for it to be revealed.
My only criticism is that it could have been an hour or so shorter, the tension was built to such a height in the final hour, I almost had to fast forward to the end. Perhaps it was the mood I was in at the time but this fact made me take a star from this worthy read for those who love period drama/tragedy. It probably deserves 4 stars.
And what a tragedy it is!
Having only recently joined ancestry online to try to find answers to the mystery of my fathers early years, I flushed with curiosity and with irony, when I realised that this novel was about an unravelling of Nell's life, by her granddaughter , Cassandra.
Not only that, to then discover that the author is an Australian and that the story is woven in part in Queensland, well, I was taken in, hook, line and sinker.
Caroline Lee gave voice to this tragic, moving story, her characters sketched as finely as those by Nathan, husband of Rose as he illustrated Elisa's fairy tails.
The story is so entwined, so rich with mystery, each chapter shedding a little more light, adding colour bit by bit until, at the end the story of Nell's life is finally understood and she is free and at last 'home'.
This book was recommended by my daughter's partner. As I was listening, I came across person after person who had read it in their late teens, early twenties. I am in my mid 50's so I felt a little ashamed that I'd missed this one! I even came across a waitress in a coffee shop in Sydney (a young girl) who was so excited to see me reading/listening to her favourite book!
It is now dated in many ways and it was, at times, important that I kept my mind focused on the era in which it was written. The utopian ideals of the people who have escaped the mindless world that they used to inhabit, still today need to be explored in a ( I hate to say this) 'best practise' sort of way before I m convinced that their way of life will work long term.
Despite this, the story was great, the characters engaging, likeable, hateable, annoying, charming, and engaging.
This is a time piece that needs to be read by all who have an interest in the ways in which our world has been viewed over the decades of the 20th century.
As an Australian born at around the same time as Owen Meany, this book filled in much of what television and news failed to depict about America as I was growing up. The history of religious attitudes and political leanings, social mores and community attitudes kept me interested and listening. I must admit that it took me a while to warm to Owens "voice" and it was only on my second attempt that I was able to accept that Owens' Adams apple was fixed and he had to sound the way he did and I needed to be tolerant, non judgmental and open to his sensibility and intelligence.
The friendship and love that is related in this story is wonderful.
The political leanings, particularly regarding Nixon and Reagan, gave me hope that the USA has a collection of people who really do understand the nature of politics in their country. I truly hope that this book will encourage voters to VOTE. In Australia, voting is compulsory and it seems abhorrent to me that the USA does not adopt this fundamental piece of democratic process, so that a leader can be elected by ALL the people, even those who feel powerless to make a difference.
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