Having read Hollinghurst' "The Line of Beauty", I was prepared for the homosexual themes of this book. If that bothers you, then I would stay away from this audible listen.
I was not however prepared for the sketchiness of the novel. It is done by a master writer, but do not expect a story that reveals itself in any sort of traditional way. What emerges is the broken bits of a life and of the lives that are touched by the poet character.
Much like life itself, expect a mash up of events, desultory memories and skeletons best left in closets. A masterful work and reading.
As much as I liked Burt Lancaster's portrayal of Elmer Gantry, the movie is not the book. The humor and sly despicableness of Elmer Gantry is lost in the movie character. I found myself shaking my head in disbelief over how ironic it is that Elmer Gantry never learns the Truth while preaching the Truth. Lewis nails the bible thumping hypocrisy with searing accuracy. The wonderful narration enhances the irony and give life to the somewhat dated dialog of the early 20th century.
It is unfortunate that Booth Tarkington was a contemporary of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner and Lewis. He has been swept aside by America's greatest 20th century writers. This book shows that his Pulitzer prizes were well deserved. True freedom is found by giving up falsehoods on social status and marital bliss. Excellent narration, especially with the Southern accent, make this book a 5 star winner.
OK, I admit that I am madly in love with Hardy's heroines. A great story, great dialogue and a great narration. 5 stars across the board.
I felt like a 15 year old boy again while listening to this audio book. Dumas is the best of the genre. The Count of Monte Cristo is better because of the mystery of the Count but this book has it all the adventure and romance that one could wish for. You do get the impression though that this was serialized and that Dumas was working on capitalizing on adventure.
I have criticized Professor Greenberg's "over the top" approach to his lectures. For those who have felt the same as me, I encourage you to have a listen to this set of lectures. Greenberg is restrained, professional and not constantly trying to be funny. Indeed, these lectures are very technical, historical detail is precise and informative and the overall tone is one of a deep regard for what constitutes "art".
My only critique is that these lectures do not include the word scores that Professor Greenberg rightfully feels the listener should follow along with. I went to my local library and luckily found the DVD's that included the printed word scores. It greatly enhances the listening experience. I therefore gave the overall rating of 4 stars.
I was reluctant to listen to another of Professor Robert Greenberg's set of lectures. Unfortunately, Professor Greenberg is the best there is when looking at the depth of his knowledge. I say unfortunately because of the presentation style. His constant need to be funny and say witty things gets in the way. This is not as bad as some of his earlier lectures but nonetheless irritating.
George Guidal should be commended for this very difficult read. I knew going into this book that it was a difficult read. I also was committed to finishing it. If you can imagine a dream state in which you remember visions with no explanations, then you have this book. I can now say I finished Gravity's Rainbow. It will be the last Pynchon novel I read or listen to.
This reminded me so much of Anthony Powells' Dance to the Music of Time. Very enjoyable and since it was narrated by Simon Vance, it is a world class audiobook. Highly recommended.
Thompson was a prolific writer in what he dubbed Gonzo Journalism. If you have never read Thompson and are curious about the original Rolling Stone Magazine and its editor then I highly recommend this book. I found the stories to be reminiscent of the times when we felt "anything was possible" - politically, socially and morally. Unfortunately, this turned out to be an illusion. This process is very well documented in this book.
This is not really a novel of the American West. Nor is it a novel of much of anything except a handful of characters playing superficial, stereotypical roles. The vignettes lack any cohesiveness, emotional drive or moral storyline. Very disappointing, very predictable and one gets the impression that it was written to fulfill a per page commitment / contract . The narration by the excellent George Guidall is superb.
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