I enjoyed this simply due to the time travel aspect. It may not be a mind blowing trip but it is entertaining. the narrator was very good also and new. it doesn't pretend to be anything more than what you expect from the title and description and that's fine. fun little story.
i read this long ago and loved it. it is still excellent even if not quite as i remembered and holds up. there is some very nice writing by tryon in this as well, much better than stephen king. it is creepy but in a different way than might at first appear. it's hard to say much without giving something away. if you like a suspenseful and well written creepshow try this and stay away from reviews that give away key plot points. I kept thinking of similar novels and want to suggest Some of Your Blood by Sturgeon; We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Jackson; and not on audio yet but incredible is The Wasp Factory by Ian Banks.
I kept being reminded of the Don't think of an Elephant short book about how language is manipulated to get people to think certain ways and I've run across some of the tidbits regarding linguistics and language development etc elsewhere and there could have been even more of that for me and it would have been fine. what there is is not heavy handed and is well enough layed out.
Here we have a well thought out story and even though it at times follows standard plot lines it is researched enough without being pedantic to keep drawing you further along. It is fast moving, entertaining and goes a step beyond "subliminal seduction" entering into some horrific moments. A chase novel that moves back and forth from present to past and slowly brings past up to rejoin. This is done well though it isn't spelled out immediately and could cause a moment's confusion but it works fine except maybe for a bit at the end where the time frames are too close. there are a couple of things I'd like to have seen explained or at least not ignored since to me you have to at least acknowledge where this "base word" came from whether you go into much detail or not. But at least theres some thought behind this and it's not a Stephen King evil spirits to explain it all type cop out.
But all in all fun and as i said with some food for thought. & on a side note, If i'm not mistaken this is the same publisher as the Pynchon Bleeding Edge debacle and these narrators (rotating male and female, which is excellently done) even do a good job with Australian accents and so the ? again surfaces, How can they get this audio so right, and the Pynchon so abysmally wrong?
I enjoyed this. the narrator was fine, finally. I've had a bad streak of lackluster readers.
But this story is good and there is a good bit of bio on George Antheil as well (helps to understand what he brings to the device) leading up to his and Hedy's meeting and work on the torpedo problem. (you can sample his Ballet Mechanique in itunes to see what he was up to musically, quite different).
but i think the important thing that came across to me was again how short sighted, perhaps in this case misogynistic, men in power were and can be. anyone with the guts and the intelligence to realize what Hedy and Antheil devised could have appreciable shortened WW2. Not to mention kickstarted our electronic age 40 years earlier. It made me think of the Tesla bio Wizard and what a different world we could be living in right now. You don't get a sense of that aspect until the wrap up and that's not what this bio is about except tangentially. But the ideas are presented in a manner that makes them accessible to the layman. the first half is very much the bio aspects of the 2, but the whole thing moves quickly and is short as well so i can recommend it.
and to think that her/their ideas, if they had retained the patent, could have made them billions.
I seem to be on a roll, and not in a good way. I came to this thinking it would be interesting coupled with Ragtime, there are many historical characters of the period overlapping, though this takes place about 20 years prior to Ragtime. However, I was immediately disappointed by the clunky cliche ridden writing with pointless episodes drawing out the proceedings. The narrator tries with some of the voices and accents but I grew tired quickly of an uninspired historical mystery. Even sped up to 2x to get through it and got about half way and decided I didn't care and stopped. Will ask for credit back to use more wisely. There is a point at which I'm willing to take a hit when I experiment with new authors and genres, but these uninspired narrators and poor novels need to stop. someone must be pre-reading or listening to these choices, how do they get through? I would much rather eagerly await an inspired performance of Pynchon (which we didn't get) than slog through some of this dreck. Sorry can't recommend. (& this author supposedly won 2 straight Edgar awards for mystery novels just prior to this, makes me wonder about the panel of judges)
I like the novel. It is written in a rather newspaper-ish/history book type style and blends in fictional people with historical, most notably Houdini, and still delivers a good story with people you care about revolving around racism in NY. I would say that Doctorow isn't quite the stylist I thought he was, and like many authors reading their own work, not a good narrator. He does have the virtue of reading quickly and moving along so that it never drags. He does not do voices very well at all, to the point there is no differentiation between characters, but again this can be overlooked as the story moves briskly and is filled with historical tidbits that never let my interest flag. Compared to the Pynchon Bleeding Edge narration debacle, this is a masterpiece of voice work. It would be nice to see it redone some day by a better reader, but until then this will work.
I cannot understate how bad this reader is. I & a friend have been looking forward to this book for months and planned to listen to it together and discuss it but it is one of the worst narrations I have come across in my 27 years of listening to audiobooks on tape and Audible. There is no excuse for destroying a much anticipated work by a major author in this fashion. This needs to be redone ASAP. How could this get past the first day of recording without someone realizing how horrible it was and immediately getting someone new? We are both giving up on this after struggling through a couple hours. I cannot judge the story or the writing as it is intolerable to listen to her mangling of Pynchon's prose. If it would allow me to give Zero stars for performance I would but i tried and it won't. SAD.
I've listened to this a couple times now as the stories are 1/2 hour segments and they're nice little time fillers. it's a goofy word play & pun Naked Gun style private eye radio drama with sound effects & voices and at times something strikes me as so silly I laugh out loud. the first stories are the best perhaps, at least for me. some get a little too silly and there are running gags through the stories that maybe went on too long, but I laughed again and the sound effects of the fights are hilarious.
Read this when it first came out and loved it. I was totally under Marquez spell and still am but with a little distance I have to say that I can't give it 5 stars simply because I know 100 Years is coming and hoping for Patriarch and those are incredible. This love story is good but the writing style is different than those 2 and I wasn't quite as immersed in the world as I was with those. don't get me wrong, it's still head and shoulders above most of the junk that's out there, Marquez is a beautiful writer. & I noticed this time how the novel is structured in a manner that reflects the memories of the "lost love" and keeps building them through a life time. and of course the Marquez-ian themes of memory, nostalgia, love affects you like a disease, odd comical occurrences; but there aren't as many "magical realism" moments that i love so much from the others. but then again, someone else may love this more because it lacks those "fantastic" elements. This is in a way a rather realistic love story. I felt just a little removed from the story, like I was being told what happened instead of being in the action as I was with 100 & Patriarch.
However, I don't know what the 1 reviewer was saying about the sing song narration. His voice is a little raspy, very much like bob simon from 60 minutes, but his narration is fine and if there is a little lilt in it at times, i think it must be due to the characters names which have a little of that rhythm to them, but other than that I couldn't find it and I was looking for it due to that review.
In either case, kudos for finally getting Marquez, I've been waiting years for it and look forward to as much as they'll produce, I just hope they have the courage to do Patriarch (6 stars if it's done right) and all of the novellas and short stories. wonderful writer
while I applaud the notion behind getting "name" actors to honor Hemingway by narrating his works, there is a problem that arises too often: good actors are not automatically good narrators. not only did i tire quickly of Patton's breathy whisper which he applies to almost every facet of this novel, it is so passive that it is completely wrong for the prose style and the action. the temperament of the characters, Morgan especially, all seem to blend together into boredom. there is little emotion in any speech, and the poetry in narrative passages is lost into a big homogenous sameness. there are moments when Patton gets more into it, some passages near the end stand out as his better moments of narration, but on the whole the vigor is missing. I felt very much the same way with Hurt's work on Sun Also Rises; it's as though they feel that to give this important writer proper reading they must add gravity to the prose by speaking slowly and quietly. the crispness and vitality of the prose doesn't need their improvement, it just needs a proper reading. again i find myself thinking back to Adams narrations from Books on Tape, I don't remember ever feeling like he was bored with the project; nice to have variation in theory, but give me his vitality. (Campbell Scott is much the same way as Hurt and Patton, and let's not start on Sutherland)
this is my 2nd time with this novel and i enjoyed it again.
if you can follow this train of thought you'll have an idea what you're in for: think Ray Bradbury's Death is a Lonely Business (noir) crossed with his Something Wicked This Way Comes (carnival) filtered through P.K. Dick (surrealist reality) written by Douglas Adams (quirky humor) with a touch of Marquez (magical realism) with a heavy dose of Inception (dreams) and maybe a touch of Dark City.
a friend was correct and i had forgotten or listened to this pre-Inception, but there are enough elements in common to make you wonder if Nolan had read this.
this would make a very interesting visually stunning film if done by someone like Nolan or the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind director.
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