Some strengths of Duma Key:
Chararacters that became, at least to me, more real as friends than some people I know.
Hard-won insight into what makes us human, how we deal with time, loss, fear of loss (Since when have you taken the chance to make friends with an 86 year old woman?), the mysterious tangle of creativity.... This all makes me want to, rather than a dead sort of word like "literary," apply to King what someone, if I remember rightly, said about Ellington, "He knew what music was for." King knows what a novel is for. Get involved. Come along.
And finally, it includes a supernatural element that rather than making the story less powerful, merely paints it in King's chosen palette: vivid, disturbing, painful, tender, and essentially real where it matters most, and where perhaps it looms the most dangerous.
John Slattery, the reading was brilliant. Your voice stood up, offered me a cool drink, and became Wireman to me. I'll miss you, my friend. Highest honors.
***Humble Response to a Few Reviews**
It's been mentioned in some of these reviews that 1) the language was unnecessarily coarse and 2) that it started slow.
First, the language is entirely appropriate to an adult novel where organic brain trauma is involved. The protagonist's verbal outbursts can be, unfortunately, all too accurate, and are intended (I believe) to frighten the reader as it does the characters involved--to offend one's sense of how things ought to be.
In response to the second, I found the pace of his development added to my involvement in the story, and helped to add the kind of inevitablity, depth, and increasing momentum so present in the best of some of King's work. Also, I believe for the novel to work as well as it does, that we must see, really see, what happens there, and in that order.
-This will remain the definitive translation: It strikes a perfect balance between keeping to the old form, accuracy, and making it flexible within the that form to bring it to a modern audience. It is a joy to read and hear. The author's voice is perfect. What a gift he has given us.
-I would dearly love an unabridged version with the author reading. Please! This is the only reason I dropped a star anywhere. I'd gladly be willing to purchase such again.
-It would also be fun to hear some of the sections read in the original by an expert. (One can hope, wistfully, for such things.) I suggest readers at least listen to a bit of this elsewhere on the net.
-Purchase a parallel copy in paper as a companion to this reading.
Xenophon is a fascinating, lively author writing about very interesting times indeed. As for the reader, imagine Shakespeare being read by someone who didn't like or understand it but wanted to speak clearly. He did not convey a sense that he cared about his subject matter or wished to bother trying to convey it in a manner that would draw in the listener.
Read delightfully by the author, this belongs on any child's music player. It has the kind of addictive repeatability of a good fairy tale. If they're old enough to understand "The Three Little Pigs," they'll love this. If you're still young enough to be charmed by a good children's story along with your child, you'll love this as well. Does not require illustrations.
My little gal said that. It's read delightfully. It's worth the money. Sure, some illustrations would be fun in another format, but Neil Gaiman's voice more than makes up for it. Utterly charming.
Lynn Redgrave's reading was stunning. It's worth getting just to hear her. The book itself simply should have been better. If you want a good modern fantasy on a similar subject, read some Charles de Lint, perhaps "Memory and Dream." I disagree that "Inkheart" would make an excellent children's book simply because it dragged and the characters were forgettable. If you want something wildly imaginative and child friendly, go with something suitable by Neil Gaimon, who is himself an extraordinary reader. I wanted very much to like, and perhaps share, this book from the moment I heard Ms. Redgrave. It saddens me that I did not.
One ultimate horror is that possible moment when an act forces one to think, "Nothing will ever be the same again; I'll never be able to look at myself the same again." Who, if they truly think about it, would not choose to be the victim of evil rather than the agent? What if forced to face this? What choices, consequences? // Those are the themes underlying all four stories. The first is pure evil act and consequence. The second combines evil received with the grim results of that insult. The third in its flippantly-brutal selfishness forces the reader to judge when the protagonist does not. And the fourth *shudder* shows from a second person, the vast pit that may open beneath what was thought solid foundation. That story is both completely true and completely unimaginable. // Horror is a very particular emotion. It does not come from penny dreadfuls. It is an emotion that stuns and changes us, aghast, wounded. These are horror stories: they are not scary stories; they are not thrillers. // These stories are most definitely "Full Dark, No Stars," at times so grim that I wondered how useful such stories could be to society. The unrelentingly graphic nature of the second story is extremely disturbing, so much so that, I believe, it is flawed in that it spends too much time on not what is the heart of the story but instead on a visceral horror that is almost mindless in its savage intensity. It is one tough story to read and I would not suggest to anyone that they read it, though if they do, there's still something to be gained. Be warned. // Siskel and Ebert, long ago, had enthusiastically reviewed several depressing films. Realizing this, one of them said, "I suppose that for us, good movies make us happy, bad movies make us sad." Read it in that spirit if you like King and know what you may be getting into. I liked the book far better a few days after I'd read it. // The readers were good, though Ms. Hecht's voice is almost too lovely for its subject matter.
You won't be disappointed by the story or voice acting. You will be saddened by the sound quality, and absolutely appalled at the transition music. But wait, there's more: sound edits that sound...words fail me here...picture buying a book, finding words and phrases--such as "hegemon"--blackened out, and the proper text inserted at the bottom of the page on a pink sticky note. And who is the blasted fool that thought two people carrying on a conversation would sound better if one, only one, sounded as if he were speaking out of a well? Amazon--keep this book available, but you, Mr. Card, his agent, the voice actors, the original producers all deserve better post-post production. So do we. People, buy it anyway, but get indignant.
He's ideal for the main character, is a classic American actor (back before he was Ralph's age he was in "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly"--he was Ugly), and gets my rubber-stamp-of-honest-delight award for voice acting here. I wish he'd recorded more audio.
The lapse-in-taste sounds ("Um, could my nephew do the sounds? I'll pay him." "Sure Fred. You pay him, he can make a little noise."--about all I can figure out for how they got in there.) are hardly enough to overcome Mr. Wallach's excellence in his role, or my enjoyment of the novel as a whole. I've listened to the thing twice now and enjoyed it thoroughly.
Single narrator this time, but excellent. When he goes over-the-top (rarely), it's where my inner voice would have as well while reading.
This, simply put, is Part II of a novel that wouldn't fit in one jacket. Again [See my review of Hyperion if you wish.] I've enjoyed the pace of this being read aloud immensely.
Literate (extremely, in the best possible way), Mr. Simmons' education, intelligence, and love lf literature shine through.
*Thank you, Mr. Simmons, for making a nod to the Canterbury Tales, and for loving poetry--you write this book with the voices of The Cannon, fading from so many, close to your heart.*
One of my all-time favorite SF series. It has stood the time since publication, and since my first reading, extremely well. I loved the pace of hearing these books again, read aloud--read well enough that I wasn't bothered by it, and the main narrator is excellent.
[Possible caveat: if you're offended by (What euphemism should I use? Mr. Carlin? Any ideas?) rough language, there is one character that uses it consistently, but it fits in with his character's history, and also has a nice ironic edge to it, considering the character's profession. Mr. Simmons did not use it because he's too lazy to think of something else.]
These books inspire that "sense of wonder" I find too infrequently at my age and upon my more mature palate. (Ah, Mr. Seldon, you've grown old since I was 12.)
Too few SF fans have discovered these, and they will not fail to delight. Wins my highest award for audio book most likely to distract me from whatever else I'm doing and set me dreaming.
Buy some hard copies and give them to your SF-reading friends. Or an Audible if they've read it before.
Report Inappropriate Content