Set in New Orleans in the 1950's, Walker Percy's now mostly forgotten classic won the National Book Award in 1962 and depicts the erosion of the traditional South beneath the flood-tide of post-war American culture. The eponymous moviegoer/protagonist, Binx Bolling, an alienated young stockbroker, searches fruitlessly for meaning in his vapidly mundane existence. Throw in a little Cathlolic angst, a good dose of family conflict and it sounds like a recipe for some seriously dreary existentialism, but the tone of the book is light, almost playful in parts, and the narration gets it just right.
I read the book when it came out many years ago and remembered it fondly. I had forgotten though how truly superb it is. Epic and lush with its evocation of the Empire in the late Victorian era, it is also a superb portrait of the British political situation in the first three decades of the 20th century and a magisterial presentation of the coming of age of perhaps the last century's greatest figure. The narration is tremendous. Outstanding all the way around!
First the Bad News: the ending/reveal of the story is pretty silly and out of left field. The plot and characters sometimes lapse into cliche.
The Good News: In spite of these shortcomings, the story is largely enjoyable and engaging. (I'd probably have given 3 1/2 stars to the story if that were an option, but the goofy ending precludes a 4 star rating for me.) It has good suspense and some genuinely scary moments. The performance is solid and doesn't diminish. Deathless literature it is not, but it kept me entertained and that's what I was looking for.
Perhaps the best audio-book I have ever experienced. I'd have given it sixes across the board. The Warmth of Other Suns should be required reading for every American. The story of the Great Migration is presented magnificently: marvelously written and narrated. As a middle-aged white man who just missed the Jim Crow era in my state, I had been a bit wary of this book since it came out and won all those awards a few years ago. I don't enjoy being preached to, even when it's well-merited. Moreover, the subject is so vast, daunting and ultimately kind of a bummer. Ms. Wilkinson, however, does not preach. She simply tells her tale. And she tells it so well: a vibrant and sometimes thrilling triptych of immigrant’s stories, different in personality, time and geography, set against the six decade backdrop of the story of the Migration itself. I think it’s the most important work of American popular history in the last ten years. Ms. Miles’ narration is perfect. Well done in every way!
Have you heard the one about the Statistician Godfather? He makes you an offer you can’t understand.
Probability is complicated stuff and generally boring enough to peel the paper off the walls. Yet it undeniably rules all of our everyday lives, perhaps more than we’d care to acknowledge sometimes. Prof. Mlodinow does an excellent job of making it accessible to us average Joes and as interesting as I've ever seen it presented.
Mr. Pratt’s narration is solid, and, since it’s not a subject that lends itself to much more than that, I don’t mean to damn him with faint praise.
The audible format is perhaps not the best way to experience The Drunkard’s Walk. Some of the explanation is quite involved and would probably bear some close reading and rereading, not easy when precision rewinding and re-rewinding is required. Still, it’s a very worthwhile book and this is a very painless way to read it.
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