Robert Allerano has the ability to spin a dark death and resurection allegory while lighting it up with the colour of daily life in Castro's Cuba, showing us our Hero's seedy and decaying socialist Havana and the rich colourful countryside of his family. On top of this he gives us a gripping murder mystery with an allegorical descent into hell - a kind of death and resurrection. For some this could all be quite a strong emotional roller coaster ride.
Allerano has the ability to write a well paced thriller... both on the emotional as well as the level of practical daily events, plot developments... he knows how to develop both levels at the same time... building up and introducing you to even more colour as he spins his story. You get drawn in as you listen. Hints of the superstitions of folk magic with their entrancing spells develop a psychological bind as well.
Mano Rodruigez, the young doctor cought up in this underworld manipulative intrigue is the book's central figure and hero... We experience and feel the story through him and our narator Jonathan Davis does a fine job by telling this story with great empathy. It is through the doctor's eyes and emotions that we experience everyday life in a seedy Havana as well as go back in time to the young doctor's past.
Perhaps some of the most intense moments of this novel are the literal, climactic descents into hell, into the fetid charnel house crypt in Havana's Colon cemetery, of Mano's girlfriend's initiation into the world of Havana's underworld teenage prostitution with its pimps and thugs. It is Mano's own devotion to his jintera girlfriend Julia which takes him directly into an excruciating death and resurection experience in this very same crypt.
All in all, a very welcome experience, both as an emotional thriller, murder mystery and trip to what is still for the most of us, an exotic part of the world.
The musical background to this reading is such an irritable distraction that it is not possible to give the text the attention it is due.. it is infuriating. Other fiction and nonfiction down loads from Audible in my experience do not have this kind of an "enhancement" This "music" does not improve the performance or the subject matter one iota ... it unfortunately diminishes the listening pleasure ... very considerably!
There is nothing wrong with the story... it is, as they say, timeless and it is because of this quality and the reputation of the reader that I wanted to hear this particular version.
There is nothing not to like about James Earl Jones performance. His is a wonderful voice... music all on its own, a real blessing and hence the addition of the background sound track is an aggravating distraction making it very difficult to pay attention to the subject matter.
There is nothing wrong with the book or the reader's performance.. the trouble lies with someone's idea of improving the book by including a distracting and totally unnecessary sound track.
Such background music as had to be endured and in this particular case is not an enhancement but a annoying distraction. I would whole heartily endorse a recording without the background "noise"
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