Michael Ondaatje has written some heartbreakingly beautiful poetry [The Cinnamon Peeler's Wife] and prose [In the Skin of a Lion, which I think is superior to his better-known 'The English Patient'], and his autobiography is fascinating. I'm loathe to purchase abridgements, but what a treat to hear the author's soft yet rivetting narration of the story of his family with facts laced with magic.
I was thrilled to find Under Milkwood; I've loved its sly ribald barbs, and to hear Richard Burton's declamation and Welsh accent was a treat. This production with its multiple actors is also easier to follow than Dylan Thomas's own solo performance.
Like so many celebrities today, Thomas died in his late 30's, from the combination of alcohol and narcotics from a Dr. Feelgood who neglected Thomas's pneumonia during a New York performance tour of Under Milkwood.
Thomas's radio-play is a poetic masterpiece from the mid-20th century, literally meant to be spoken aloud, and now to be 're-wound' to enjoy the wordplay.
It is a stream-of-consciousness eavesdropping on the dreams, secrets and gossip of a night and day in a entire Welsh village, petty vices and great passions peeking through their conservative veneer. And who among us on such a night has not been stirred by spring 'like a spoon', or dreamt of their lover, 'whacking-thighed and piping hot'.
'And Lily Smalls is up to Nogood Boyo in the wash-house.'
'And Cherry Owen, sober as Sunday as he is every day of the week, goes off happy as Saturday to get drunk as a deacon as he does every night. 'I always say she's got two husbands,' Cherry Owen says, 'one drunk and one sober. And Mrs Cherry simply says, 'And aren't I a lucky woman? Because I love them both.''
Over lunch, the schoolmaster researches how to poison his wife, pretending to the read 'Lives of the Great Saints'. His intended victim sniffs, "I saw you talking to a saint this morning. Saint Polly Garter. She was martyred again last night. Mrs Organ Morgan saw her with Mr Waldo."
"But it is not his name that Polly Garter whispers as she lies under the oak and loves him back. Six feet deep that name sings in the cold earth."
Dated, yes, but an often overlooked classic, read by one of the greatest British poetic actors, with today's technology: a treat indeed. For less than $10, one of these characters will make you laugh or cry.
A weak bridge from the last action-packed novel.
Sookie, an under-educated telepath heroine, craves normality, peace, and good sex with her vampire sheriff, the Viking Erik. But sometimes she gets brave enough to help her friends, including ex-lover Bill [this time with an e-mail instead of her body] and for you to cheer for her battling with the undead, physically and politically. I suppose the narrator's southern drawl portrays this conflict, but either she or her producer should learn that 'Niall' is pronounced 'kneel', not 'NYE L', 'Brendon' is 'BRENdun', not 'BRENN-DAWWNN', 'Alexei' is 'AlEXye', not 'L.x.A.'. The middle of the book bogs into the domesticity Sookie craves.
Even the action climaxes appear foreshortened and 'clanging'.
We're left waiting for the next in the series.
Raymond Chandler is a gorgeous writer, whose prose outshines the mystery it describes.
But Elliot Gould is a poor choice of narrator: a college man from California like Marlowe wouldn't pronounce 'yoomer' for 'humour' and 'yooj' for 'huge,' which grate as much as the inherent racism of the time.
But the rest of the story plays as well now as it did 70 years ago: Chandler's rugged Robin Hood PI, Philip Marlowe, meets a huge, scarred, ex-boxer looking for the red-headed girl he hasn't seen since being framed and jailed eight years ago. Marlowe decides to help him and asks around before being hired to help get some stolen jewels back: as always, Marlowe need the money.
But it goes wrong, Marlowe is sapped and his client is killed. An armed redhead comes to his rescue. Or does she?
Love, revenge, integrity, greed, repartee, in prose like "a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window."
Truly dreadful in every sense. The author abuses his ability for deft description by using it only to describe horrible men. Even worse, he feels he can do and say any hurtful thing yet honestly believes an apology and a whine that it hurts him too will make up for his Catskills humour excuse for sociopathy.
The only amusing thing is that the narrators *say* the word 'cue' in between paragraphs.
I bought this because I enjoy the work of some of the narrators: sucker! Anyone watching my expression as I listened to this on a commute would have thought I was in pain: and they'd be right.
An entire day's worth of eye-rolling pseudoscience, conspiracy-theory piffle and huge errors that punch holes in his tissue of a plot [no spoilers, but Brown should have consulted an endocrinologist and a pathologist]. Its only slight positive is the double-edged sword of its repetitiveness, tailor-made to be an audiobook since each of almost 200 chapters repeats plot points in case you forgot or couldn't hear the previous ones. Irking deus ex machina, cardboard female characters, predictable 'surprises' directly from other movies and yawn-worthy ending. I admire the narrator for not permitting his opinion of the material creep into his voice; now *that's* acting.
Save your time and money, go read Jim Butcher.
Couldn't get through this 'born to serve' claptrap, so if the last two-thirds of the book somehow make up for the sadism and sexism of the first part, someone else will have to tell me. I want my time and money back!
I do enjoy unabridged Dickens read by Brits, but the narrator is truly dreadful, although likely the producer is more to blame for not forcing the voice actor to do more takes. The stuttering and stammering get increasingly annoying and more frequent as it goes along.
One of the lowest quality narrations I've heard here. Content excellent as always from Dickens, so I'm willing to try another version.
Avoid this one, even if the price is tempting.
I agree with the previous reviewer that the narrator is a disappointment, but I also blame the director, who let slip a substantial number of clanging mispronunciations: 'clo' for 'Chloe' [clo ee] and 'fasTEEDEEous' for 'fasTIDious'.
All child and female voices sound exactly alike, like an elderly man doing a querulous lisping Cockney [even the Scottish office boy] or a falsetto bordering on the misogynous. Annoying, and takes one out of the story.
'Of Human Bondage' is another compelling classic work with a contemporary feel despite being written almost a century ago, which alone is reason enough to buy Volume II, but wait until they're on sale, or read the book yourself.
Another good Pratchett, the third in the Tiffany Aching series with the six-inch high, kilt-wearing, tattooed fighting Pictsies.
This time Tiffany is fighting but falling a bit in love with Winter, as the Wee Free Men help Prince Roland race to rescue Summer, and in true Pratchett absurdism, there is also a tartan-wearing sentient cheese, Horace.
I *love* Pratchett and his melding of old Celtic folklore, as well as the expressive reading of Tony Robinson, but the abridgment misses some salient plot points.
So, OK for an abridged version, but wait for the unabridged.
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