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Luis

Salem, MA, USA

7
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 2 reviews
  • 3 ratings
  • 139 titles in library
  • 0 purchased in 2015
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  • American Pastoral

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Philip Roth
    • Narrated By Ron Silver
    Overall
    (916)
    Performance
    (362)
    Story
    (356)

    Philip Roth presents a vivid portrait of an innocent man being swept away by a current of conflict and violence in his own backyard - a story that is as much about loving America as it is hating it. Seymour "Swede" Levov, a legendary high school athlete, a devoted family man, a hard worker, and the prosperous heir of his father's Newark glove factory comes of age in thriving, triumphant postwar America. But everything he loves is lost when the country begins to run amok in the turbulent 1960s. Not even a most private, well-intentioned citizen, it seems, gets to sidestep the sweep of history. American Pastoral is the story of a fortunate American's rise and fall ... a strong, confident man, a master of social equilibrium, overwhelmed by the forces of social disorder. For the Swede is not allowed to stay forever blissful living out life in rural Old Rimrock in his 170 year-old stone farmhouse with his pretty wife (his college sweetheart and Miss New Jersey of 1949) and his lively albeit precocious daughter, the apple of his eye ... that is until she grows up to become a revolutionary terrorist.

    Thomas says: "A Masterpiece"
    "Moving, heartbreaking"
    Overall

    While I am not unsympathetic to cydscott's harsh but incisive observations (and indeed I urge you to read his/her review for balance), I experienced the book very differently. Contrary to the impression that the above mentioned review conveys, American Pastoral is not simply about the philosophical musings of an amateur psychoanalyst and unprogressive biographer. True it is that some of those musings can be a bit annoying, but they do serve a purpose in the story: we are presented with an unreliable narrator, one who stumbles rather badly in trying to make sense of the story of his subject, both adding to the sensation of mystery that a stranger's life can have upon us, and reminding us of the clumsiness with which we attempt to understand one another.

    But perhaps the most memorable quality of American Pastoral for me as a reader is the intense tenderness with which Roth views some of his characters. (I do agree, however, with cydscott's complaint--if I understand it correctly--that women characters are portrayed in a more troubling way.) Whatever one may think of some of the narrator's fabrications, the story is in the end remarkably moving, and it chronicles the terrifying reverberations of a complicated moment in American History in the life of an ordinary American family.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • A Tale of Two Cities [Recorded Books]

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Frank Muller
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1095)
    Performance
    (575)
    Story
    (563)

    "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." So begins this classic, one of the most beloved novels of all time. Charles Dickens brings the French Revolution to life through such vivid characters as Charles Darnay, the Old Doctor, Sydney Carton and Lucy Manette. The action peaks with the storming of the Bastille, the dreaded symbol of government authority. And the blade of La Guillotine falls again...

    Amazon Customer says: "Absolute literature...and a page turner at that!"
    "Wonderful novel, polarizing narrator"
    Overall

    I realize that many have praised Frank Muller's narration of A Tale of Two Cities, but I wish to offer a dissenting opinion. There is no denying Mr. Muller's considerable talent as a reader, let alone the splendid quality of his sonorous voice. My problem with Muller's performance is that the voice he employs for the narrator of the novel is every bit as dramatic as the voices he craftily invents for the characters. Thus it requires a bit of concentration to listen to the narration without feeling like one is listening to an intense speech. Listeners who--like me--prefer the sobriety of the voice of the very excellent Ms. Davina Porter, will likely feel a bit put off by the colorful and portentous narration of Mr. Muller. As to the quality of the novel, I humbly agree with the other reviewers.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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