First, my tepid praise has something to do with the placement of this novel in the "gay and lesbian" category. It does not belong there. There is no gay character, so this may be why I found the story puzzling for a few hours. (Perhaps the author is gay.) Maybe this is the only reason I am writing a review.
Second, the writing style is as much poetry as prose. The sentences are short or are occasionally only phrases; certain figures of speech are repeated [too] frequently. If Marcel Proust is bel canto, Chuck Palahniuk is rap. Since more people listen to Tupac Shakur than Bellini, who cares what I think! The story is inventive, but it failed to be suspenseful, believable, or mature.
I have no issue with the reader, as others did. I think that her deadpan delivery might have been exactly what the author wrote.
This talented woman can both write and read with a skill that makes me want to be reborn—to try again.
This is a wonderful novel. How on earth did Audible accept this reading of it? The reader has absolutely no talent for this task.
I agree with those others who were offended by the sarcasm, which is designed for the converted and less so for the open-minded. This is my only negative: I though it patronizing.
The ideas in the book are worth anyone's interest. Unfortunately, he American system of open bribery, where corporations blatantly pour money into government, is structured to favor reckless spending. This book does not examine closely why our system is is corrupt, nor should it, but the reader might be cautioned that half-steps could be more destructive than regulation.
Thickly spread with self-reflection, this story seems to move slowly, but each aside engrosses the reader and moves the story along. Filled with social commentary that will sparkle for decades.
The reader is tireless and without error. He renders the first-person Charlie in a believable and consistent voice.
There are two points made by the author I thought weak. Both items related to ethics.
Mr. Harris concedes that the effect on civilians of our military can be as great as that of suicide bombers, but we are absolved by regret, they are not. The constraints on Bush might be personal conscience, but one can see only the political--opprobrium awaits those who would laugh at our enemy's children incinerated by a stray missile. Presuming there will be inevitable and helpful civilian hardship makes relying on odds as effective as planning. It is not the gloating that makes the death of innocents so reprehensible. Perhaps the suicide bomber is driven by religion (it seems so), but one might wonder at the options of people facing overwhelming military force on the one hand and UN vetoes on the other after they win repeated appeals in court of world opinion.
A second ethical discussion rallies around the absurd Dershowitz ticking bomb scenario, where some poor CIA operative must let a city be annihilated rather than risk a prison term handed down by some theoretically ungrateful jury. (Never mind that we ask enlisted men to risk their lives for tinier causes.) Harris makes the forceful point that waging war is every bit as brutal on less suspect victims than a few days of torture and then draws the fanciful conclusion that this makes torture okay rather than making the invasion of a nation for the thinnest of excuses wrong. The people being detained and roughed up in Guantanamo are not presumed to have knowledge of a ticking bomb and might be guilty of nothing more than selling a lame camel to a snitching neighbor. More commonly, they are guilty of having taken arms against an invading army. Mr. Harris's reader is asked to see torture as benign because our enemies would do as much; because our bombs are likely to do worse; because Alan Dershowitz sees the day when your daughter might die of asphyxiation when you fail to distain the quaintness of the Geneva Conventions.
Someday I will listen to this book over again and from the moment it ended, I began to look forward to that day. Wolfe skewers his characters under a critic's glass, but the listener is never sure when a character's fortunes will rise or fall. It's an important commentary on university life today.
The reader, Dylan Baker, is astonishing. He is a consummate professional and I will chose books in the future based solely on the fact that he is the reader.
The story of an Indian boy's adventure at sea is intelligent, thoughtful, occasionally suspenseful, sometimes witty, and always sincere. It is impossible to explain why this simple tale has such impact on the listener. Pi presents opinions that are not common, but they are convincingly held. Young Pi is always insightful. He sees his surroundings, his predicaments with humbling clarity.
The reader is first rate. He has the most wonderful Indian-accented British tongue and this gives this wild ride irresistible verisimilitude. Bravo!
For readers who love to learn fascinating information about unfamiliar events in our history, this is for you. The writing is detailed and the wording precise. This book offers a great look at what life was like in Chicago the 1890s. For many, the 90s were not so gay, apparently. I loved the narrative. For readers who prefer continuous action, page turners, this might not be the ideal book for you.
The reader was competent, but he missed opportunities to add punch to the writing. It seemed he was giving too much deference to the historical purity of this excellent book.
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