The mundane storyline and conversational narrative style belie the beauty of this work. I found it exquisitely boring until -- after listening to nearly half of it -- I became aware that this was a book very different than the one I had expected and adjusted my mindset accordingly.
This isn't a typical plot-driven work of fiction. It is a glimpse into the life and personality of a child growing up abroad, in the years leading up to the cataclysm of World War 2. Approaching this lustrous ribbon of luminous prose with an open mind and a bit of whimsy is its own reward.
As a literary experience among other works, I give it 4 stars. As a delight and as entertainment at such an unbelievably low price, I give it 5!
John de Lancie as Cassius is pure gold. I knew I recognized the voice, such a compelling performance. I had to look the credits up on the L.A. Theatre Works web site afterward to be sure. He really stole the show.
The audio is definitely on the quiet side and hard to make out at times, what with all the scheming at all. But the great ensemble cast really brings this great play to life.
I don't have a lot to say about this book. I saw the movie years ago, thought it was great, but had mostly forgotten it. I'm going to have to revisit the movie now to compare and contrast.
This book didn't change my life or anything, but it held my interest incredibly well and was -- at the risk of sounding pithy -- incredibly touching and inspiring in a way that is just uncommon enough to be special.
While the narration was a bit grating, this true story about an almost fictitiously horrific crime was gripping. I had to listen all the way through, start to finish, just to find out how it all ended.
Incredibly well written, but I am not sure I would have enjoyed this book as much without the fantastic narration.
With the feel of "The Road" meets "1984" meets "Children of Men" (all of which I enjoyed), this was more a journal than it was a story with a beginning, middle, and end.
I'm not sure I would read this again, but I am glad that I did. Well worth my time.
For those of us who have never known the sorrows of the Old South -- and that's, well, all of us -- this book gives us a bitter taste.
The characters, setting, and ideas explored in this book are illuminating. The author and narrator make this surreal journey terrifyingly real; and while I am not sure that I see myself reading this book again, it has done its dark duty and left its mark in the best way possible.
My only regret is that I read this after King's 11-22-63. Had the reverse been true, my expectations for a modern time travel novel wouldn't have been so unfairly high and I could have enjoyed this book even more.
This is a transitional book, and both my wife and I are excited to listen to the next book.
But it started out rocky. After listening to the rest of the series, the accent which the narrator (whom I love) adopts for Ayla was incredibly jarring for probably the first half of the book. Both my wife and I found it distracting, to say the least, even if there was a good reason for it (to demonstrate how different she really sounded from other people).
The good news is that we got used to it and really enjoyed the book -- so much so that my wife complained aloud when it was finished.
I think everyone who reads this (incredibly rewarding and diverse) series will have different favourites. And while this is not at the top of my list, it was a great read and a worthy addition to an even greater series.
Before Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity there was the Mercury Theatre production of War of the Worlds.
Never mind being startled and scared by things that go bump in the night after watching a horror movie; this broadcast (and others like it) inspired actual widespread panic in those who missed the part at the beginning about it being a work of fiction. Seriously.
Accept no substitutions. Listen to this classic radio drama and then check out the Radiolab show about it (Google is your friend). You'll be glad you did.
You have to train and pass a test to drive a car. Why? Because we're living in a society, and without some agreement on a basic set of rules, chaos ensues and people get hurt. It's a communication problem. Similarly, we all could benefit from everyone being on the same page in regard interpersonal communication.
Just as the fact that you or your associates may be reckless drivers does not invalidate the virtue of traffic laws, the prevalence of liars does not negate the benefits of integrity.
I can't think of a book that is better, start to finish.
That isn't to say that there aren't plenty others that match this book's storytelling, characterization, plotting, research, passion, or scope (not to mention the brilliant narration), but I have found none that accomplish all of these so completely.
I also wouldn't describe any of King's other books (many of which I love) as beautiful, but this really is a thing of beauty -- a work of art. Don't get me wrong: King is a great writer, but much of his work seems uneven; this book is a seamless masterpiece.
If you're like me and were put off by the hubris of any author tackling such sensational subject matter, you owe it to yourself to suspend your skepticism and give this book a chance.
Or not! Remain skeptical and just start listening, and you might find yourself enrapt in spite of yourself. I know I did.
I enjoyed this book, but it took me a bit. I only say that because I found "Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World" by Jennifer Armstrong to be more engrossing.
This is a very comprehensive account of the expedition ("Shipwreck" is more cinematic and prosaic, where this book is more of a documentary), and it was great to get more in depth with the true tale of an incredible expedition.
My only criticism is that the book is a bit on the dry side (which, as a historical account, can be expected to some extent), but the narration was wonderful and managed to really pull me in in spite of the text itself.
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