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Jana L Petersen

Member Since 2008


  • 1Q84

    • UNABRIDGED (46 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami, Jay Rubin (translator), Philip Gabriel (translator)
    • Narrated By Allison Hiroto, Marc Vietor, Mark Boyett

    The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.

    A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver's enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 - "Q" is for "question mark". A world that bears a question....

    Dr. says: "Slow, Strange, and (ultimately) Satisfying"
    "Huge disappointment"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    There are two essential problems with the story. First Murakami's prose is repetitive to the point of annoyance. I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a literary technique, a translation issue, or simply an artifact of the book being written in three parts, but it is frustrating to listen to. Second, there are two narrators in the first two books, and a third narrator is added in book three. This is not only confusing but wholly unnecessary. It feels like a fault of poor editing, or more likely, laziness on Murakami's part.

    How could the performance have been better?

    The story is narrated by three characters, thus there are three narrators. Overall, the audiobook suffers from a lack of coordination of the three voices. Names are pronounced differently by each narrator, for example.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Shantaram

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Gregory David Roberts
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower

    This mesmerizing first novel tells the epic journey of Lin, an escaped convict who flees maximum security prison in Australia to disappear into the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city's poorest slums and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The keys to unlock the mysteries that bind Lin are held by two people: his mentor Khader Khan, mafia godfather and criminal-philosopher; and the beautiful, elusive Karla, whose passions are driven by dangerous secrets.

    Jamie says: "Do Not Miss This"
    "Outstanding performance of a great, big book"
    Where does Shantaram rank among all the audiobooks you???ve listened to so far?

    This is one of the best audiobook performances I've ever heard. "Shantaram" is a long, extraordinary novel with as many twists and turns as the Bombay slums it portrays, so settling into it is a true commitment. Given the length, the story itself does ramble and there are too many philosophical diversions for my taste, but overall, "Shantaram" is a compelling epic presented in a highly enjoyable narration.

    What other book might you compare Shantaram to and why?

    Though "Shantaram" is more recent history, the variety of memorable characters and the quality of the performance reminds me somewhat of the "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett.

    What about Humphrey Bower???s performance did you like?

    Each and every character has a unique voice, with accents as varied as Australian, Afghanistan, Swiss/German, Spanish, American, Nigerian and many variations of Indian, as the book is set in Bombay, now Mumbai. Bower's ability to differentiate the characters through their dialogue is especially helpful given the complexity of the plot and the extraordinary number of significant characters. Even when a character has been out of the plot for several chapters, Bower's tone and inflection quickly brings the correct character to mind. Roberts does an excellent job of creating memorable characters, and Bower effectively brings them to life.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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