My biggest complaint about Bryce Courtney is...his titling! The two books I've listened to, "Brother Fish" and "The Potato Factory" are truly marvelous stories-- and I do call them stories vs. novels purposefully. Yet the titles don't entice, and these books richly deserve...to be enticing. Courtney is just an awesome storyteller, it's okay that there's predictability, a bit of cliche, a bit of platitude. Because that's just... a bit. Much more than those small bits and pieces, there is a great Courtney universe to enjoy. This particular book -- a book about the notorious "Prince of Fences," a true-life scoundrel of the gravest sort--his wife and his one-time mistress...all shipped to Australia... is incredibly rich in character development. As in "Brother Fish" Courtney has treated his female characters with the same generosity that he has his males, and once again he treats of villains and villainy in a way that doesn't demonize and doesn't border on caricature.
I think, when I'velistened to these books that more than anything I am impressed that they're gripping, fun, marvelous stories that are written by a man of compassion-- you can feel this author's huge, gorgeous heart beating through the pages. The other thing that's interesting-- both books I've read emphasize literacy-- reading saves the characters again and again, and in fact the book jacket informs us that the author is a literacy champion. Beyond his advocacy, the works themselves are the best champions, he has written books that can truly instill the love of reading...and the desire to read more within its readers. Strong recommendation!
I've never read or listened to a James Lee Burke book I didn't like, so I come in with that prejudice. This hero, like Dave Robicheaux, is battle-scarred,demon-chased and damaged but not dead yet, still alight with desire for love and justice.
As always with Burke, a solid story, excellent villains, descriptions of landscape and characters that rival any fine writer's out there, notes of redemption. Burke's language is, as always elegiac and my only gripe in listening to it vs. reading it is....come'on what bad guys speak with such poetic erudition? It works on the page, and it's part of Burke's flow but in narration it's just too gorgeous for the down and out. But I like hearing it enough that it's okay. Burke always provokes thought, he keeps us entertained.
The narrator is perfectly paired with the material, and the "Feast Day of Fools" metaphor (there's a bit of a lecture by one of the improbably bad guys about metaphors in the book) is wonderfully wrought.
Probably not! But that's not a slam, it's a saga, but not...an Epic
Excellent command of multiple characters/intonations - superb actor
Wouldn't. It's a good name.
Brought pre-World War II and beginning of World War II to life through eyes and hearts of one family, making what seems already ancient and long ago deeply personal. An excellent introduction to the era from a very American family/set of eyes.
This book would appeal to readers/listeners who like a fine writer who can bundle atmosphere, character development and action -- more like an excellent mystery writer in some ways (Mankell, James Lee Burke) - author has created a haunting/intriguing book. Great delivery by Doyle, and most remarkably-- he pulls off an ending that does the entire book before credit. So many, many books like this end with a whimper, this one does not - the author has crafted a superb ending that does credit to his writing, his characters and the history also envelopes the work. I'm reading more Neville!
A troubled, troubling, stirring, well-wrought end to the Wallander cycle that has me wanting to read and listen to all of them again. I discovered this author on Audible and have savored each book. In this last novel, Mankell has succeeded in what so few authors seem to be capable of, closing his series subtly, beautifully, remaining true to his characters and yet also exploring his terrain with wonderful intuition and character insights, keeping the book moving with compelling twists and turns. Mankell has turned the book, Wallander, and the reader all on their heads and has the reader/listerner looking at everything within (the pages, the plot, the life) in a new way-- sad and glorious. How I will miss Wallander, and how grateful I am that I met him and his creator!
This book oddly combines the successes and failures of her last two novels-- after hating "What Came Before He Shot Her" and Loving "Careless in Red," I had more than one twinge of fear that this was going down the "What Came Before..." path. It didn't. Tough book to review because I don't want to give any hints of the twists or turns and there are some. Stay with the book, it'll surprise you in good ways, characters we know and love continue to develop too. Some scenes tremble a little too close to the disgusting and I confess fast forwarding through at least three ummm...unpleasantries. But in the end a satisfying read, and when as she often says, the other shoe finally falls and the reader figures out where George is going it's a delight indeed!
What's the equivalent of a page turner in audioland...an ear burner? This one's hard to turn off, you want to listen to it in big gulps, so clear off your calendar for a 18 mile walk or a weekend cleaning frenzy. Author has a really unique premise, the core creative idea that drives the story is novel and ambitious. So in terms of plot, and unique slant I'd give this 5 stars. But I gotta knock it down a bit for very stock characters, the protagonist is cliche, the supporting cast...ditto. Don't let that stop you from listening though, still great entertainment and I'm absolutely on to the next one!
I'd call this book absolutely charming if that didn't sound like a weak compliment generally administered to quaint books with just a slight degree of cleverness and whimsy. This book is fun, tons of cleverness and whimsy, nothing slight about it, and succeeded me in getting me to like and root for characters from the future and the past...especially the Dog and the Cat.
This is a fun and funny book, laugh out loud in parts, absolute great read. Gotta find out if Connie Willis has written others !
Some books are better read than listened to....and after listening to this extremely long book not once but twice, I have to say this is one of them. "The Savage Detectives" is a high-end tour-de-force, includes the testimony of so many characters and the thread of enough lives and stories that it warrants a careful reading vs. a thorough listening to or two, as in my case. After my first listening, much escaped me and 2/3 of the way through I had put so much time into the book I was determined to finish it but felt it was a slog. However, the book ends so beautifully, I was replenished and decided that now that I had half the threads, I would listen to it again. And that was worth doing too as I was then able to distinguish characters/voices and weave together the books threads all the better.
The book is exactly that -- very "writerly" so having the actors read what is supposed to be written testimony at times comes across as contrived, and the first narrator initially irritated me to no end because, despite the actor's surname (Lopez) he sounded like a WASP. Didn't bother me as much the second time around as I was used to it. The second narrator covers so many voices it's incredible, and his voice is much more authentic but again having the same actor cover gosh...at least 15 voices that are written in style of testimony is difficult.
Parts of the book are quite beautiful, parts are tedious, the author treats his central poet characters as almost messianic which translates as a bit self-indulgent. There is a very gratuitous stinky vagina scene that's bothersome, but then some wonderful international scenes and the actual detection --there is that as the poets trace a phantom like female poet from a generation before these is extremely well-executed.
If you have time to listen to a very long book twice, give it a shot. Impossible to swallow in one listening. This is worth reading,but best suited for the printed page.
I often gravitate toward very long audiobooks since I listen with such frequency I feel like I'm definitely getting my money's worth. No argument here on this score, defintely a great word per penny ratio. But the very length of this book has become an internal argument in my mind -- is it just too long? Is it fair to even think about length when it concerns a huge life, multiple characters, or even any life if the author can keep the reader engaged? I'm not sure yet. The book is told from multiple points of view, but all of it centers around one character, EJ Watson. The writing is superb, the narrative at time does drift, but I think the author has done an excellent job of telling the same story from several viewpoints and keeping the telling of the story-- though we know the ending again and again and again -- fresh. I truly think the EXCEPTIONAL narrator keeps the story alive however. I have more than a sneaking suspicion that if I had picked this book up to read, it would not have held my interest. The author owes a lot of credit to the narrator on this one for making the book really come alive, and adding another dimension to the telling that a reader of printed word just would not get. Anyway, if you want a nice long read, an excellent narrator, and really some fine writing you will get it here, but if you're about listening for entertainment only this probably isn't the book for you.
I get a little nervous when a collection of stories/novellas comes out from a novelist...especially if protaganist is a major character in said novelist's body of work. Usually. I worry that the stories will be froth, light entertainment. No worries with Mankell, these mysteries are just that, not short stories, they add to the already multi-dimensionality that is Kurt Wallandar, they provide background and depth. A great "listen" for the Wallandar fan...I know Mankell says he's done with the series but this is one case where I welcome prequels, sequels, intermidials...whatever I can get!
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