there was A High Wind in Jamaica. Rather than taking over an island, these kids take over a pirate ship...and the pirates are bamboozled. It's not a comic story, but a fascinating character sketch of a 10 year old girl becoming aware of her self and her place in the world and a down-and-out pirate in an age where technology is leaving him behind. Although the story is mostly about 10 year old Emily, there are no heroes and Emily is at once a remarkable and very ordinary child.
This is a very complex story about coming of age in a very complicated world. It is not sugar-coated.
I remember the movie in the 60s with Anthony Quinn and James Coburn. I liked the movie, but honestly the personas of both of those actors were too big to capture the very ordinary human condition of the pirates in the book. It's well worth the read.
Several reviews said Tartt is a modern day Dickens. Okay, this is richly woven. Lots of detail. But in Dickens, there's a sense of redemption coming for someone--if you just stick with the story. But I couldn't stick with this. It opens with the main character at age 27/28--but the story starts with him at age 13. Halfway through the second quadrant, he's still thirteen and I'm thinking "Just how long is this kid going to be 13? Can we fast forward to 27? How are we going to get through the next 13 years if 6 months has taken up this much time in the book?"
Too many of the characters are two-dimensional--fairy-tale characters with no depth. The ones that are intriguing get whisked away too quickly. Maybe they appear later in the book, but honestly at least one of them needed to be more present in the second quandrant of this book to keep me interested enough to see what happens to the main character. I can't finish it.
For all of it's detail, the story lacks veracity. Too much information, too little consequence.
The narration is great and I will definitely look forward to other books narrated by David Pittu.
The recording starts at Chapter 2, then skips from 3 to 5. It might be a great book and a wonderful performance....but I checked out as soon as I realized the recording was botched.
This was a delightful book. Well written. It covers the time in London's East End pretty much right after WWII. It provides an amazing historical perspective on medical history, particularly that of ob/gyn at a time that was not all that long ago, but seems like another world entirely. It also provides perspective on the lives of London's poor before the economy around the docks collapsed. Oh, and before the pill. It really was another world.
Okay, I really liked the premise of the story and I know it was fiction. And a fiction within a fiction. The writing was excellent. The performance was excellent. It's the story itself that disappointed me.
First, a small point. That's not how exotic animals are currently trained. (Read "Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched" by Amy Sutherland.) These old-fashioned memes that are stuck in the popular culture drive me crazy. They are no help to us or the animals that share our lives (domestic or exotic).
Second, without revealing a key feature of the plot, the fiction went too far for me. It broke too many laws of the physical world. If this were a fantasy novel, that could've been dealt with. But it's not in the fantasy genre so there was one request for the suspension of disbelief too many and that was centered around a key development in the plot. So, I just felt dissappointed.
This is an excellent story to get lost in! Epic storytelling at its very best. Save it for a cross-country drive or some other week- long endeavor where you need the company of a gripping story and you will have a great time!
I was sucked in to this story. It's emotionally very complex...so the resolution was altogether too easy. I ended it feeling disappointed. Ultimately, this story was too shallow for its own depth. I like to listen to audiobooks a couple of times. I won't be listening to this one twice...but I didn't make that decision until the very end.
Alexander McCall Smith wrties lovely, gentle stories about ordinary people. His insights into our pettiness and kindness are universal. I love the No. 1 Ladies Detectvie Agency series!
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