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Mark

San Francisco, CA, United States | Member Since 2004

ratings
143
REVIEWS
6
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
19

  • Tree of Smoke: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Denis Johnson
    • Narrated By Will Patton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (387)
    Performance
    (119)
    Story
    (122)

    This is the story of William "Skip" Sands, CIA, engaged in Psychological Operations against the Vietcong, and the disasters that befall him. This is also the story of the Houston brothers, Bill and James, young men who drift out of the Arizona desert and into a war in which the line between disinformation and delusion has blurred away. In its vision of human folly, this is a story like nothing in our literature.

    MadMadeleine says: "Moby Redux"
    "A great read that is worth the effort"
    Overall

    This book got a great review in the NY Times and readily deserved it. I was surprised to see so many negative reviews on Audible and as a result waited to download it. I am glad that I finally did. In fact I liked it so much that I listened to it twice (back to back) a feat that I only performed once before (David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas).

    In defense of the previous reviewers this book presents some challenges to the reader: it has a lot of characters (many of whom adopt nicknames); it jumps around in sequence somewhat; and it lives up to its name (much is implied rather than fully stated).

    In defense of the book it is beautifully written, gives lots to reflect on and is a fascinating story to boot. Although it is set in part in Vietnam during the war it is not about the war. It is a spiritual journey through eyes of some pretty interesting characters set against the backdrop of the war. It is hard to describe why it works but it does.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shantaram

    • UNABRIDGED (43 hrs and 9 mins)
    • By Gregory David Roberts
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    Overall
    (3237)
    Performance
    (1577)
    Story
    (1576)

    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"
    "An outstanding novel from so many perspectives"
    Overall

    31 years ago at 21 I found myself alone and in the strange and wonderous country of India. I spent three weeks there and traveled 3rd class on trains from Dehli to Mumbai. It was simultaneously the greatest and most difficult place I had ever traveled traveled or have traveled since. This incredible novel took me back to the streets of India and helped me to understand many of the things I experienced. It is also a fantastic read: the story is rich and intriguing; the philosophical ponderings are grounded in the context of the story and are deeply satisfying; and the characters are simply alive. I am sure that I'll listen to this again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Company: A Novel of the CIA

    • UNABRIDGED (41 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Robert Littell
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (4998)
    Performance
    (2106)
    Story
    (2099)

    "If Robert Littell didn't invent the American spy novel," says Tom Clancy, "he should have." In this spectacular Cold-War-as-Alice-in-Wonderland epic, Littell, "the American le Carre," takes us down the rabbit hole and into the labyrinthine world of espionage that has been the CIA for the last half-century. "Ostensibly a single novel, The Company can also be listened to as an anthology of cracking good spy stories," says (Publishers Weekly).

    Cynthia says: "Hang on to your Hat"
    "One of the best"
    Overall

    This is hands down one of the most interesting and worthwhile books I have ever listened to. The story spans the period from the end of WWII through the 1991 Soviet coup d'?tat attempt known as the Putsch. Each major event is woven together through the eyes of the central characters. It was hard to stop listening to.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Virtues of War: A Novel of Alexander the Great

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 59 mins)
    • By Steven Pressfield
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (270)
    Performance
    (114)
    Story
    (117)

    Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) ascended to the throne of Macedon at the age of 20. He fought his greatest battles, including the conquest of the mighty Persian Empire, before he was 25, and died at the age of 33, still undefeated by any enemy. His reputation as a supreme warrior and leader of men is unsurpassed in the annals of history.

    Bill says: "Excellent"
    "Another opus from the master of historical fiction"
    Overall

    Stephen Pressfield is brilliant. I was brought to tears with his descriptions of Spartan life in the Gates of Fire. It was a book that I truely rued finishing. The Virtues of War is equally brilliant. This is history that you can touch. I found myself wandering the web looking for maps of Alexander's conquests. Pressfield helps you to understand what the unprecidented feats of Alexander the Great felt like from within his shoes. I recommend it without hesitation. On finishing it I immediately replayed it from start to finish.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Life of Bees

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Sue Monk Kidd
    • Narrated By Jenna Lamia
    Overall
    (2596)
    Performance
    (337)
    Story
    (341)

    Lily Owens has shaped her entire life around one devastating memory - the day her mother was killed. When she and her "stand-in-mother," a fierce-hearted black woman named Rosaleen, are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily enters a secret world of bees and honey, and of the Black Madonna who presides over this household of strong, wise women.

    France says: "Secret Life of Bees"
    "A great story well told"
    Overall

    This is a wonderful story of courage and character told from the perspective of a poor black girl in the midst of segregation. I expected to be bored but found myself riveted. The characters are fantastic and the narration is flawless. It is a timeless story that captures the reader from the start.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Shadow Divers: Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of WWII

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Robert Kurson
    • Narrated By Michael Prichard
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2074)
    Performance
    (554)
    Story
    (556)

    In 1991, acting on a tip from a local fisherman, two scuba divers discovered a sunken German U-boat, complete with its crew of 60 men, not too far off the New Jersey coast. The divers, realizing the momentousness of their discovery, began probing the mystery. Over the next six years, they became expert and well-traveled researchers, taught themselves German, hunted for clues in Germany, and constructed theories corrective of the history books, all in an effort to identify this sunken U-boat and its crew.

    Douglas says: "GRIPPING!"
    "Geat adventure story!"
    Overall

    I am a diver myself and expected to be underwhelmed by this story. I wasn't, I was riveted. Although it starts out with a sensationalist stint on the dangers of wreck diving it soon finds its pace as a story of adventure and self discovery. The detail, research and historical context make this a unique and delightful read. The narration is excellent. I recommend it highly.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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