This was one of the most touching and emotionally gripping memoirs I've heard on recorded books. It relates the journey of two sensitive, intelligent, artistic kids, Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, from self-imposed bohemian poverty to the heights of artistic achievement and fame. Throughout, the two maintained an abiding friendship and a deep love for one another.Their mutual trust and support through hardship, illness, shifting sexual preferences, friends and fashions, is an inspiration and a deeply compelling "read."
Patti Smith captures the New York musical, literary and artistic scenes of the late '60s and '70s with intimate, atmospheric detail. I loved hearing stories about Ginsberg, Burroughs, Corso, Dylan, Warhol, Sam Shepard and other denizens of the Village, the Lower East Side and the Chelsea Hotel, told by someone who was at once a wide-eyed observer and a mover and shaker in her own right. This is an engrossing and moving book, read with touching simplicity in Patti's heavy South Jersey accent. Above all, it is a love story about two odd, striving kids who achieved great fame and fortune. Sadly, this book is primarily an homage to Robert, who died of aids in 1989. He had lots more art to make and lost many years of a possibly fulfilled and a happy life.
Anyone interested in art or music in particular, and the NY bohemian, beat, glam, gay and transgener worlds in particular, that existed with the scene, will be fascinated. This book and its protagonists are fascinating and, if you don't fall in love with them, you might at least come away with respect and admiration for how they invented their lives and outsized personalities. The author, though, stay focused and tells the story so intimately that you feel you know her and are hearing the book over a cup of hot tea in a NYC apartment during those days of thrilling discoveries, brilliant artworks, and a restless, new freedom of behavior that, in some, ending tragically.
This is a book to read, listen to, and cherish.
The richness of Benjamin Black's prose coupled with the emotive reading by Timothy Dalton made for an absolutely compelling listen. This is the kind of literary mystery book I love, laden with atmosphere and filled with arresting descriptions and deeply-drawn characters. I actually re-listened to many parts of this book just to hear the brilliant turns of phrase that Mr. Black has conjured from a seemingly deep well of creativity.
I have listened to dozens of books in the past few years, and "Christine Falls" ranks high on my list of the best of them. It is well plotted, with breathtaking descriptions and rich atmosphere, and the reader, Timothy Dalton, is superb. I was engrossed from its dark, moody beginning to its surprising and twisted ending. I love mysteries that combine a strong story line with good characters and a smart, literary sensibility - Le Carre is one of my favorite writers - and this book didn't disappoint me in any way. I highly recommend it.
I am surprised and disappointed by some of the comments about Mark Hammer's narration. I've now read (er... listened to) all the Dave Robicheaux books that have been narrated by Hammer. He so captures the feel of Southwest Louisiana, with its various accents, subtle innuendo and unusual characters, that I have found it almost impossible to continue listening to other JLB books. I know that Will Patton is a fine actor, but Hammer has gotten into my skin in a way that's rare in my experience, and I am a little grieved that there isn't more by him to look forward to. I certainly hope to hear more from him in the future.
As usual, Hiaasen's over-the-top characters are hilarious, but there's always an underlying morality at work having to do with greed, avarice and the rape of our environment. None of this detracts from the fun, though. A couple of times I laughed so hard I almost went off the road. Definitely worth listening to.
I'm in the middle of this right now so I can't give a totally educated opinion. However, a couple of times I laughed out loud because some of the characters sounded like Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouzot. I reserve further judgment until I find out how the plot develops. I can only hope it's as good as The Pink Panther!
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