Somewhere I was recommended this story as a good read. Since I am a fan of real-life survival stories that included “The Log Walk”, “Unbroken”, and “Lost in Shangri-La”, this book seemed a real good choice. I was not disappointed at all as this is an extremely harrowing and arduous tale with an ultimate happy ending. Man has an incredible will to live through the most harrowing of experiences and this is a tale of the extreme in every sense. Also, this is a story of Norway in WWII in which only small fragments of information exist. This adds to the allure of this incredible story.
I admit, I was a little apprehensive listening to this book. Sure, I have a fascination with the Man Booker prize book winners and their fantastic story telling gifts but I really had a disdain for Cromwell from my early childhood. Cromwell never got a positive look-in through my history lessons at school and always looked like an overgrown Friar Tuck. After watching ‘Man for All Seasons” which paints Sir Thomas More as an angel, I had some doubts about the Tudors and their times. So, putting my prejudices aside I gave a chance to Hillary Mantel to provide her own fictionalized story of a reviled figure in English history. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Yes, it is long and arduous at times and quite detailed on historical names and places. But it is never boring. You always wanted to know the next chapter in the intrigue and poor More does get a good bashing – especially by the narrator. There are no heroes in this book – just old fashioned conniving royals in their fancy Court trying to upend each other. A thoroughly good read and I will now have to see what happens to Ann Boleyn in “Bringing up the Bodies”. I hear it’s a trilogy and Cromwell will get his just deserts soon enough.
What an amazing listen this book was. Totally engrossing! Salim’s life starts as an adventure, an escape from the mundane, and yet becomes colorful, complex and hectic. The writing is the true champion here and the surroundings, the people, politics and Africa, the supporting pillar. You really aren’t quite sure how it will all end but as the narrator is telling us of his past, we can only deduce that no calamity occurs. This was my first Naipaul and I hope to engross myself in more of his tales. Ah, the ending – was that an ending? We will never know I guess.
History is fascinating! No more than the sinking of the Titanic. I really wanted to get into this book and find out more about its passengers and the horrors they faced. The sacrifice with a stiff upper lip! It is all here except that the narrative is so dry and the performance sub-par. What a shame! There are parts within the book that is so harrowing and heart breaking as I knew it would be. As I listened, I lost my way due to the excruciating detail of names, places and relationships. Perhaps I need to listen to it again with a different mindset to capture the background of the individuals of first class through steerage. The story deserves it.
This was my third Morton after Forgotten Garden and Distant Hours. After the Forgotten Garden, which I believe is her best, I was completely hooked on her story telling. I am always absorbed by her characters, locale and period. My love for the early 20th century of Britain is always beautifully captured by her mystical storytelling and they always involve a truly believable heroine. House at Riverton is such a novel and amply captures the sentiment of the ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ period. I simply loved this book. As always, the narration goes a long way to sell the words and Lee, yet again, delivers. Great, great book …
I picked this novel up for free recently. The adage “you get what you pay for” is so wrong in this context. Charlotte Bronte’s superlative love story captures your heart from its very first few pages. Remember that this story was written when women struggled to find literary publishers and their artistic powers were subjugated by convention and prejudice. That is why this story is so remarkable with its passion, mystery, religion, and even such controversial topics as bigamy and living as a mistress. An incredible story from an incredible literary family.
As an Asian immigrant myself who grew up most of his life in London and went to University there, I immediately connected with the story and the old judge. I now live in the USA and the story of Biju struggling to earn his keep seems so real in so many ways for new migrants. There are so many beautiful and colorful characters in this story each with their own wonderful tales and I was totally lost in nostalgia for the old “Raj”. The English certainly left an indelible mark in India and post-independent India never recovered. In one sense, this is the story of moving-on and yet it is also the story of longing for the old ways. The vocal delivery is absolutely top-notch in this release. I loved this book and it should not be missed!
This is a beautifully written book that captures the essence of the human condition. Sometimes we make choices, and they may be for the right cause but not what we really desire. In this way, we feel for the characters in this book who are trying to overcome their imperfect lives, abiding by the rules of normalcy, facing tragedy and heartache, and yet overcoming the challenges over a 50 year saga. As I listened, I sometimes laughed out loud and then sulked with the disappointments of the protagonists. I was immersed in each sub-plot, each character, each wonderful location, and ofcourse the “Pitch”. What a lovely book – movie anyone?
I am always drawn to real-life stories rather than imaginary tales. That is because in reality, they are much more fantastic in every sense of the word. The story within this book is remarkable and almost dream like. Yet, through thorough and painful research, we are given a tale of the unbelievable in 18th century France. A time in which many a citizen lived in fear of its government and the notorious guillotine. Through this cloud rose a man of color, from the French colonies, that led many French soldiers to glory. I loved this book! General Alexandre Dumas will stay with me for the rest of my life. A must read!
I remember many years ago as a child, watching the Russian movie Solaris by director Andrey Tarkovskiy. To tell you the truth, I really did not understand it one little bit. It was a confusing film that nearly put me to sleep. It was hard to grasp and I had a very difficult time understanding the concepts around the ocean and its manifestations. But the story lingered in my mind thereafter and I knew that one day I would have to read Stanislaw Lem’s novel to understand it as an adult. Finally I got to listen to this incredible novel. This is one of the very best science fiction novels ever written. Lem really studies our inner soul and its interaction with the impossible. As you engross yourself in the novel, do not be disappointed that there is no final answer to the mystery of the ocean, but marvel in the way he entices you to answer the questions the protagonist struggles through. What would you do in an event like this? That is really what Lem is asking of you … A must read!
I really wanted to read this book after some recommendations from readers who enjoyed books like Unbroken, Lost in Shangri-La, Long Walk and We Die Alone. It is no doubt a remarkable story of resilience against the harsh sea. A man surviving for 130+ days at sea on rain water, fish and occasional birds seems unbelievable but it is a true story that solely belongs to a remarkable human being - Poon Lim. Unfortunately, the book does little credit to this man’s incredible journey through lackluster writing and the vocal performance on the audiobook is less than stellar. Yet, it is still an engrossing listen and I recommend it because of its remarkable subject matter.
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