What I really liked about this book were the interesting details and the way in which the scientific content was integrated so well with the character dynamics.
But this book was ...epic!
Fabulous narration as well. I just listened to this for the second time and enjoyed it even more than the first time.
To enjoy this book.
After searching around online, I learned that there is a specific structure to the book that is captured in the formatting of the hard copy. This doesn't transfer over to the audio version very well.
I also found that even after several hours of listening, I still didn't feel like I knew very much about the characters. Character development was done through convoluted action and staccato conversations. The result was that the characters were barely indistinguishable from each other.
This is well written detective story that takes place in Ghana.
I love that this story is set in Ghana just like a Michael Connelly book is set in California or a Steig Larsson book is set in Sweden. It's the setting where the author is comfortable and the best place to tell a particular story. Which might make more sense if I can explain what the book is not.
It's not a story about westerners in Africa. It's not a story about the struggle and strife of life in Africa as written by a non-African. It's not a cartoon-ish depiction of native Africans (like Alexander McCall Smith's books can sometimes be). It simply takes place there. Which means that their are interesting cultural details that are included because of the place setting, but those details are not included to make a political point or to be set up against a comparable western standard.
To put this in context - I love reading about Africa. I've read a wide range of fiction and non-fiction set within and about South Africa. And as wonderful as many of those stories are, they are almost always written by a non-native African or tell the story through western eyes.
I love that Kwerty's book just tells a story about the people who live their everyday lives in Ghana. The detective story is well done (Admittedly, I did kind of know who the murderer was given some of the early fore-shadowing and was disappointed by this at first. But the way the story unfolded was still satisfying and I had some moments of doubt as different suspects were investigated.) The main character is wonderfully flawed. I hope the author keeps this guy around. I'm guessing that he has future plans for Detective Dawson.
It looks like they are promoting Kwerty as another McCall Smith and while I understand that they are trying to capitalize on the success of the Mma Ramotswe stories, I think this book stands on it's own.
I love Arthur Bryant.
The characters in this series are just brilliant and I love the narration. Fowler has a great talent for colorful description and his characters have interesting insights and ideas. The fact that the stories are intriguing just makes the books all around good "reads".
I had to start this twice. At first listen, I had a little bit of trouble getting into the story. The author doesn't reveal the story through alot of narration. The dialogue and action help reveal the story and I think this was why I had a slow start with it.
But once the story got going, it was great fun. The characters are well-developed. They have flaws and weaknesses that go along with their intelligence and strengths.
I look forward to listening to more books from this author.
This was a really great book. The story is complex, yet the author never loses track of how all of the details work together.
The detailed effects of astronomy and biology and how science works over time are maintained and woven into the details of the story. This makes for satisfying science fiction.
In addition to the wonderful complexity of the story is a cast of believable characters.
My only complaint would have to be the narrator. He infuses sarcasm into almost every sentence of the book. There are times when sarcasm is appropriate because a character is actually being sarcastic. But when the narrator uses sarcasm to speak neutral parts of the story it can be a bit grating on the listener's nerves. Overall, the guy is a good reader - he'd be excellent if he could figure out how to soften the sarcastic tone of his voice and only use that tone when appropriate.
That is what I'm thinking, though I still have two hours left of the recording. This is not a bad story - it just tends to go on and on and on with details that don't add anything to the characters or to the story.
The narrator is not one of the best that you'll ever listen to. There seems to be "chic-lit" style of narrator for these types of books and they have a tendency to make each sentence sound like a question. It can be a bit annoying at times.
The combination of narrator, who sounds like she is reading aloud to a kindergarten class, and the writing which is full of cliches and is unnecessarily descriptive, makes this book almost unbearable.
The main character is uninteresting. She's the stranger that you get stuck next to on a long plane trip who just won't stop talking. Her pseudo-philosophizing is naive and childish - though it doesn't seem to be the author's intention that the character should come across this way.
The main character, Ridley, talks to the reader throughout the book, saying things like, "I know what you're thinking". It's very irritating because she seems to assume that the readers are as unintelligent and one dimensional as she is.
"I know what you're thinking". Oh, really? Because, what I was thinking was, "This book is pretty bad!"
Have you ever sat through a movie that had a few dumb bits, but paid off with beautifully clever or amazingly funny moments?
That's what I found with this book. Perhaps it could have used a bit more editing, but honestly, I'd like to "read" it again in print because I think there is more to the book than what comes across in the listening.
I couldn't help thinking of the cliched phrase, "from the ridiculous to the sublime" while listening to the book. There are moments of stilted, silliness combined with passages of pure genius.
Thank you Mark Helprin! I still can't get over the word "opheliated" - I just love it.
This is a wonderful book. And definitely a book that is great to listen to. The characters are unforgettable. Funny and completely enjoyable. I've been recommending this to everyone I meet who is looking for an entertaining read.
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