El Cerrito, CA, United States | Member Since 2010
By Blood by Ellen Ullman rates very high on my top 10 list for 2012. Quick and craggy, rough and honest in a way only the very best noir dares to be, this paranoid narrative takes us through that foggy period in San Francisco's history when the Zodiac killer was running loose and young men back from Vietnam were laying drunk in the streets.
From this dark time springs a dark tale - a man looking to escape troubles in distant cities overhears an intimate discussion in the therapist's office next to him and is drawn in to a tale of woe he is never meant to hear. And we, the Audible listeners, are drawn in with him. Lines divide as we all eavesdrop on this tale within a tale, and the picture blurs as we realize as the listener our narrator may be a bit short of a full deck. Boundaries are crossed, tensions are high, mysteries are developed and not always answered, scenes are set perfectly, and a wonderful listening experience is created in this book.
Malcolm Hillgartner's narration is perfect for By Blood. He manages, while still sounding pleasant to the ears, to also portray someone slightly unhinged with his tone and this perfectly portrays the words of the story's narrator. Just listening to him call out each chapter with a real intensity was a pleasure. Truly an A+.
I am a huge fan of apocalyptic fiction, and this book really started my love affair with Audible. Scott Brick's narration matches Justin Cronin's writing style perfectly here - The Passage is a story that takes its time unfolding, painting pictures of the worlds we need to know and the characters we need to care about to make this book matter. Cultures aren't built or destroyed in a day, and the author and narrator both know that. So sit back and enjoy the experience, because this isn't a traditional action/adventure vampire book. It is an epic!
i loved this audiobook, and i felt nora ephron was speaking directly to me. i felt as if we were sitting in a tiny coffee shop in new york city and chatting warmly, stopping only to sip our cappucinos and watch the world go by. i listened to this just after her passing, to honor her memory and her work.
there aren't a lot of bells and whistles to i feel bad about my neck -- these are nora's thoughts on the effort involved in women's beauty regimens and how we all (herself included) continue to subject ourself to a ridiculous amount of plucking and shaving and lotioning every day; falling in and out of love with advice from certain cooks on hosting; a diatribe on purses and one on moving in new york; and now-moving thoughts on aging and death in our society today. not too deep and not too funny but honest. i felt a simple truth in her words that i don't feel in a lot of memoirs today, as they try to be as humourous as sedaris or moving or painful. here are just some simple thoughts, some musings to muse over. what a concept, in today's age.
i also enjoyed her reading of this book, although i know from reviews some others didn't -- i felt she was just speaking her truth, not dressing the narration up or making it too much of a story. and i think that's fine, i think that is just what it was meant to be. rip nora.
summer reads this year seem to be all about classical living with sinister undertones, the social niceties we all go through and what we are capable of when we stop being nice, and tigers in red weather is no different. it goes back to a time just at the end of world war two, when women are overjoyed at the end of rationing and ready to receive home husbands who they've been without since the beginning of their marriages.
this is a wonderful book to listen to, rather than read, because each character in the novel takes turns narrating. events are recounted one way, and then another, and like a detective we as the listener are able to gather clues and put together the actual events from everyone's differing viewpoints.
tigers in red weather has an indulgent and enjoyable tone, amidst all the dinner parties and high hopes of the late fourties, and it is addicting to hear each characters' secrets revealed and see who will tell their story next. katherine kellgren does a great job handling all of the different characters voices.
it takes a type of high caliber, underpraised writing and a certain enchanting but fallible character to have the sort of cult following jo nesbo's harry hole possesses. reviewers sing the praises of nesbo's investigators harry hole series, and all insist anyone interested in meeting harry start with the redbreast, the first book of the series to be translated from the original norwegian.
my interested had been piqued by the leopard and the devil's star, both serial killer huntdowns further along in the series, and i was hesitant to dive into the historical fiction novel which the redbreast's summary seemed to described.
and there is historical fiction -- the novel alternates between past and present tense, the stories of the past seemingly unconnected to the present day mystery in such a way that i felt lost and considered giving up on the book about 1/3 of the way through. life is too short for long winded tales, right?
somewhere about half way through, though, i felt the redbreast coming together and knitting me up into its story-- i began to see a side of harry hole that made me understand him and the avid readers who sing his praises as a flawed but fascinating character, and even though the pace of the writing hadn't necessarily quickened, my interest in it had. the big reveal was, like it is in any good mystery, well worth the wait it took to get there.
i was very happy to meet harry in the redbreast, and i'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series (or what has been translated of it) now.
final thought -- i often wonder if jo nesbo is irritated at claims of being "the next stieg larsson" as is on the cover of this book -- the girl with the dragon tattoo wasn't published in sweden until 2005. jo nesbo was winning awards in 1997. i often wonder if nordic crime writers love or hate the girl with the dragon tattoo series, and how much it seems to make all other writing from their area fall in its shadow.
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