This story is a complete departure from the hugely popular Kurt Wallander series and Mankell's many other excellent stories. The Italian Shoes is pensive, much more introspective and reflective. It wanders slowly across the lifespan of an intelligent but ego-centric physician with minimal people skills and zero ability to form intimate, meaningful relationships. Even his "good deeds" were performed with a cold, clinically detached, sterile touch. The pace is slow and the writing does not convey the excitement and sense of urgency one expects, based on Henning Mankell's other works. I kept waiting in vain for the other shoe to drop.
I'm not comfortable recommending it because it is so slow and meandering. Henning Mankell is a wonderful writer. He infuses his characters with idiosyncrasies and human frailties that breathe life into them. The lives in Italian Shoes were simply not ones I felt compelled to know more about. I listened to every word of this book because I am a loyal fan and kept hoping for the "payoff" that didn't arrive.
The never-ending story.
This is a wonderful yarn for anyone who enjoys historical novels. There is something for everyone... romance, humor, intricate multiple story lines, mystery and suspense.
Diana Gabaldon is a very skillful storyteller. Her use of language is beautiful and the depth of accurate historical research and attention to every detail is amazing. The character development is complete and satisfying.
Davina Porter is a captivating actor/narrator and the perfect match for Diana Gabaldon's work. She breathes life into each character and adds a subtlety and dimension of clarity to each of them that truly enhances the listening experience. Porter's mastery of dialects is exceptional and she has the unique ability to read the male and female roles convincingly.
Ian, a teenaged Scottish highlander and nephew of James Frasier, makes the independent decision to remain forever with a Mohawk Indian tribe in exchange for the safe release of his beloved uncle, aunt and their new son-in-law.
Completely enjoyable. This book is long... but not long enough!
Perhaps at a later date but because Henning Mankell is so prolific, there are many of his books I have yet to read. The Kurt Wallander series is exciting and I look forward to moving on, sequentially, through every one of these books and to watching the Wallander character develop.
Henning Mankell has humanized detective Kurt Wallander by allowing him to be somewhat flawed and vulnerable. The realistic interaction between all the characters, coupled with natural dialogue, reinforces the storyline so it seems completely plausible. This story is set in the early 1990s so the communications, the technology and the overall pace of life is a fraction less frantic and uncensored than the life we know today. It may be one reason that the discovery of two dead bodies in a life raft on the open sea is marginally less shocking to the 21st century reader than it might have been a little more than 20 years ago.
There is no question that Dick Hill's interpretation of every character enhances the listener's experience on many levels. Mr. Hill is an extraordinary reader who distinguishes each personality by a nuanced speech pattern and subtle rythm, making the listener feel like an eavesdropper on the actual conversation.
I'd love the luxury of listening, uninterrupted to the entire book... or the entire series for that matter. The great advantage of Dick Hill's reading is that it is both exciting and natural, so if I have to stop listening and start again later, I don't feel the need to
The entire Kurt Wallander series is entertaining, exciting and interesting. You will love this intelligent and completely believeable sleuth. The mysteries are just that... mysterious and perplexing. These are murder mysteries so there is the expected violence but it is generally contained in the opening chapter and not of the extremely graphic nature one frequently finds in other works in this genre.
Rebecca Burns narration is so dull that it makes the experience of listening to this great classic a chore. Audible.com. offers three narrated versions of Sister Carrie. The one by Jim Killavey is the worst and the one by narrator C.M. Hebert is the best choice by far. Unfortunately, C.M. Hebert's rendition is not yet offered in the enhansed format.
The narrator's voice is so unsuited to this classic literature that there is no point in listening. In a word, terrible.
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