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tthomson53

Richmond, VA, United States | Member Since 2009

8
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 3 reviews
  • 83 ratings
  • 234 titles in library
  • 23 purchased in 2014
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  • Sidetracked: A Kurt Wallander Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Henning Mankell
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (466)
    Performance
    (268)
    Story
    (267)

    While tracking a demented serial killer, Detective Kurt Wallander is beset with obstacles: a department distracted by the threat of cutbacks and the frivolity of World Cup soccer, a tenuous relationship with a widow, and an unshakably haunting preoccupation with a girl who set herself on fire.

    Rebecca says: "Gripped again..."
    "Another great story marred by poor narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is another great story about a very depressive detective. Unfortunately, Dick Hill seems to be the narrator for all of the Wallander novels. He's fine when speaking like a real man, but he slips so easily into an infantile, nasal voice when speaking for just about everyone except Kurt Wallander, which ruins them as real characters. His female impersonations are a joke for the same reason. I'm afraid I'm going to have to default to the written word for the most recent four books in the series. I can't stand Hill any more!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Life After Life: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Kate Atkinson
    • Narrated By Fenella Woolgar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1407)
    Performance
    (1246)
    Story
    (1260)

    On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

    Diane says: "Life after life after life after life after life.."
    "I Think I Missed a lot..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I liked this book a lot, as it's extremely well written and tells interesting stories about a likable character who has a wealth of interesting experiences over a lifetime beginning in 1910. But the book's structure frustrated me. Not because I got lost as one after another of Ursula Todd's many lives (and deaths) morphed into the next and time shifted accordingly, but because I expected to see more obvious connections and threads in and between her many stories, as one does in Colum McCann's "Transatlantic", the best book I've read in a while. As in "Transatlantic", where real-life characters such as Frederick Douglass and Senator George Mitchell make more-than-cameo appearances, Eva Braun and Adolph Hitler figure in an interesting story line in "Life After Life", adding to its appeal to me. Don't be put off by my three stars, which would have been 3.5 if I'd had the flexibility; try this one for yourself. Having read a number of reviews after finishing the book (the "Most Helpful" reviews currently on Amazon.com are very helpful), I realize that I probably missed many of the literary, religious and other allusions which others say lie under the surface of "Life After Life". You might not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Beautiful Ruins

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Jess Walter
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6166)
    Performance
    (5340)
    Story
    (5333)

    The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot - searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

    Ella says: "My mind wandered"
    "What's all the fuss about??"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This barely deserves two stars, in my opinion. A sentimental fiction that revolves around Hollywood characters in 1962, the present, and in-between, with Italy thrown in for good measure. None of the characters is rememberable, the use of Richard Burton (with a fiction created around him that's almost too stupid to bear) is beyond the pale, and the constant time-shifting is schizophrenic. Even the male protagonist, Pasquale, is unremarkable, and I spent the whole book waiting for him to make a correct decision - or any decision, for that matter. The way the author wraps up the tale, updating us on what happened to all the characters, suggests that he had a publishing deadline to make and had to deal with them all in one chapter instead of many. Why this book got so many great reviews is beyond me.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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