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Aida Downing

Washington, DC, United States | Member Since 2011

12
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 3 reviews
  • 6 ratings
  • 129 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2014
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  • The Tiger's Wife: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Tea Obreht
    • Narrated By Susan Duerden, Robin Sachs
    Overall
    (845)
    Performance
    (556)
    Story
    (556)

    In a Balkan country mending from years of conflict, Natalia, a young doctor, arrives on a mission of mercy at an orphanage by the sea. By the time she and her lifelong friend Zóra begin to inoculate the children there, she feels age-old superstitions and secrets gathering everywhere around her. Secrets her outwardly cheerful hosts have chosen not to tell her. Secrets involving the strange family digging for something in the surrounding vineyards. Secrets hidden in the landscape itself.

    Howard says: "Left me unfulfilled!"
    "Mesmerizing"
    Overall

    A compelling, fantastical fable for our times. The splendid narration captures the wonder, fear, awe and poignancy of this brilliantly written tale. A must listen!

    12 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • El pergamino de la seducción [The Scroll of Seduction]

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Gioconda Belli
    • Narrated By Adriana Sananes
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (7)

    Con un pretexto de estudiar a fondo la vida de La Reina Juanade Castilla, mejor conocida como Juana La Loca, Manuel, unhistoriador de la universidad Complutense, y Lucía, una jovenestudiante, se entrelazan en una apasionante historia de amor.

    Malvys says: "excelente libro"
    "Fascinating story, unevenly told"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story of Juana of Castile is intriguing and the premise of telling her story through Lucia, a young, orphaned school girl seemed promising. Unfortunately, I found Lucia's story annoying more often than not -- some aspects seem to be drawn too obviously from the author's own personal early history and sexual activity (The Country Under My Skin). Manuel comes across as a shallowly drawn character exacerbated by the rather wooden narration for his character. I felt the relationship between Manuel and Lucia seemed superficial and unrealistic, never really taking off so that the reader cared about either of them. Juana is a compelling character, but at times is delivered like a Wikipedia profile of her life and history.

    I felt that the parallel story lines become contrived and even silly at points. The 'steamy' sections were rather on the clinical side and did not advance the story except to ensure that both Juana and Lucia were both pregnant at the same time and facing terrible life choices, purportedly to make both stories more powerful. Didn't do the job.

    Having said that, I far preferred listening to the story (in Spanish) on Audible rather than reading it (also in Spanish) as I had originally tried several years ago when I just stalled out.

    Gioconda Belli is a talented writer with interesting ideas and stories to tell. I enjoyed this effort of hers more than the above would indicate. Just wish more of her poetic side had shone through and that her editor had exercised more judgment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ulysses

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By James Joyce
    • Narrated By Jim Norton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (795)
    Performance
    (510)
    Story
    (497)

    Ulysses is regarded by many as the single most important novel of the 20th century. It tells the story of one day in Dublin, June 16th 1904, largely through the eyes of Stephen Dedalus (Joyce's alter ego from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) and Leopold Bloom, an advertising salesman. Both begin a normal day, and both set off on a journey around the streets of Dublin, which eventually brings them into contact with one another.

    A User says: "Ulysses (Unabridged)"
    "An experience"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Having started Ullysses on several occasions and never finished, I find myself mesmerized by this Audible version. The splendid narration takes one into the story in an experiential way, where you literally see, hear, smell, touch the places visited by Bloom and Dedalus and their thoughts insert themselves as though they are your own. I finally get it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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