Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Thus begins The Dinner, a novel served up in courses. The food is minimalist, overly described, and at times not especially palatable. The same can be said for this little novel where characters we may not like are thrust before us. Just as the spaces on the plates are greater than the bits of food, what's unsaid about our characters is greater than what we are told.
The Dinner is often compared to Gone Girl. Both feature people acting without conscience and narrators whose voices don't quite ring true. Most readers prefer Gone Girl for its strong narrative pacing, but I was dissapointed by GG, while I loved The Dinner. I found the characters here to be much more interesting, and I enjoyed the structure of this novel, where the current action takes place over a few hours, while recollections fill in the story.
The audio narration by Clive Mantle was masterful. One of the best out of the several hundred books I've listened to. This is one where the audio narration elevates a good book to an amazing "reading" experience.
Anne Hathaway's narration of the childhood classic is very well done. If the talented actress could record the rest of the series she would create a lasting treasure.
I read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and some others of the series, as a youth, but had forgotten how much the book differs from the MGM classic film.
With Disney's new Oz movie coming out, I thought I'd refresh myself on the story. I'm not sure how much of the new movie is based on the Baum source material, but MGM set a precedent by treating this book to a major re-write.
In the book, we are introduced to a dazzling array of characters, creatures and lands, and also to a kind of corny humor that is not quite timeless. For the film, the story is tightened up, and many of the extraneous characters have been removed.
I enjoyed the book, as I did as a child, but would say that this is one of the few instances that major changes to a story in adaption to film were a significant improvement.
Galore is a spellbinding novel set in far away Newfoundland. Author Crummey uses his exotic but fiercely real homeland to create the setting for a novel which is by turns magical and real.
The Divine family takes in a stranger who slips from the belly of a beached whale. We follow the Divines and other families of the small shore village through generations, as they adapt to changes in faith and fisheries on the North Atlantic.
John Lee's narration is outstanding as always. His sonorous voice and the prose of the book were so engaging that I found myself swept away and needed to backtrack a few times to follow the story.
Galore is outstanding, but not perfect. I enjoyed the magical realism, but other readers may find it a bit too woo-woo...... 4 1/2 stars.
The Riddle of the Sands has a reputation as an exciting spy story, but there was nothing exciting about this reading. I felt like I was enduring, rather than enjoying this book.
The language of this piece did not flow well. Perhaps the translation was a fault, but I found it difficult to enjoy.
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