Shantaram has been in my library for quite some time primarily because I was a bit daunted at starting a 43 hour listen. However, the early weeks of summer seemed a good fit for doing so, and I just now completed it. Sadly, it seems that this book is not presently available for purchase on Audible.
This is an epic story. I am surprised that it engaged me the way it did. It is a captivating tale of one man's journey through crime, punishment, love, loss, friendship, service and more. It will introduce you to the slums of Bombay (Mumbai) as well as its palaces; the urban crush of Delhi and the most rural expanse of India. You will listen to tales of the Indian mafia where fake passports, money laundering and other pursuits fueled those with criminal intent; as well as the India-Pakistan disputes, the Russia-Afghani war and more. I found it quite fascinating. Within the story,I learned a great deal about the geo-political history of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan which was a bonus.
Most of all I enjoyed the characters surrounding "Len" or "Shantaram" and his relationships with them. A mix of very very good people and very very bad people to be sure, but fascinating to the end.
If and when the book becomes available again, I recommend it for those who enjoy historical fiction!
I liked this book, although be forewarned that this is not about Philomena (except for the final 30 minutes) but is about her son and his lifelong search for himself and his mother.
Anthony Lee/Michael is adopted after Philomena is forced to give him up at the age of three. This book is about his heart-wrenching search to find himself and understand why he was given up for adoption. The book graphically recounts life with a brutal, demanding adoptive father and bullying adoptive brothers; as well as his life-long close relationship with a loving adoptive mother and his "sister" who was also from his Irish orphanage.
This is truly a "history" book that charts the painful experiences of gay men in a Republican-dominated society where the conservative right damns homosexuality. The story transpires from the early 1950's to present day. Amazingly, Anthony Lee/Michael, a gay man, became a top executive in the Republican National Party, working to ensure the Republican party's success in garnering a majority in Congress. Like Michael's life, his career success was an irony of the worse kind. Michael's story includes the spectre of AIDS and the discrimination it held in that time.
More importantly, the book depicts in all its horror, the role of the Catholic Church in brutalizing teenage pregnant girls and enslaving them as warrens of the church until their "debt" had been repaid. The story tells the facts about how the church sold thousands of babies for large sums to adoptive US parents, doing so against the wishes of their young mothers who were brow beaten as well as physically abused by the nuns in charge of their "care."
This is a sad story, but one that deserves to be told and read. Eye opening. A bit sad. Terrifyingly real. A page turner.
This was an exceptionally good listen! The combination of Gerard Doyle's masterful performance and McKinty's masterful prose can't be beat. The performance takes you there to the streets of Northern Ireland where unemployed men and the political and religious factions create chaos and trauma. Sean Duffy isn't a superman, just a dedicated detective who somehow finds a way to the truth, even when it isn't a pretty truth.
This entire series (I read them out of order) is very good. I expect to relisten to them all some time in the future.
This was another great detective tale! The Los Angeles setting, the familiarity of Harry Bosch (this is book 12) and the way Connelly spins a tale have me hooked. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale. . .and all the complexities confounding Harry's search for truth. Len Cariou performance, as always, was wonderful.
I love a good lawyer fest and this one gave me everything I wanted. . .lots of suspense, great characters, and so many clever twists and turns in the court room and elsewhere. The pace of the story may not be thrilling enough for some; it is a narration by the central figure in the drama and his story winds up to the action rather slowly. The slow beginning is well worth the wait however, as the action will keep you wondering through the very end.
Good -- even great performance by Herrmann.
This story was of interest to me because I lived in Bethesda, just a block from Bethesda Row where the murder occured. However, the narrator's tortured reading of the book was almost too awful to continue. Thank goodness it was only 3 hours long, although with a good narrator, could have been 2.5 maximum.
Horrific story, horrific outcome for both victim and perpetrator. Not a fun read.
Why do we read fiction? To be entertained, transported, etc., etc. Those who say "meh" to this Michael Connelly work must be curmudgeons of some sort or the other. They must read for some other obscure reason that to be entertained.
This story is enormously entertaining and once into it, I was hooked to the point of wanting to stay up all night to finish it. But then, I LOVE court room drama and few do it any better than Connelly.
All in all, this is a terrific story with relatable characters who do their best in support of the Lincoln Lawyer as he confronts new and even trickier court dilemmas. Mickey may not be the perfect guy (failing at multiple marriages, controlling his drinking and relating with his daughter) but that is what makes him relatable. And he is a survivor!
Five stars! Enjoyed it thoroughly!
Four stars across the board, even though the story is a little bit of a stretch. Isn't that the case with most courtroom fiction? What I liked about the book was the courtroom drama and the legal wrangling between the major players. The back and forth tactical approach was a great listen.
What I didn't like so much was the rather one-dimensional characters. . . they just weren't that compelling. I didn't find myself rooting for the good guys, nor really disliking the bad guys and it didn't even bother me that a key character was killed. Had all the characters been a bit more developed, I might have cared more and it would have been the perfect court room drama.
As it was, this book is good but not great.
Amateur detectives beware . . .this one you won't see coming! The Bone House is an enjoyable listen with numerous sympathetic characters and some just the opposite. This story is compelling because the mystery continues to the very end. . . with the whodunit left for guessing all the way. That is an enjoyable murder mystery for sure.
It is a good listen, with good narration (not the most excellent, but good) and a keep-you-listening plot that thickens as the minutes fly by.
Listen very carefully in the beginning. . . there are links for those who would solve the crime along the way!
This is not one of Shute's better known books, but it was an interesting listen, as always. I won't give away the story, but "captivity" refers to the ancient practice of various nations (e.g. the ancient Norwegians) kidnapping young people from other nations (e.g. Scotland) and using them as slave workers as they sailed to new lands, including, this story would have you believe, Greenland and Cape Cod.
The story takes a bit to develop, starting with the travails of an out-of-work pilot who lives with a spinster aunt. From there we are introduced to anthropologists and an adventure is born that takes the listener to far-flung places and experiences (e.g. flying a sea plane.)
It is an enjoyable, easy listen filled with admirable characters and a story line that is uplifting and positive, even if a bit of a stretch in reality.
Shute's writing is impeccable and the narration of this version is superb.
This is a touching story about the first embers of a life-long love that were kindled during the darkest days of the siege of Leningrad. There is horrible violence and deprivation told of and adventures of young men and women during this time. It did not, despite my expectation, provide a broader story about Leningrad, instead focusing on a narrow set of circumstances and characters. It was good, but not great. The narration was nothing to get excited about. . . Perlman read in a somewhat flat way, communicating (at times) disinterest in the events he was reading. Not sorry I purchased it. Not sorry I spent time reading it. But sorry it wasn't so much more, as it could have easily been.
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