An absolutely beautiful and riveting novel, superbly read.
Like some other listeners, I was initially doubtful for the first few chapters, feeling that I'd purchased a simple and sentimental homily about the need for religion. But while the book certainly is an allegory of the value of belief, it becomes anything but simple and sentimental - it develops into a serious, complex and often horrific examination of the difference between humans and animals. It's extremely thought-provoking and I was impressed by Martel's refusal to ever anthropomorphise the animals, which always behave convincingly like animals.
Not only that, it's a page-turner too; it is simply impossible to predict what will happen next, and I listened in delighted fascination. The twists and turns will not let you down.
I was impressed by the Indian accent of the apparently non-Indian reader; it's distinctive without veering into parody.
This is a fabulous novel, and extremely well read.
I didn't finish this one. I was expecting some fireworks.from Branagh's Richard but his performance feels rushed, muted, and undefined, with little to hold the interest.
The sound quality is poor and I think this may be a recording of a stage production, because parts of it are baffling - in particular, there is a loud tapping sound throughout the opening speech that makes no sense without visuals (is it maybe Richard's walking stick? no idea, but it's really irritating).
Maybe it gets better later on, but I couldn't summon the energy to find out. A misfire.
This is a perfectly decent recording of The Tempest. Sir Ian is an excellent Prospero and the rest of the cast are competent, although the Caliban is a bit awkward, The sound quality is a little murky sometimes.
This is a fun production of "Much Ado", with some lively and enjoyably performances, especially from Tennant and Spiro as Beatrice and Benedick. The text is cut a bit, but not to an extent that it will disturb non-purists.
This is a competent performance of Pericles that never becomes anything more interesting than that. The actors all seem to know what they're doing, but don't seem especially excited to be doing it.
The text is cut fairly heavily and occasionally rearranged, so avoid this recording if you're an extreme purist.
There is an range of accents on display (Gower is Caribbean, the Tharsians are African, Pericles is Scottish, etc.) which is cool, but some of them take some getting used to.
The sound ambience is a little odd; in some of the scenes the characters sound like they're talking inside tiny little rooms, which doesn't really gel with the play's epic scope.
In summary, it's fine, and - let's face it - recordings of Pericles are hard to find, so beggars can't be choosers.
Yes, this is Alan Cumming performing Macbeth solo, doing all the characters in slightly different voices.
The inspiration for this recording is Cumming's one-man theatre show in which he performed the entire play by himself. However, that production had a concept: it was built around the idea of a man in an insane asylum,re-enacting Macbeth, and was full of striking visuakl imagery.
None of that is present in the recording, so all you're left with is Alan Cumming performing Macbeth by himself. And I'm sorry to say that even Cumming doesn't have twenty different voices in his repertoire. After a while the characters blur together and it all gets rather monotonous. And he doesn't bring anything unique or original to the play.
Mind you, the way Cumming rolls his r's and the excitable way in which he reads the stage directions are almost worth the credit.
The Half-Made World is wonderful, a brilliantly clever and engrossing reworking of the Western genre into the language of steampunk and magical realism. I was constantly delighted and surprised by Gilman's intelligent ways of adapting the tropes and conventions of the Western into a fairy-tale like allegory of civilization and colonialism. It's a beautiful, complex and thought-provoking piece.
The reader is hard work though, as she doesn't have the warmth or the vocal range for this novel. She only has two voices (throaty and not throaty) and they're not enough to distinguish the characters easily. And her strangely precise, stilted delivery would almost be tolerable if she didn't keep putting intonations in the wrong place. It's quite a struggle to listen to her.
Overall, the novel surmounts the reader and I'm glad I held on, but I'd love to hear a different reading.
I didn't realise this was a self-help book (a genre I've always recoiled from), but I found it a thought-provoking book that made me examine myself and think back over the way I've lived my life. There were several moments at which I found the author genuinely convincing in her argument that introversion is not a problem that needs fixing, and this is an encouraging thought. She also has good ideas about how to interact with extroverts without offending them by seeming like a party-pooper.
I really enjoyed her description of life at the Harvard Business School. As a glimpse of what a world populated only by extroverts would look like, it is absolutely horrifying: an image of Hell worse than anything in Dante!
The book is overlong and gets repetitive toward the end. It's also very heavily geared toward lawyers, salesmen and businessmen which I personally couldn't relate to; I was hoping for material on artists and teachers, but there wasn't much. The sections on personal relationships should be of interest to all listeners, however.
The reader is suitably quiet and calm, but she reads Cain's straightforward prose far too slowly; I ended up having to listen to her at 2x speed.
It's pretty hard to mess up The Great Gatsby, but Tim Robbins' narration is not ideal. To be fair, his rendering of Gatsby himself is absolutely spot-on: he makes Gatsby incredibly muted and restrained in his speech, capturing brilliantly the man's enigmatic and repressed demeanour. Unfortunately, I found his rendering of Daisy and Jordan to be an irritating travesty, as he turns both of them into absurdly flamboyant caricatures of Southern belles, with no subtlety or charm. It's hard to imagine anyone falling in love with these monstrosities.
Other narrators are available and you might want to give them a try.
I first read Hyperion when I was a teenager (and when I'd never heard of John Keats), and I was wondering if it would still hold up (and whether it's more fun if you've read some Keats). The answer is yes!
At first I was doubtful. The first chapter is very awkward because the 5 voice artists are conversing with each other and there are irksome pauses between their lines that should have been edited out - it sounds very stilted.
But hang on in there, because the meat of "Hyperion" is the five lengthy tales told by individual narrators, and this is where the novel really takes hold. Each of the stories is wonderfully engrossing and moving, and each evokes the novel's many worlds and societies in thrilling detail. They are little masterpieces of storytelling and each could stand alone in their own right; but linked together, they illuminate and develop each other beautifully. As the novel comes to its close, you realize that it's a masterpiece of formal perfection. Despite ending on a cliffhanger it's entirely satisfying.
The only disappointment for me was the reader of the Brawne Lamia tale, whose voice lacks the emotional depth of the other readers, and who lumbers the pivotal character of Johnnie with a truly awful attempt at a British accent. The other readers are all wonderful though.
This is one of the great science fiction novels and well worth a listen.
I first read Eon as a teenager, and was quite obsessed with its extremely detailed and imaginative worlds. I was curious to see if I'd still like it today, and I was pleased to find that it was just as engaging and mind-expanding as I'd remembered.
The most thrilling parts of the novel are the opening scenes, as the characters explore the multi-chambered Stone, gradually learning its secrets, and then travel further down the infinite Corridor; there's a tremendous sense of an journey toward greater and greater discovery. The final chapter is a brilliant twist that ends the novel perfectly with a beautiful reworking of its themes.
Of course, the novel's Cold War politics and its depictions of astronaut-soldiers in the year 2000 now seem extremely dated, but fortunately this is a novel about alternate universes, so one can simply pretend that the story takes place in a different universe than ours...
The human side of things isn't quite as good; Bear's handling of the romantic subplots is rather stilted and sometimes the characters seem a little too unflappable in the face of universe-changing events. But these aren't major problems, and there is often some emotional intensity in the scenes in which characters are yearning for home, or discovering that everything they knew was wrong.
I was briefly taken aback by the narrator's ridiculously manly voice (it's like being read to by Barry White), but I got used to it rapidly and he's very good at distinguishing the characters.
Report Inappropriate Content