First off, there could not be a better narrator for these Chester Himes books. Dion Graham brings them to life more than if you were reading the book yourself. This was my very first introduction to Himes, and I am glad I started here although someone who likes a traditional story might dislike this one. This book is very wild and disjointed. Many of the chapters do not fit with each other to make a coherent picture. I've laughed out loud while reading this book, but also its sad in many ways. I was reading this book simultaneously while reading a book about soldiers in WWII. So, I had this book which is about all the hustlers and dregs of society and all of America's racism boiling over, then the other book about what heroes in this country look and act like. You should not read this book if you want to feel good about the country. If you want to see seething black rage towards whites, rampant prostitution, and violence... then this is good. With that said, I think one could miss the theme of this book. It's overall message. Without top notch writing and narration, it would have been worthless trash.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series. The second, as is usually the case, is much better and faster moving than the first since the main character is already constructed. There are three murders, and Mr. Corbett sets off to unravel the villian. That's the core of the story but, as in the first book, a web of deceitful characters and sub-plots surface. I felt that this book did an expert job of setting up the rest of the series which I now obviouslly have to read. Also, I like the fact that Mr. Corbett manages to get himself raped in every book so far. We'll see what women attack him in the third installment!
I don't usually tackle 18+ hour audiobooks except on special occasions. A recommended this book, but told me nothing about it. I downloaded it and started listening without knowing anything that it was about. I felt the writing was very good. I like the characters. The narrator was perfect. You can always tell a good narrator by how they handle the voices of the opposite sex. I don't think I was bored at any part of this book, nor did I mind going the distance with it.
There are millions of books for females telling their woes of family struggle and men mistreating them. This genre does not really exist for men. Then there is Bukowski who does nothing but tell it exactly as it is with women and trying to find a little scrap of humanity in a such an inhumane world. I like these stories because some of them cross the boundaries of the surreal. It is not like the other books that are for the most part autobiographical. I think this book made me laugh out loud much more than the other books by Bukowski. The wild west story, I thought was ridiculous at first. But any man who reads that story will say to himself at the end of it, "That's sure how it goes with women." Thank god this is audio! Make more.
I read this in print probably 15 years ago. Now that the Bukowski books are on audible, I am revisiting all they have to offer. If you are starting off on Bukowski, I'd suggest Ham on Rye or Post office over this. This novel details many years of Bukowski's life, I'd figure after leaving home, in which he worked about a thousand different jobs in a hundred different cities. As per his style, the chapters are short. There's no filler. It's all, "I moved here, I got drunk at this bar, I hooked up with this woman." Factotum is one of his better novels, but not his best. Still, it flows and is an easy listen.
I've read probably 20+ Bukowski books. I enjoy his novels and poetry, but the short story collections have always been hit or miss. I had never read Hot Water Music before, but I figured to get it on Audible and give it a shot. I am very, very impressed with it. The stories are all very short. Most of them involve the types of 'ordinary madness' that Bukowski wrote about so well. I am very pleased I bought this audio and I will listen to again in the future.
This is a favorite book that I read maybe fifteen years ago. I was very pleased to read this and other Bukowski titles are now available on Audible. Some of Bukowski's books don't hold up when I revisit them years later, however Ham on Rye is the exception. It is a very blunt, honest tale of fierce aloneness, being anti-social and a struggle to grapple with the madness of the world around him. This book, I don't think, is intended to be funny but I laugh out loud so many times while reading it. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about the narrator, but he grew on me. I don't think I could listen to him narrate any other book, but it fits Bukowski so that after a while you actually feel like its Bukowski reading it to you. I guarantee that you'll never read another book like this. In fact, I feel like it actually gets better as it progresses into the second half. Most books are the opposite. I also recommend Factotum by Bukowski. The beauty in these books is that none of them are very long. I wish they would put some of his poetry into audible like Love is a Dog From Hell or You Get so Alone Sometimes.
This is a very sound novel. It is well-written. The narration is perfect, the Italian impeccable. However, I just got bored with it after a while. When you find yourself asking yourself throughout the novel, "Why do I still care?" it is a bad sign. I lost interest in the characters and didn't feel like there was enough promise of a payoff at the end to continue the last hour of the book. There is nothing wrong with the writer's talent, however I personally felt it wasn't a good story. I'm surprised it has so many glowing reviews.
This is one of the better books I've read, and I do believe that in a year or two I will re-read it again. It mostly focuses around one man who flew some daring missions, was shot down, survived at sea and then survived relentless torture in a string of different Japanese prisoner-of-war camps. I thought the narrator was superb. This is a non-fiction book, but it is written in a light that makes it universal so that anyone reading sees a reflection of the struggles in their own life. You come away feeling two things, nothing I've ever gone through will ever be as tumultuous as this and... if people have endured a thing like this, then what in my life... what headache and disappointments should I really let dominate my spirit. Enjoy it.
This book strikes me as the type of thing Stephen King would write if he was from LA. I like the first half of the book. It is plot driven and you really would have to struggle to care about any of the characters. Their dialogues drove me nuts, and I think detracted from the story. During action scenes, you can expect people to make lame sexual innuendos or say dude what the F. The characters are all LA idiots. Around the half way mark, I got bored but stuck with it. It was entertaining but definitely not a 5 star book. The writer is very capable of delivering this story, however I felt there was a lot of filler that just wasted time. The pacing was off. And once you figure out what's going on, I started to feel it was kind of ridiculous. However, I completed it and the narrator was good. It was entertaining at least. Could have been shorter and more polished.
I've burned through many books in my lifetime. The only ones that stick with me are those that reached in and broke me in some way. I am not Jewish and don't feel that it's a book only Jewish people would get. In fact, I've recommended it to Jewish people to read and they didn't seem to 'get it.' I think I like it because it answered a very big question that I always had in my head. Growing up back east, you knew your grandparents generation were the good guys. Then everything in this country fell apart in the 70's. Since that is before my time, this novel singlehandely answered why this country went to the crapper and why all the east coast cities like Baltimore and Newark are more or less minature welfare states. This novel is much more than that. And it has resonated as I've grown up to raise children and considered the father/daughter relationship in this book. It is not a light read. It's a horror novel of real life. The ending blew me away.
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