The broadest and most joyous of this remarkable author's unique, sprawling, epic, poetic sagas. An absorbing, sometimes surreal and almost overwhelming miasma of fact, fiction and fantasy, set during the period of tumultuous advancement in thought and discovery between the 1890’s and 1920’s, and peripheral to the dark and foreboding “war to end all wars”. But even more so than his other masterful works – Gravity’s Rainbow, V, The Crying of Lot 49 – this is a positively decadent and ultimately joyous celebration of history, scientific delusion and fact, mysticism, social turmoil and evolution, love real and imagined, flight, time travel, light, energy and ultimately redemption and hope. Pitting industrial and political czars and goons, unionists, mathematicians, inventors, spiritualists, explorers, anarchists, visionaries, charlatans, airship travelers, transcendentalists - all of them basically regular folks like you and me - against and with each other. Dick Hill's narration, voicing, inflection and pace, at first seemingly quirky, are quickly found to be perfect for the material. Though some 52 hours long, it was increasingly absorbing, and ended most graciously, though I'm sorry it had to end at all. This is one for you, whoever you are.
The best aspect of this Audiobook was the narrator, Jeff Hoyt. His character voices were distinct and convincing without sounding at all hackneyed or over-blown, and the level and pace of his narration was just right. Through even the more predictable and contrived passages, he still held my interest.
An appreciation of baseball makes this book more interesting. The story itself is a little clichéd, especially in the first half of the book. A lot of the dialog could be predicted before it was yet spoken, as could a lot of the incidents and plotlines. The main character, Jack, came off as a maddeningly one-dimensional, infantile boor. But in the latter half of the book, things changed. The twists and turns of the story and dialog got more interesting and surprising, and the characters developed greater depth and nuance - even Jack.
I hope to hear more Audiobooks narrated by Mr. Hoyt. He’s a keeper. I’d rate him right up there with many of my other favorite narrators, such as Dick Hill, Bronson Pinchot, Edoardo Ballerini, John Lee, and Rupert Degas, to name a few. A good narrator can make or break an Audiobook. I've learned through painful experience to preview any Audiobook I'm considering, and I’ve bought or rejected any number of them solely because of the narration.
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