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Nancy Bauer

Newton Highlands, MA USA | Member Since 2008

  • 4 reviews
  • 34 ratings
  • 350 titles in library
  • 6 purchased in 2015

  • 2666

    • UNABRIDGED (39 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Roberto Bolaño
    • Narrated By John Lee, Armando Durán, G. Valmont Thomas, and others

    Composed in the last years of Roberto Bolaño's life, 2666 was greeted across Europe and Latin America as his highest achievement, surpassing even his previous work in its strangeness, beauty, and scope. Its throng of unforgettable characters includes academics and convicts, an American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage student and her widowed, mentally unstable father. Their lives intersect in the urban sprawl of Santa Teresa - a fictional Juárez - on the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Nancy Bauer says: "Brilliant"

    Bola?o's ambition in this book is matched only by the breadth and depth of his achievement: he makes us think as seriously as a human being can about how much, and which, details of our experience matter to us, and ought to matter. (The figure of the detective appears in many guises throughout the book, as does the question of what's worth looking for, and how.) If what *you* look for in a novel is a relentlessly forward-moving plot, then you are likely to find 2666 frustrating and boring. But if you are willing to follow Bola?o blindly (and the question of what it is to have and use eyes is also a motif throughout the narrative), you may find your sense of the world, in both its vertiginous vastness and its banality, transformed.

    Each narrator handles one of the five "parts" of the book, and each has a singular reading style. All but the one who does Part III -- a man who seems not to have figured out how to convey the tone of Bola?o's writing -- are wonderful.

    36 of 37 people found this review helpful
  • A Dark Matter

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Peter Straub
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The charismatic and cunning Spenser Mallon is a campus guru in the 1960s, attracting the devotion and demanding sexual favors of his young acolytes. After he invites his most fervent followers to attend a secret ritual in a local meadow, the only thing that remains is a gruesomely dismembered body and the shattered souls of all who were present.

    A User says: "drugged"
    "Incomprehensible hype"

    One wonders why the likes of Lorrie Moore and Michael Chabon are championing this book, which Chabon goes so far as to call a masterpiece. I'm guessing that Moore and Straub are colleagues at UW-Madison; and, as a college professor myself, I can imagine that Moore might have felt she had no other choice.

    The characters are poorly developed; one doesn't believe in any of them, let alone care about what happens to them. The plot, such as it is, is propelled along by the author's magical intervention. We learn what each middle-aged character saw "in the meadow" 40 years ago, and the answer is: different kinds of meaningless, even embarrassing, hocus-pocus. Nothing that we learn is even remotely scary, though much of it is laughable (e.g., the devil who shows up dressed in preppy clothes and speaking in a "New York" accent -- an especially painful stretch of poor Robertson Dean's somniferous narration -- whose name is "Doity Thoid" (get it? 33rd? hahaha!)).

    What propelled me to the end was curiosity about how Straub might get himself out of the boring mess he was creating. The answer is: he doesn't. Ouch.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • David Copperfield

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    When David Copperfield escapes from the cruelty of his childhood home, he embarks on a journey to adulthood which leads him through comedy and tragedy, love and heartbreak, and friendship and betrayal.

    Parusski says: "Perfect narrator for one of the best classics."
    "Absolutely magical"

    I imagine that if Dickens were alive he would be just as enthralled by Martin Jarvis as the Audible audience will be. Jarvis makes every character come alive and brings out Dickens's genius as a storyteller, a judge of character, and a write of great flexibility and skill. Sheer pleasure from beginning to end.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Mark Twain
    • Narrated By Patrick Fraley
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The idealized childhood of this fictional hero, based on Mark Twain's own early life, is filled with robust good humor and high-spirited adventures. Yet there is also an in-depth experience of the central South of the 1840s. While romping through fun-filled fantasy, Tom Sawyer shows how morally complicated real life can be.

    Andrea says: "Well worth a listen"
    "Well done"

    Kudos to Patrick Fraley, whose pitch is perfect with respect to Twain. There's no artifice in his performance: you forget that he's reading and feel as though the characters have come alive in your head. Fraley handles Twain's sublime way with words with aplumb. Would that all audiobook readers had his talent.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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