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Ed

ratings
5
REVIEWS
5
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
4

  • Whitethorn

    • UNABRIDGED (24 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    Overall
    (350)
    Performance
    (269)
    Story
    (272)

    From the author of The Power of One comes a new novel about Africa. The time is 1939. White South Africa is a deeply divided nation with many of the Afrikaner people fanatically opposed to the English. The world is also on the brink of war, and South Africa elects to fight for the Allied cause against Germany. Six-year-old Tom Fitzsaxby finds himself in The Boys Farm, an orphanage in a remote town in the high mountains, where the Afrikaners side fiercely with Hitler's Germany.

    Karin says: "Whitethorn"
    "The Power of Two"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Whitethorn to be better than the print version?

    only listen


    What other book might you compare Whitethorn to and why?

    The Power of One, BC's first book. This one seems to be very much a revisiting of the same story. Social injustice, race relations, pets, bullying, befriending odd characters, the talented child that is innocent of his own gifts, doing right to those who have done you wrong. Courtenay's "Horatio Alger" plots all tend to support his thesis: the good boy overcomes the odds to become successful.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Tom realizes who the faceless beggar is.


    If you could rename Whitethorn, what would you call it?

    I think Whitethorn is a good one. Symbolic for Tom being a white boy in Africa, redolent of the brushy shrub that grows there.


    Any additional comments?

    Humphrey Bower puts so much into the voice characterizations. He's a master of dialects.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Troop

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Nick Cutter
    • Narrated By Corey Brill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (294)
    Performance
    (278)
    Story
    (280)

    Once every year, Scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a weekend camping trip - a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story around a roaring bonfre. The boys are a tight-knit crew. There’s Kent, one of the most popular kids in school; Ephraim and Max, also well-liked and easygoing; then there’s Newt the nerd and Shelley the odd duck. For the most part, they all get along and are happy to be there - which makes Scoutmaster Tim’s job a little easier.

    Kim Venatries says: "Seriously Messed Up Gruesome Horror"
    "Creepy, wistful, King-esque, masterful"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to The Troop again? Why?

    Probably not. The first time was quite sufficient.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Newton. In every crowd there's an underdog.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Going back into the cave with the road flare - great horror story pacing and tension.


    If you could rename The Troop, what would you call it?

    Couldn't improve on that title.


    Any additional comments?

    When I saw that Stephen King said this book scared him, how could I NOT read it?!

    Cutter channels and perfects King's construction of horror and childhood innocence masterfully. Parts of it reminded me of the ensemble effect achieved in "Stand By Me" and "It" in the boys' dialogues revealing their inner lives, shared superstitions and "boy culture."

    The device of gnawing hunger as a symptom of infection was a brilliant reflection of truth that all pubescent boys know. The horror of being on a Scout campout without enough to eat - chilling!

    Great story. Vivid descriptions create a soundtrack of tumescent terror. I dare you to read this without feeling your own skin CRAWL!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Heartwood: A Billy Bob Holland Novel, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By James Lee Burke
    • Narrated By Alan Sklar
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (41)
    Story
    (40)

    Heartwood is a kind of tree that grows in layers. And as Billy Bob's grandfather once told him, you do well in life by keeping the roots in a clear stream and not letting anyone taint the water for you. But in Holland's dusty little hometown of Deaf Smith, in the hill country north of Austin, local kingpin Earl Deitrich has made a fortune running roughshod and tainting anyone who stands in his way. Billy Bob has problems with Deitrich and his shamelessly callous demeanor, but can't shake the legacy of his passion for Deitrich's "heartbreak-beautiful" wife, Peggy Jean.

    Ed says: "Not JLB's best, narrator needs coaching"
    "Not JLB's best, narrator needs coaching"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made Heartwood better?

    Definitely a better narrator. It's hard to tell how much the narration is affecting my enjoyment of the book, but it doesn't seem to be one of his best.

    The other Holland books had a flair for creating really heinous "baddies" similar to his Robichaux series. This one seems bland in comparison. The other characters also seem to be uninteresting and predictable. Maybe not having Will Patton narrate is taking out some of the color. Come back Will!!

    Being from Texas myself, I'm seeing details that don't reflect regional accuracy. There are no pine trees in this part of Texas, no "levee" on the river. Several other things that I can't remember right now.


    If you’ve listened to books by James Lee Burke before, how does this one compare?

    This story is lacking some of the character development and color that makes Burke one of my favorite writers.


    What didn’t you like about Alan Sklar’s performance?

    Sklar definitely needs some coaching on his regional characterizations. His southern accents all sound identical and aren't true Texas accents; he's giving us more of a generic Deep South flavor. His Hispanic accents sound more Puerto Rican or East LA than South Texas.

    The most aggregious effect is when Sklar drops the final "g" off of EVERY word ending in "ing" in his approximation of southern dialect. Mixing in a few dropped "g's" gives us the idea. A constant use of this device is ridiculous and annoying. He does this even in the narration, which should be toned down somewhat to distinguish it from dialogue. Even in first person narration, voice characterization should be played more neutral than when characters speak.

    Sklar had difficulty in pacing the text to portray the movement and mood of the scenes. His only method seemed to be in stretching out and elongating words for emphasis. When all words are treated the same way it creates a monotonous, hypnotic effect that distracts from Burke's writing. I found myself having to rewind requently to pick up details in detecting change in scenery or which characters are speaking. Listening to an audio book shouldn't take that much work.

    Sklar has a deep, excellent voice. He needs some range and variability. Take notes from Patton.


    What character would you cut from Heartwood?

    Not really a question of which character is expendible - let's make them ALL more interesting.


    Any additional comments?

    We're missing out on the outrageous characters, cajun flavor and great narration in this recording.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Family Frying Pan

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Melissa Eccleston, Humphrey Bower
    Overall
    (123)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (71)

    Mrs. Moses is a small woman with a big heart and enormous courage. The only survivor of a Cossack raid on her village, she takes with her a big cast-iron frying pan, so heavy that she can only sling it over her back. Yet this is no ordinary frying pan, it's The Family Frying Pan, blessed with a Russian soul.

    Johnnie Walker says: "Bad Narrator Decision!"
    "Sorry, mate. Can't get past the Sheila narrator."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Melissa Eccleston's attempt at a Russian accent sounds like someone with peanut butter stuffed in their mouth, vainly trying to escape it. So, I'm spoiled with Humphrey Bower's masterful narration. Anyone else would be a let-down. But do us a favor, let us down EASY.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    For the first time since "50 Shades of Gray" I had to abort this one, unfinished.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Melissa Eccleston and Humphrey Bower ?

    Someone who can do ethnic accents without butchering it.

    "perfect" = "pyurfect" ? Come on now, not at all convincing.


    Did The Family Frying Pan inspire you to do anything?

    To get another book.


    Any additional comments?

    Bower, come back.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Fishing for Stars

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Bryce Courtenay
    • Narrated By Humphrey Bower
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (456)
    Performance
    (292)
    Story
    (292)

    Nicholas Duncan is a semi-retired shipping magnate who resides in idyllic Beautiful Bay in Indonesia, where he is known as the old patriarch of the islands. He is grieving the loss of his beautiful Eurasian wife, Anna, and is suffering for the first time from disturbing flashbacks to WWII, the scene of their first meeting and early love. His other wartime lover is the striking Marg Hamilton, a powerful and influential political player in Australia who has remained close to Nick.

    Louise says: "Okay Bryce I Just Finished Fishing For Stars"
    "Bryce was off his game"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Bryce Courtenay and/or Humphrey Bower?

    Definitely, but this was not his best work.


    Has Fishing for Stars turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Bryce got us lost in the weeds of international politics and business history. It tells the story of that region of the world but was missing the usual Dickensian characterizations that I love. True, the "Persimmon Tree" needed a sequel, but it just seems like Bryce lost his story-telling mojo on this one.

    Humphrey Bower is his usual superb best at accents of all sorts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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