I loved this book - it was pure Courtney! The characters - especially all of the Maloneys were believable, larger than life, comic and sympathetic. I have been waiting for another Courtney family to follow. I kept checking his website to see what was coming and to make sure that I had not missed a book. I gobbled this one up so quickly that I find myself waiting again for the next one (sigh).
I can always determine who is speaking when Humphrey Bower creates his vocals. I recommend the book and Humphrey Bower is the bonus.
I almost did not buy this book. I circled around it for weeks. The whole premise seemed a bit creepy and weepy but thanks to the reviewers I decided to give it a try.
Markus Zusak created a story that I will listen to over and over. I loved the story; felt I knew all of the characters; and, began to if not exactly appreciate then at least understand the perspectives of Death - the narrator of the story. There was not one unbelievable character in the book.
Many reviewers said the book was sad, and honestly it was heartbreaking for me too, but only because I fell in love with everyone in the neighborhood and wanted life for them after Nazi Germany. They worked so hard at maintaining an existence for themselves and their families and they deserved so much more.
It was brilliant to allow Death to give away some of the story at the beginning because we did not have to spend the whole story dreading what we thought (or guessed) the ending would be. Death was so funny or so compassionate or so matter of fact in the telling of his various visits that it made the ultimate deaths bearable. Allan Corduner thank you for a fantastic performance. You made me forget to fear Death.
This is a simple story about simple people. The best!
Mr. Courtenay usually writes about South Africa or Australia and we have gotten some real history lessons about these regions as well as entertaining stories. I have learned more history from great stories than I ever did in school. I really enjoyed Jack Diamonds. To absorb the life of someone "just across the road" from the United States in Canada during the turbulent "pre and post" World War II era was great fun. I quite simply love a good story (Bryce) read by a great reader (Humphrey).
I want to say here that Mr. Courtenay brought me to tears with his afterward. As I listened I could only hope (I realize quite selfishly hoped) that he had time for another story or two. I greatly appreciate his thoughtful goodbye - to me it was extremely personal because I always thought of Bryce Courtenay as one of my personal writers. I was absolutely devastated to learn that he passed away.
As a young person, I lived all over the world and the United States. I never got to Australia or Africa. Thanks to you and Humphrey Bower for the extraordinary journeys. I have always finished one story by looking for and anticipating the next one and have read each of Mr. Courtenay's books at least twice and some of them four or five times. Although I have not said much about this particular novel, I am sure that I will read and re-read and re-read Jack of Diamonds.
I am going to miss you. May God bless you and your family.
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