Just finished it. It has absorbed my mind for many days as I got through it all (and replayed various parts). Everyone else has already provided the accolades (for both Shirer and Grover) so I wont repeat them. It covers such sweeping breadth and yet provides a personal immediacy in the narrative that captures you from start to finish. It also provides an all important (and timeless) message about the frailty of freedom and the terrible consequences if it is lost.
Years ago I used to love reading Grisham books then I fell out with him as they began to appear more 'churned out'. With some reticence I chose this one from Audible. Hot damn! What a great legal thriller! Beautifully paced, great characterization, plot, scene depiction etc. - simply hard to put down! And all perfectly narrated by Michael Beck who gave a simply wonderful performance! And people wonder why I love audiobooks!
Initially this book appeared to go into an inordinate level of detail over what appeared, at first blush, to be the merely trivial and unimportant. Thus the movement of the storyline appeared almost frustratingly slow. Then, as I adjusted to its pace I began to realise that the author was providing this detail for very clever reasons as he slowly unfurled what was to become and immensely complex, rich and rewarding tale. In the end, it was an exquisitely well-crafted and absorbing book and I could not speak highly enough of the narrator. He narrated the background story line beautifully and, almost as importantly, delivered magnificent characterisations, moving effortlessly between the voices of the very different characters as be bought them all to life. A very enjoyable work from masters of their crafts.
Absorbing and brilliantly narrated!
All of it.
The main character.
Thank goodness for great imaginative story telling. I was hooked in right from the start and just had to keep listening. With the incredibly strong narrative performance this was an absolute treat to listen to!
Not as an audiobook. I know from research that this is a great book on Gettysburg and the reviews on Audible support that view. However these are really Amazon reviews - not Audible reviews. That is, (I assume) reviews of the written book not of it's spoken counterpart. Having just listened to Allen C. Guelzo's 'Gettysburg' with wonderful narration by Robertson Dean I was very disappointed to move on to this work and find the narration so poor by comparison.
For a start, it is so rushed! It is like he had been taking speed or that the narration was accidently on 'fast forward'! The slower, deliberate pace of Robertson Dean in Guelzo's work is much more appropriate to both the nature of the subject and the era that it is depicting.
In Rizzo's reading, swathes of facts or observations just keep rushing past you with much annoyance. In fact the very complexity of the unfolding of the battle, the topography, positioning of the elements of the two armies etc. almost demands a slower reading so that it can be better absorbed.
Equally irritating (in tandem with the rapid narration style), was the endless rising and falling pitch to emphasize the drama of certain aspects. This was just unnecessary and distracting. By contrast, Dean's more even pitch (and pace) showed how well the drama of certain points of time and decisions in the battle could be well highlighted without becoming almost shrill.
As Audible listener's know, the narration is as important as the book itself. In future, I will make a point of ensuring I am looking at audiobook reviews and not those of Amazon members who are referring to their experience of the written work (which might be in stark contrast to the listening experience).
Some time ago I had listened to Grover Gardner's narration of Shelby Foote's amazing volumes on the Civil War. While Gardner did a great job with narrating William L. Shirer’s 'The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich', his voice and tone, I thought, was less suited to the Civil War era. Robertson Dean narrating Foote's work would have been an amazing blend!
I guess what I am trying to say is that in historical works that are set in an era very different to our own, the choice of narrator takes on a greater importance. While I am sure Gregg Rizzo has narrated other books very well, I felt he was the wrong choice for this work.
I don’t know how I had never heard of this novel before (it was written in the 1960s and had experienced wide acclaim). Seemingly about nothing but the most mundane of lives, it is in fact a rich and textured exploration of the inner world with all of its existential angst and disappointments. It is a beautifully paced and precise piece of writing that will leave lovers of wonderful writing in awe of the observational power of authors like Williams.
It takes a little time to become immersed in the character of Stoner and his life tale but once ‘locked in’ it is a hard book to stop listening to. The narrator was perfectly suited to the pace and the tone of this lyrical and melancholic novel. I know it will not be for everyone but I think it ranks as one of the best I have listened to.
This was a good historical yarn with Erickson creating a rich tapestry of the world of Elizabeth I. It was not quite as good as the previous historical narrrative of hers that I had listened to (which was about the life of Henry the 8th), but a worthy listen nonetheless. The narrator was the same in both cases and I thought he was generally very good. BUT, unfortunately in this case I was somewhat put off by the frequent noisy (and moist) swallowing sounds caught in the recording. This was no fault of the narrator (we all produce saliver and swallow regularly) but of the sound engineer (or equipment) I think, as I have never experienced this on any audiobook I have listened to before and I found it a very unpleasant distraction from an otherwise quite good novel.
Multiple narrators but most were 'Pitch Perfect' on the key characters.
I have listened to many of the James Lee Burke novels. Most I enjoyed immensely. I prefer novels and thus turned somewhat reluctantly to this collection of short stories. My mistake, I had forgotten how richly rewarding the short story genre can be. These were extremely engaging tales and in my view, revealed the true narrative scope of this author in a way that is not always so evident in his novels. I thought the various narrators for each story also did a superb job and I think were well selected for each of the stories they narrated.
Engaging tale with well developed plot, characterisation and suspense elevation. The dialogue was snappy and credible. I considered the narration to be first rate.
Ed Asner produced a fine performance. I realise that at times his voice dropped to give more theatrical underpinning to the narration, which meant that this is best listened to when not faced by other distractions. I was ill at the time so was able to lie back and give it my full attention and listened in almost one sitting.
Yes - well thought out plot - good legal thriller.
The courtroom scenes.
Never Give Up
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