I got this to listen to whilst on holiday in Kefalonia & Ithaka, the location of The Odyssey, and am so pleased I chose this version. The narration is superb. Heald is an engaging story-teller and it's useful to remember that the Odyssey would originally have been experienced as a narrated performance rather than read, so this is the perfect way to experience it. Listening to Heald narrate the tale, I can imagine being back in ancient Greece, sitting around a fire under the stars listening to a master storyteller. I don't really mind that the translation is in prose, rather than the original verse, because it is so accessible and makes it easier to follow the story. And Homer is such a fine story-teller, I hadn't realised before just how skilled his writing style is, the way the story unfolds with multiple narrators, flashbacks and switched narrative threads feels very contemporary. The characterisation is so vivid and the portrayal of everyday life so engaging that it could pass for a modern soap-opera I'm thoroughly enjoying this audiobook and will follow-up with Heald's version of the Illyad.
As a rule, I always try to leave positive reviews but I can find nothing good to say about this audiobook. The story is predictable with an implausible premise in which a probate lawyer and a seamstress team up to solve the mystery of a wealthy lawyer's suicide. But there is no real mystery to speak of, and the the off-the-shelf plot is so overused I could predict the ending befoer we'd reached the midpoint. Hen and Peter are such a dull and passionless pair that is it was a struggle to care about them and I caught myself hoping that the cardboard cut-out villain Rick would put me out of my misery and finish them off promptly. Especially as the rest of the book is populated with such unpleasant characters that I wish I could wash them out of my head. Not that I think fictional characters have to e 'nice', but there was nothing interesting about any of them - no charm, wit, mystery, allure, pathos, back-story or any other quality even approaching interesting. Just a gang of bitter, nasty, self interested, friendless losers.. The writing was so lifeless and flat it felt like even Fyfield, the author, had lost interest and was struggling to keep going. But bad as the story was, the narration was by far the worst part of this audiobook. It was truly dreadful, delivered in an emphysemic wheeze by Lenska who seemed to have her cheeks stuffed with cotton wool and, as the previous reviewer has said, used the same ridiculous voice for every male character. In fact, there were just two pitches to her narration - aggressive snarl or submissive whine. Perhaps, if the narration hadn't been so dreadful the story might have had some life to it. But that's as charitable as I get. I'm feeling quite cross that I wasted a credit and 10 hours of my life listening to this nasty piece of work. I'll steer clear of both author and narrator in the future.
Connie Willis is a witty and perceptive writer and Bellwether manages to be many things - biting social commentary, a thriller, a romance, a comedy - and a great story, too. Some of the characters may be (by necessity) stereotypical, but they are multi-dimensional, believable, quirky and original stereotypes. This had me laughing out loud and this is as much due to Kate Reading's wonderful narration as to Connie Willis' writing. Although I guessed the ending, it was hugely enjoyable to observe the characters antics as the story unravelled. Highly recommended.
Dancing Girls is a fabulous audiobook, the perfect combination of captivating stories, brilliant writing, and flawless reading. Margaret Atwood is a phenomenal writer, her work never fails to please, but there is something extra special about this collection of short stories that examine relationships between women and men - friendships, marriages, affairs. They are so rich that each is as satisfying as a novel, and deserve taking time to pause to reflect, or a second listen, before moving to the next one. The narrator, Laurel Lefkow, deserves a special mention too as her skilful and sensitive narration is the best of any that I have so far heard. She vividly brings the characters to life without obviously 'performing' and her narration perfectly matches the pace and tone of Atwood's writing. My only tiny niggle is with the production, because each story rapidly runs on to the next without pause. It would have been better if a short amount of silence had been added at the end of each story to herald the beginning of the next and allow time to hit pause. This is an audiobook that I will come back to again and again, and will no doubt find new treasures with each listen.
I'm so glad i took a chance and bought this audiobook.The setting - a slightly dystopic contemporary Chicago where magic and the supernatural have come out of the shadows, as it were (sorry for the pun) - gives the book a great twist and transforms what was already a great example of noir detective genre fiction into something really special. The main character, Harry Dresden, is engaging and hugely likeable, as well as being flawed, of course, and there are sufficient hints at events he is struggling to come to terms with from his past, as yet not fully revealed, to provide emotional depth and reason to continue the series. The narration by James Masters is excellent too, at no time did it feel like I was being read-to, it was as if Harry himself was talking directly to me. The subsequent book in the series is in my wish list, waiting for my next credit, because I can't wait to find out what happens next.
What I love about Steve Martin's writing is that it's a masterclass in using just a few words to create the most detailed, sensual and insightful prose. On the surface, this is quite a slight story, but with what can seem like a superficial glance, Martin mines deep into the characters's souls. At times, the prose was so beautiful I rewound to savour it again. He uses language and structure that perfectly echos the Manhattan art world that provides the setting and tone for the story. This is a cleverly constructed narritive too, the final chapter throws into question the narrator's motives and reliability. So I'm looking forward to listening to the book again with this new perspective. And as has been said by other reviewers, the narration by Campbell Scott is faultless.
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