This used to be one of my favorites many years ago, and I purchased the audiobook on a whim. I wasn't sure what to expect. Firstly, I was unsure that the book would have survived the test of time. Second, the multiple first person narrative might be impossible to render off he printed page.
I was shocked on both counts. The story, almost an historical novel fifty odd years on, was as gripping as it was then. The narrator had just enough subtly in intonation that I rarely lost track for more than a moment, in fact less so than I remember from reading the book.
I cannot recommend this enough. It is truly a classic, and the pace of an audio presentation is perfectly suited to the atmosphere of the novel.
The pacing of this book is such that reading it myself, I found that I was skipping. One of the things I enjoy the most about audio books is being forced to slow down and enjoy the language. Maybe the complex structural devices do not come through in this experience, but the language is enhanced.
The outstanding character was none of the individuals, but rather the environment. Obviously I have no direct experience of gold mining on the West Coast in the 1800s, but I came away with a vivid picture in my mind.
Recently I listened to an interview by Orson Scott Card where he stated that some books are made to be read out loud. The Luminaries is one of those books. The range of characters, accents and the language make listening far more enjoyable than reading.Sometimes I read for plot, and sometimes for the rhythm and language, and while the plot is good, it is not the primary value of this book.
One of the problems with this title is the unavoidable comparison with Nesbo, especially given Sean Barrett's excellent narration of both authors. Wallander is, for me, a less interesting and less well developed character than Harry Hole, but this is the first in the Wallander series (apart from the more recent "prequel") so maybe he will develop over the subsequent books. The story is solid, and sufficiently complex to maintain interest, so I will be giving the rest of the series a go. I just have yet to develop an empathy for the characters
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