Michael Ondaatje is a wonderful writer, choosing his words and phrases so carefully that you can spend hours just enjoying the writing itself. However, he is not a great narrator. He speaks in a quiet, hurried way, with a bit of an accent that can make it hard to catch what he's saying. This is a good book to listen to if you are trying to go to sleep.
The story is that of the author's trip from Sri Lanka to England, by boat, when he was 11. He travelled alone, but was watched over by the adults who shared his table at dinner (nicknamed "The Cat's Table" because it was so far from the Captain's table), and befriended by other children also travelling alone. He is the observer and the student - interpreting what he saw, now, as an adult. The story is poignant and touching. I would not say that it is as good as The English Patient, but it is well written.
Some books are great in audio format and some aren't. I would have rather read this one, as there is a LOT of repetition and it is easier to skim through printed material than audio. Ayn Rand wants to make a political / economic point, and boy, does she! Over and over again, through the long winded rants of several characters. At one point, John Galt makes a 3 hour speech! Three hours!! I kept skipping ahead to find him still going on. We get it already! Socialism is bad. Capitalism is good.
Seriously, though, the story is good and it is an interesting read, especially today in the world of government bailouts and cap and trade promoters. However, if there is an abridged version, I would recommend that.
The performance improves as the book goes on. Several of the characters, especially the women, sound too much like Hal of 2001 A Space Odyssey. But, by the time I got to the last quarter of the novel, I found that was not bothering me any more.
Anyone who has ever had a child, or spent time around pre-schoolers will recognize Jack as he narrates this story with all of his 5 year old charm, questions and fears.
Jack was born to a woman held captive by an evil man for 7 years. He believes that the only reality is in their room and that TV is all make believe. Their few possessions are his best friends. When he and his mother escape, he must face "outside" with all of its scary and fascinating parts. At the same time, his mother must come to grips with her new reality and recover from her years of abuse.
The voice of Jack is perfect. I enjoyed the multiple narrators and the performance of the story was very well done. I recommend this book!
Wonderful story about a true hero. I was spellbound. Parts of the story are very hard to listen to, as Louis was so badly treated as a POW. But well worth the listen.
While the story was good, there were too many times the good professor stopped to lecture those he was with on architecture, history or symbolism. His lectures were often gratuitious. I'd recommend the abridged version, as the unabridged tended to drag.
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