Having heard of Ramachandran's work before reading this book, I had high expectations. Some of those were fulfilled, in hearing about synaesthesia and mirror neurons. However there is also a huge amount of plain discussion and even sheer speculation about art, beauty, and the evolution of human preferences. For example, he invents a list of principles of aesthetics, without reference to any artists or prior thinking on the subject. Overall there was enough science to make it interesting. The narration is a bit breathless, like listening to 777-FILM.
3 words: surreal, sinister, gripping.
An ordinary life goes slowly and then not so slowly off the rails, until the line between dreams and waking is no longer clear. The cast of characters is rich and interesting.
If felt like the author kind of gave up on making a coherent story of all the threads he had been drawing out through the book. Instead of the lines converging, they mostly proceed independently towards the horizon. The Manchurian war episodes contrast jarringly with the domestic life portrait.
By far the best thing about the experience. The range of different accents and affects he brings to the characters, like the threatening messenger or the teenage girl, is wonderful. The quiet, sibilant politician's voice will stick in my ear for a long time.
It certainly kept me awake late several nights.
Absolutely terrific. Not only is it a great story but the narration with dozens of different voices is like listening to a play. Except the play goes on for days, so by the end the characters are unforgettable and will stay in memory for a lifetime. Bravo to the actors!
Intricate plot, the way people put together such complex sentences back then.
Grandpa Smallweed was a complete hoot.
The voice of George was perfect.
A young man named Guppy was also spot on.
After listening to it for the three weeks, I went right back to the beginning and listened all over again. What a classic.
This was offbeat but quite enjoyable. It has quite a lot of science history in it, told from a dystopic future world, and there is even a bit of ghost story to it. The most amusing part was the enthusiastic bumbling of the main protagonist in the story told in a voice that rings true (I had a co-worker like that once...) I'd recommend it, though there are a few caveats. It started a little slow. Because of the mix of the fiction and fact, it's hard to know which historical data can be trusted and which cannot. Also, the ending felt abrupt and unsatisfying. But until the last ten minutes, I steadily enjoyed it more and more.
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