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Valdosta, GA, United States | Member Since 2001

  • 2 reviews
  • 6 ratings
  • 630 titles in library
  • 10 purchased in 2015

  • The Sun Also Rises

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Ernest Hemingway
    • Narrated By William Hurt
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway's masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful style. A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the story introduces two of Hemingway's most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. Follow the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of the 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates.

    Gerald says: "Bravo Papa!"
    "seinfeldian story, but not funny"
    Would you listen to The Sun Also Rises again? Why?

    I've listened to the story twice (have read it maybe a half dozen times over the years), and each time I get a bit more from it. Sometimes it is insight into the era, sometimes the characters, sometimes for its lessons on how to write. As time goes by and my perspective changes, so do the characters.

    What other book might you compare The Sun Also Rises to and why?

    The story is more a collection of character studies--to me--then about any of the particular events related. Hemingway's ability to paint a detailed setting and then overlay the character's dialogue so that the two are utterly separate yet equally interesting makes the work worth the reread. That said, I find most of his work to most remind me of the Seinfeld series: stories about nothing, and everything.

    Which character – as performed by William Hurt – was your favorite?

    Hurt's performance put me off at the start. Too staccato, I thought, and found it annoying. The various characters, though, were clearly defined by either accent or style, and I never once had to wonder who was speaking. Eventually, I accepted the staccato voice of the protagonist not as a shortcoming on Hurt's part, but rather, as the personality of the character.

    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Just like the antisemitism in the Merchant of Venice, and the racism in TKa Mockingbird, the oft-recurring thread of Jew-hatred in this story is hard to take, and listening to it evokes a stronger reaction than just reading the words on a page.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Helene Wecker
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who appear mysteriously in 1899 New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life by a strange man who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York Harbor. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian Desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop.

    Janice says: "What does it mean to be human?"
    "Unable to turn it off, it captured me utterly"
    What made the experience of listening to The Golem and the Jinni the most enjoyable?

    The narrator, who obviously felt a deep understanding of the author's intent made this book one to relish and even to listen to a second time. His ability to differentiate the characters by subtle verbal tics: excellent though not 100%. I sometimes had to reorient as to who was speaking. Guidall made each character distinctive, it's just that too often the bits were jammed too close together (poor editing), without a moments pause, to allow the switch to occur seamlessly. Excellent story, well developed, complexly layered with enough depth to oblige the listener/reader to consider the social, personal, political, philosophical aspects. Human nature - its moral and ethical dilemmas regarding compassion and responsibility, romantic vs. platonic love, free will vs. enslavement, faith and altruism, all these issues are lightly brought to fore as the characters play out this tale. I would credit the narrator's skill on par with the author's. Inflection and emphasis are delicate components in advancing both the character's personality and the author's intent and Guidall hit that nail on the head. Someone used the word 'savory' to describe his voice, that's dead-on, too. I don't normally enjoy fantasy--much prefer non-fiction, really, but this one was so tightly woven-- and so well read-- that I just could not put it down.

    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Rabbi Meyer, a well-intentioned man who, like most scholars, thought too much and acted too little.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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