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E. R. Rothenberg

ratings
7
REVIEWS
7
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
0
HELPFUL VOTES
12

  • The Bonfire of the Vanities

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Tom Wolfe
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1028)
    Performance
    (587)
    Story
    (588)

    Tom Wolfe's best-selling modern classic tells the story of Sherman McCoy, an elite Wall Street bond trader who has it all: wealth, power, prestige, a Park Avenue apartment, a beautiful wife, and an even more beautiful mistress - until one wrong turn sends Sherman spiraling downward into a humiliating fall from grace. A car accident in the Bronx involving Sherman, his girlfriend, and two young lower-class black men sets a match to the incendiary racial and social tensions of 1980s New York City.

    JOHN says: "TEN STARS"
    "Not great literature, but fantastic narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    It's a page-turner, or the audible counterpart.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    There are no positive characters. It's hard to really like any of them, yet that's part of the fun Sherman exhibits some nobility and some growth -- that's all we can expect.


    Which character – as performed by Joe Barrett – was your favorite?

    Joe Barrett was absolutely fantastic. He did all accents excellently. Really brought the book to life.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Toward the end it looks as though the innocent will prevail -- but that's too much to hope for in Tom Wolfe's world where nobody is truly innocent. There's a Dostoevskian cast to this modern American novel.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Just Send Me Word: A True Story of Love and Survival in the Gulag

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Orlando Figes
    • Narrated By James Langton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    In 1946, after five years as a prisoner - first as a Soviet POW in Nazi concentration camps, then as a deportee in the Arctic Gulag - 29-year-old Lev Mishchenko unexpectedly received a letter from Sveta, the sweetheart he had hardly dared hope was still alive. Amazingly, over the next eight years, the lovers managed to exchange more than 1,500 messages and even to smuggle Sveta herself into the camp for secret meetings. Their recently discovered correspondence is the only known real-time record of life in Stalin's Gulag.

    Daryl says: "Just send Me Word"
    "Not enough information"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of Just Send Me Word to be better than the print version?

    Can't compare, but the audio edition was very good.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The emotional relationship between the protagonists was most interesting, but it was not enough. It was unrealistic to me that there was no comment (in these uncensored letters) about Stalin, the repressions, politics. That would have been most interesting.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Black Russian

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Vladimir Alexandrov
    • Narrated By Peter Marinker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    The Black Russian is the incredible story of Frederick Bruce Thomas, born in 1872 to former slaves who became prosperous farmers in Mississippi. After leaving the South and working as a waiter and valet in Chicago and Brooklyn, Frederick sought greater freedom in London, then crisscrossed Europe, and - in a highly unusual choice for a black American at the time - went to Russia in 1899. Because he found no color line there, Frederick made Moscow his home. He renamed himself Fyodor Fyodorovich Tomas, married twice, acquired a mistress, and took Russian citizenship.

    E. R. Rothenberg says: "Little known part of Russian history"
    "Little known part of Russian history"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Black Russian the most enjoyable?

    A surprising story. I know a lot about Russian history, but the story of an African-American's success in per-revolutionary Russia is unexpected.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    Sad, but somehow not surprising.


    What three words best describe Peter Marinker’s performance?

    Competent, easy-to-listen-to, adequate pronunciation of Russian.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A Black American Entrepreneur in Russia


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Piper Kerman
    • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3132)
    Performance
    (2843)
    Story
    (2867)

    With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money 10 years ago. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to 15 months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424 - one of the millions of women who disappear "down the rabbit hole" of the American penal system.

    Mark says: "My favorite book of the year, so far"
    "Nothing special"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I was expecting more. Didn't watch much of the TV version, but from what I've heard about it, I expected more fireworks..


    If you’ve listened to books by Piper Kerman before, how does this one compare?

    No.


    Have you listened to any of Cassandra Campbell’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    What else would you have wanted to know about Piper Kerman’s life?

    I would have liked to know more about her adjustment to life after prison. The story seemed to end too abruptly.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Michael and Natasha

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Rosemary Crawford, Donald Crawford
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (21)
    Story
    (21)

    He was Grand Duke Michael, handsome brother of Tsar Nicholas II. She was the beautiful twice-divorced daughter of a Moscow lawyer. Their scandalous love affair and their runaway marriage to Vienna in 1912, trailed by the Tsar's secret police, caused uproar in Russia and was the talk of all Europe.

    Filmguy says: "More than a Love Story"
    "Truth is stranger than fiction ..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Michael and Natasha rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Michael and Natasha was a great surprise. I stumbled upon it and found it fascinating. I don't usually listen to history, but this was more like a novel.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It reads like fiction, but it's all too true. Russian history of the twentieth century is simply incredible. This book draws on newly revealed archival information. Great historical events are told from the point of view of the individuals involved, making it come alive.


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Pronounce Russian names correctly.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It was hard to put down. However, it seemed to end rather quickly after the climax. I would have liked more of a denouement. The final history of Natasha and family could be given in more detail. I didn't want it to end.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Gulag: A History

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Anne Applebaum
    • Narrated By Laural Merlington
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (72)
    Story
    (71)

    The Gulag - a vast array of Soviet concentration camps that held millions of political and criminal prisoners - was a system of repression and punishment that terrorized the entire society, embodying the worst tendencies of Soviet communism. In this magisterial and acclaimed history, Anne Applebaum offers the first fully documented portrait of the Gulag, from its origins in the Russian Revolution, through its expansion under Stalin, to its collapse in the era of glasnost.

    E. R. Rothenberg says: "Riveting story, flawed performance"
    "Riveting story, flawed performance"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to Gulag again? Why?

    Perhaps parts of it. I will consult a hard copy in order to digest and remember some of the many facts, statistics and quotations cited by the author.


    What other book might you compare Gulag to and why?

    Holocaust histories. Applebaum's history is based on newly opened archival information.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Laural Merlington’s performances?

    Not if it's a performance of a Russian-related subject. Her style was over-dramatic in inappropriate places, but worse was her horrendous pronunciation of Russian names, places, and gulag terminology. And it was inconsistently horrendous -- she pronounced the same name two or three different ways -- almost always incorrect.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Way too long for that but in places it was definitely hard to stop. The author livens up her chronological historical survey of the prisons and camps with the fascinating, if dismal, tragedies of individuals.


    Any additional comments?

    I find other reviewers' negative comments interesting. Applebaum opens her history with an instructive analysis of the contrast between the west’s cultural fascination with Nazi atrocities and its willful ignorance and disregard of Soviet evils. The details of the story are grisly and mind-boggling, but all too true and they deserve attention. The gulag is an important part of 20th century history and it is still relevant in Russia.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Brothers Karamazov

    • UNABRIDGED (34 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Constance Garnett (translator)
    • Narrated By Frederick Davidson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (289)
    Performance
    (187)
    Story
    (187)

    The Brothers Karamazov tells the stirring tale of four brothers: the pleasure-seeking, impatient Dmitri; the brilliant and morose Ivan; the gentle, loving, and honest Alyosha; and the illegitimate Smerdyakov: shy, silent, and cruel. The four unite in the murder of one of literature's most despicable characters - their father. This was Dostoevsky's final and best work.

    David says: "A long work and a great work, but boy is it long"
    "Wonderful book, horrendous narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What would have made The Brothers Karamazov better?

    A narrator who understands Dostoevsky. Narration requires interpretation, and Davidson has it all wrong.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Zossima is the central character of the novel, the one who carries Dostoevsky's message. Unfortunately, Davidson makes him come across like an evil troll.


    What didn’t you like about Frederick Davidson’s performance?

    He can't pronounce Russian names. They're not that difficult. I think most people know that EEEvan is not the way to say the common Russian name Ivan, and stresses are misplaced in most of the other names as well. But that's a common problem with narration of Russian novels. Worse is the droning, sing-song, nasal voice. The narration ruined the book for me. In the list of books narrated by Davidson there are several I am interested in, but I will never order a book narrated by him again.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Brothers Karamazov?

    None. Everything is necessary to Dostoevsky's message.


    Any additional comments?

    There are only three unabridged versions offered by Audible. The Magarshack translation is unreliable, so that left only the Covell and Davidson narrations. In the sample provided, Covell mispronounces every Russian name and according to other reviewers, his narration is flat and uninspired, so I was forced to put up with Davidson. Clearly it's time for a new recording. This is my favorite novel of all time, and unfortunately, the first book from Audible that I have been totally disappointed in. By the way, translators should always be identified along with the authors. It makes a difference.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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