I found the lecturer incredibly annoying and pompous. The biographical information is interesting, but the delivery is much longer than necessary and full of annoying attempts at humor that fall flat. I've found the opera synopses vapid and distracting, and the orientation to the musical highlights insufficient for my interests. Read a Verdi biography instead.
Well read, entertaining, but ultimately there are no appealing characters and didn't really feel worth all the time I spent listening to it. Little meaning in the end.
This is on par with Toni Morrison's other fiction-- moving, redemptive, and poetic. This audiobook is an outstanding performance, and listening to Ms. Morrison perform gives weight and movement to the words. The understated and contained expressiveness of her voice reflects the tension and containment that the characters must bring to themselves as they cope with overwhelming traumas of war, medical abuse, and racism. Listen and listen again.
Salman Rushdie, writing his memoir in the third person, illustrates the relationships and values and mistakes and triumphs that characterized his response to the outrage of being a writer targeted by the Iranian fatwa. He writes about his loves and imperfections, his angers and the pain he felt at the frequent criticism (often distorted) in the British press as the Fatwa and the risk to his life extended on year after year. Vivid friendships with many notable writers, artists and musicians run throughout the text, and were the web that helped him and his family survive the emotional burden of maintaining security in face of repeated renewals of the threats against him coming from the Iranian government each year. This is a memoir in which the multiple losses-- through divorce, death, estrangement, and personal vulnerability-- play next to the threat of violent death as the result of terror. Perhaps it is most moving when the 65 year old Salman writes to his 52 year old self that it is time to grow up. In this moment, he remembers some of the most painful (and unfortunate) choices he made and faces them with grace and responsibility. Throughout, his love of imaginative worlds and their possibilities shines through, as does his absolute commitment to the sacred values of free speech and human rights.
Sam Dastor is a wonderful reader and creates an amazing variety of voices and accents. Great performance!
This is a long and lovely listen.
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