The hilarious and idiotic professor of philology, Professor Dr. Mortiz-Maria von Igelfeld, is McCall Smith's best character and the least known. I find much of Smith's writing very dull. But this series about his ridiculously pompous and clueless professor is laugh-out-loud fun! I highly recommend the first couple books in the series. Portuguese Irregular Verbs, The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs, and The Villa of Reduced Circumstances. Sausage Dogs is one of the funniest things I have EVER read. Sadly, this book does not live up to the others and I waited sooooo long for it! Perfectly narrated by Paul Hecht but the story just wasn't as good as in the other books.
I love supernatural stories and haunted houses in particular. It's hard to be original these days but the real problem with this book is Little's choice of using bad flashback episodes FOUR times! They weakened the storyline and broke the cardinal rule --- never reveal too much about the monster. It will stop being scary. He did have one really creepy element - a card game. Hard to imagine, I know. But it was cleverly creepy. The performance wasn't that good. The narrator can't vary his voices enough.
I'm not really into mysteries but this was fun. Not great. Just some light fun.
This is an absolutely delightful comedy following the adventures of an unassuming Swedish man through 100 years of modern history. Like Forrest Gump, he has been everywhere, met everyone, and changed the course of human history a half dozen times. Unlike Forrest, he is clever, which more than makes up for the unexpected stupidity of Einstein's younger brother, Herbert, with whom he pals around for a couple decades. It's beautifully written, perfectly performed, and endlessly pleasurable.
Just an old-fashioned, ancient elemental monster/family curse thriller. Well-written and well-narrated. The only downside are a couple long, pointless sex scenes.
Ray meditates in the woods. Ray goes on a road trip. Ray sleeps in the train yard. Ray goes on a hike with his buddies. They talk a lot of pseudo eastern philosophy bull. They go back to a shack. Everyone gets drunk. Everyone gets laid. By the same Barbie nympho doll. Ray goes on a road trip. Ray sleeps in a train yard. Ray goes home and Momma cooks for him. Ray meditates in the woods. Ray goes on a road trip. Ray meets up with buddies. They talk a lot of pseudo eastern philosophy bull. They throw a party and get drunk. Several women show up and wish they could have sex with Ray's friend. Ray goes on a road trip. Then Ray climbs a mountain. More pseudo eastern philosophical BS. The end.
I get that this was very influential in 1958. That millions of young men thought this footloose lifestyle was some kind of statement about individualism and freedom. But boy, it just reads like BS today. And if you've read On the Road already, this is a pale duplicate only with eastern BS thrown in to try and make it mean something. Which it doesn't. It doesn't mean anything except Kerouac didn't like women or working.
Kerouac was a great writer. I wish he'd been a better man and given us better material. I am totally done with him now.
The narrator was great.
I am a big Wodehouse fan but this is not one of his best novels. Still, it's an enjoyable story. It could have been lifted to be even better had the narrator been any good. Inexplicably, the producers went ahead with a narrator who can ONLY do funny old men voices. Thus, the young men sounded like old men, the young women sounded like old men, the Americans sounded like old British men, as did the servants, you get the idea. This was such a problem that I literally could not figure out which character was speaking during many of the scenes. I really cannot understand why the audiobook was allowed to be released in this condition.
With so many great books out there which I have yet to read, why should I work hard to plod through the slow pacing and long, dull conversations (some of which are thinly veiled de Lint sermons on how badly women are treated) ? The characters aren't interesting although they could have been. I didn't care about their problems. I couldn't even get interested in the one supernatural character that showed up early in the narrative. And, to top it off, the narrator was bad. Kate Reading made her female voices too high and her male voices too low. Irritating. I am sorry I paid for this book. This was my first de Lint and my last.
This is considered one of the finest novels of the early twentieth century. The story and characters are suffocating - slowly killing each other and themselves - and we readers - through their idleness and pointlessness. However, and this is an enormous HOWEVER for anyone who is interested in HOW novels are written, I have never seen such an exquisite example of moving backwards and forwards in time to construct the story and characters. I may read this again and again just to see how Ford did it. It is simply brilliant.
Scott is not one of my favorite writers although I love 19th century literature. However I had promised myself to read this book some day and I did enjoy it. The performance was very good and the story is fun. But it is a 19th century person's view of an action story - melodramatic by our standards, with stock characters.
I did not know this book would take me through the Nigerian civil war when I bought it. But I am so glad I learned about it through this stunning story of an upper class African family that eventually found themselves on the losing side. The story is well written, beautifully narrated, and delivers the war gently. No clobbering with gruesome gratuitous violence and no battle scenes. This is simply the experience of a few individuals who lived through it. I loved the characters and especially the twin sisters whose difficult relationship is finally healed because of the war.
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