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Eric

MALIBU, CA, United States | Member Since 2009

112
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 43 reviews
  • 103 ratings
  • 690 titles in library
  • 37 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
8

  • Unaccustomed Earth: Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Jhumpa Lahiri
    • Narrated By Sarita Choudhury, Ajay Naidu
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (519)
    Performance
    (121)
    Story
    (124)

    From the internationally best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, a superbly crafted new work of fiction: eight stories that take us from Cambridge and Seattle to India and Thailand. In the stunning title story, Ruma, a young mother in a new city, is visited by her father, who carefully tends the earth of her garden, where he and his grandson form a special bond. But he's harboring a secret from his daughter, a love affair he's keeping all to himself.

    Eileen says: "Simply Beautiful"
    "Not so luminescent"
    Overall

    Well written and narrated but not especially compelling stories. Well, I only made it through first three, so maybe the later ones were better. Sort of like a softer-spoken Anita Shreve.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Only Time Will Tell: The Clifton Chronicles, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Archer
    • Narrated By Roger Allam, Emilia Fox
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1274)
    Performance
    (1068)
    Story
    (1059)

    From the internationally best-selling author of Kane and Abel and A Prisoner of Birth comes Only Time Will Tell, the first in an ambitious new series that tells the story of one family across generations, across oceans, from heartbreak to triumph. The epic tale of Harry Clifton’s life begins in 1920, with the words "I was told that my father was killed in the war"....

    C. Johnson says: "Standard Archer "class-clash". Stellar narration!!"
    "Good, but not as good as Prisoner of Birth"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story took a longer time to incubate than the five-star Prisoner of Birth. Once the story of Maisy and Harry took more form, the story became more engrossing. Moving in and out of different points of view, Archer uses the brilliant device of narrating the same story from the vantage of each of the seven main characters in the story. Spoiler coming>


    As a mini-spoiler, the main evil character does not see justice done, for the most part, in this story, though perhaps time will tell, as the title suggests. And the ending, another Count of Monte Cristo/take someone else's identity similar to the one in Prisoner of Birth, is less satisfying, plausible, and wrapped up as Prisoner of Birth. But worth of credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • East of Eden

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By John Steinbeck
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1265)
    Performance
    (1092)
    Story
    (1105)

    This sprawling and often brutal novel, set in the rich farmlands of California's Salinas Valley, follows the intertwined destinies of two families - the Trasks and the Hamiltons - whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

    Suzn F says: "Epic story of Love and Loss"
    "Started slow and then became amazing..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I will start by saying that this book took a bit to get into. My son recommended it, and that created my entree. The narrator (Richard Poe) was outstanding. The story of the Trasks and the Hamiltons held my interest at the beginning, but I kept reserving judgment, wondering why Steinbeck considered this his greatest work. Steinbeck channels different messages through the stories of all the characters, but I think his alter ego was the Chinese character Lee, and it was in a dialog with Lee, about 30% into the story, that EoE started to come together in my mind as a mythic masterpiece. The writing, of course, is amazing. It brings you straight into early 20th century central California, with the same intensity that Larry McMurtry takes you into the old West. (Sorry for those who think it is an unfair comparison to either McMurtry or Steinbeck - Lonesome Dove is unrivaled for making the American past come alive through brilliant writing, even if nothing else by McMurtry was as good.)

    This is an engrossing rendering of many characters but with the archetypes of Cain and Abel through the lens of the Salina Valley in California, via the characters of Charles and Adam and then Caleb and Aron. The C-A initials are a simple device that lets the reader know that when they think Cain and Abel, they have arrived in the author's mental neighborhood, but the layers and complexity from there are amazing, rich, and unpredictable.

    The Hebrew expression "timshel" holds great import in this story, encapsulating a philosophy of human will and potential. I won't presume to know Steinbeck's held meaning, but Lee's exposition of the term is riveting and colors or flavors all of the character development in the story.

    Definitely a high recommend, and a rare (for me) 5-star rating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By Anthony Doerr
    • Narrated By Zach Appelman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1795)
    Performance
    (1609)
    Story
    (1610)

    Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

    Annie M. says: "Time well spent"
    "Poetic, moving, intriguing"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I rarely give 5 stars, but this is an excellent and unforgettable listen. It is not just another WWII story, but it certainly takes you inside what it was like to be in France, with both resisters and collaborators. The story of the two protagonists, a blind girl from Paris, and a German orphan, as they enter adolescence during the nightmare years of the Third Reich, is compelling. The story moves back and forth, pivoting from a liberation day for a town just after D-Day back to years from 1934-1944.

    So you have three stories. One is what is happening in a town's liberation shortly after D-Day, the other two track the lives of the French girl and the German boy, as they converge to the liberation day. The story makes clear from the outset that they are in the same town at the end. The character development is deep and rich.

    A wonderful and powerful story, and certainly a way to bring history alive.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tonight I Said Goodbye

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Michael Koryta
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (727)
    Performance
    (591)
    Story
    (581)

    Investigator Wayne Weston is found dead of an apparent suicide in his home in an upscale Cleveland suburb, and his wife and six-year-old daughter are missing. Weston’s father insists that private investigators Lincoln Perry and Joe Pritchard take the case to exonerate his son and find his granddaughter and daughter-in-law. As they begin to work, they discover there is much more to the situation than has been described in the prevalent media reports.

    Eric says: "Just could not get this engine to rev...."
    "Just could not get this engine to rev...."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I have to agree with many others who felt this audiobook was not helped by Scott Brick's narration. I usually like Brick, but for some reason he was not a good fit here. And the story was not the "remarkably fresh perspective" that the Chicago Tribune review promised. I listened and re-listened to several parts of the first 2-3 hours and then pulled this plug, moving on to another in the same genre that I could not put down. Not enough to hold my interest, though I listen to a lot in this genre.

    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Wildflower Hill

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Kimberley Freeman
    • Narrated By Caroline Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (508)
    Performance
    (430)
    Story
    (433)

    In 1920s Glasgow, Beattie Blaxland falls pregnant to her married lover Henry just before her nineteenth birthday. Abandoned by her family, Beattie and Henry set sail for a new life in Australia. In 2009, London, prima ballerina Lydia Blaxland-Hunter is also discovering that life can also have its ups and downs. Unable to dance again after a fall, Lydia returns home to Australia to recuperate.

    Sara says: "Story telling at its best!"
    "Engaging story with great historical points"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I bought this on a 4.95 sale, and it was a very good choice. I was getting bogged down in "Bleak House" by Dickens, and this really kept me in the story. I was concerned about the reviewer who likened this to a romance novel, and it did have that element in the final third or fourth of the story. Another reviewer commented on the abrupt ending, and I have to agree. It had something of a feel of the author feeling she had done a great multigenerational story, and that was enough - let the readers make up the conclusion.

    This was indeed a great multigenerational story, lots of compelling history about discriminiation against women and aboriginals and the displacements of the second world war. The card game was a great part of it - the most that can be said without a spoiler.

    In addition to the conclusion, there were other abrupt points in the narrative, to me, so I would give the story 3.5 stars on those merits except, no question, it was an interesting story and i wanted to listen to it, so it comes up to four. In my magic scoring scheme, a 5 shows up once for every ten 4's, fwiw.

    The narrator was excellent. I cannot make judgments on Scottish versus Aussie versus Tasmanian accents, and understand one reviewer felt the Scottish was overdone. But to this midwest US guy, it was all good.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Never Go Back: A Jack Reacher Novel, Book 18

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Lee Child
    • Narrated By Dick Hill
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2537)
    Performance
    (2265)
    Story
    (2245)

    Former military cop Jack Reacher makes it all the way from snowbound South Dakota to his destination in northeastern Virginia, near Washington, D.C.: the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP. The old stone building is the closest thing to a home he ever had. Reacher is there to meet - in person - the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner, so far just a warm, intriguing voice on the phone. But it isn’t Turner behind the CO’s desk. And Reacher is hit with two pieces of shocking news, one with serious criminal consequences, and one too personal to even think about.

    Marci says: "Expect the Best"
    "another reacher i could not put down"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    i read enough reviews of the most recent reacher offering to think that childs had gone soft on plot in service of political commentary, so I skipped #17. many thanks to reviewers for the helpful notes on #18. this is a great addition to the series. the title is perfect - the one thing you are saying after reacher goes back to his old unit and **early plotline but not critical spoiler alert** gets reinstated in order to face felony charges is that jack, you should never go back.

    there were three sequences where reacher was breaking bones, and i thought the narrative did not need to be so graphic. that was a minor complaint. the plot twists and turns in this were clever and as good as any i have seen in the 6-7 reachers i have done on audible.

    the samantha character was great.

    the tell at the end - the underlying scheming that put everything into motion - was fine but not nearly as strong as the rest of the book. and as i captioned the review, i could not put this book down.

    someone confused the narrator with scott brick. this is not a brick narration, but rather dick hill, who has a very different style. (i happen to like both.) when dick hill is at his best, he is the best. this was a great narration by hill, especially including the female voices.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Marriage Bureau for Rich People

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Farahad Zama
    • Narrated By Tania Rodrigues
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (226)
    Performance
    (178)
    Story
    (175)

    Farahad Zama's debut novel transports listeners to faraway India for a story brimming with endearing characters, homespun wisdom, and blossoming love. After Mr. Ali retires, he launches a matchmaking service that helps an array of clients arrange marriages. But he's unaware of his able assistant's dire need for his marriage bureau.

    Lorriee says: "The Marriage Bureau for Rich People"
    "Reviews are on target - a lovely stroll"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was such a captivating listen. It was not Shantaram or the Twentieth Wife, or Cutting for Stone. Not epic. But so satisfying, a story that will stay with you and please the mind for years to come.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Molly Ringwald
    • Narrated By Molly Ringwald
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (55)
    Performance
    (50)
    Story
    (51)

    When it happens to you, you will be surprised. That thing they say about how you knew all the time, but just weren't facing it? That might be the case, but nevertheless, there you will be. Molly Ringwald mines the complexities of modern relationships in this gripping and nuanced collection of interlinked stories. Writing with a deep compassion for human imperfection, Ringwald follows a Los Angeles family and their friends and neighbors while they negotiate the hazardous terrain of everyday life - revealing the deceptions, heartbreak, and vulnerability familiar to us all.

    jennifer says: "Narrated by Molly!"
    "This is not Sixteen Candles or the Breakfast Club"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well done, Molly Ringwald. The device of telling a story through linked short-stories was well-executed in this effort, with every new short story leaving the listener waiting for the tell-tale line that would contribute a new dimension to the overall plot development involving a family riven by the father's affair.

    The book title, "When It Happens to You," is also the title for one of the short stories. The last sentence of that short story is brilliant, compelling, poignant and puts a fine point on the entire volume.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Jakarta Pandemic

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Steven Konkoly
    • Narrated By Joseph Morton
    Overall
    (825)
    Performance
    (742)
    Story
    (741)

    In the late fall of 2013, a lethal pandemic virus emerges from the Islamic Republic of Indonesia (IRI) and rages unchecked across every continent. When the Jakarta Flu threatens his picture-perfect Maine neighborhood, Alex Fletcher, Iraq War veteran, is ready to do whatever it takes to keep his family safe. As a seasoned sales representative for Biosphere Pharmaceuticals, makers of a leading flu virus treatment, Alex understands what a deadly pandemic means for all of them.

    deedeeg says: "Nice surprise"
    "Political schizophrenia and engrossing story"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I could not put this story down. It was well-written, with many insights and details, and the narration was very strong, especially the narrator's lowered voice rendering of the protagonist's private thoughts.

    The protagonist in this story, Alex, takes his family through the harrowing experience of surviving a pandemic. Alex is more level-headed, observant and wise than everyone else except his loving CPA wife, and certainly more than the neighborhood neanderthals, those who came after the pandemic and those who were already there. The problem is that Alex is ahead of everyone else simply because in his role as a sales agent for a money-hungry pharmaceutical, he is more attuned to the need to prepare for the pandemic. His family is provisioned for over a year with food and supplies and guns locked up in the basement. In that sense, we get to see Alex as he is without facing the survival struggles of the hooligans around him. But the hooligans are reduced in their humanity simply because - they don't have what Alex has. It is a cheap contrast. We sympathize with Alex and can't stand the hooligans, but the truth is that the hooligans could be just as sympathetic as Alex if their families were protected from the pandemic and had plenty to eat, and Alex could be just as contemptible if he was not. It's not so much that the writer wants us to want the good guys to win, but that we want the "people who had more advance warning and chance to prepare" to win. But it is easy to confuse the two in this book.

    The book was filled with political statements. Alex goes around in his camouflage outfits and peppers his thoughts with his war recollections, has an impressive knowledge of guns, and an impressive collection of guns. But it turns out that all but one are unregistered. He also, even preceding the pandemic, has built an impressive survivalist complex in his basement, replete with different drug samples he has squirreled away illegally in order to keep his family as healthy as possible. Against this backdrop, the story reminds us that Alex can drop tired canards on conservatives, republicans, and Fox news with the best of the polarized left.

    The above are not necessarily complaints, just "mild crititiques".

    This was not the formulaic survival story some reviewers claim. It is a great read/listen, a truly engrossing story.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • The Devil's Star

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbø
    • Narrated By Robin Sachs
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (880)
    Performance
    (689)
    Story
    (689)

    A young woman is murdered in her Oslo flat. One finger has been severed from her left hand, and behind her eyelid is secreted a tiny red diamond in the shape of a five-pointed star - a pentagram, the devil’s star. Detective Harry Hole is assigned to the case with his long-time adversary Tom Waaler and initially wants no part in it. But Harry is already on notice to quit the force and is left with little alternative but to drag himself out of his alcoholic stupor and get to work. A wave of similar murders is on the horizon....

    J.R. says: "New Steig Larsson? Hah! The new Raymond Chandler!"
    "Gripping, especially if you have read Red Breast"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I could not put the story down at the end because of the way it wrapped up the Red Breast story. If you are looking for the right book to pick up after Red Breast, this is it.

    Nesbo's stories are complex enough that it is a good idea to have both the written and audible portion. Note to Amazon: Whispersync was not working even though my accounts said it would.

    Great detective work, clever lines.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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