Allen, TX, United States | Member Since 2006
As a stand alone plot-based story, this tale could have been mean spirited or just sad. This skillfull telling provide a look into how long held feelings can do more harm than a bad act itself, and how a bit of personal bravery can change things forever. A look at the delicate balance of "getting along" and "knowing one's place" in the South of the 50's and 60's that is more what I know from experience than the caricatures we so often see. A complex tale of black and white children coming of age with an understanding of their separate positions in the community until something happens to change the course of all their lives. The title is strangely non-informative until you hear the first chapter. Not a transparent story - I wonder how much "between the lines" will be clear to people who have not lived in this environment.
It is hard to write much about this book without giving away elements of the story that need to unfold in the context of the telling of the tale. On one level, it is a good "Who dunnit?" mystery. On another, it is a moving account of the lives of elephants in the wild and in captivity. The most unique and moving aspects of the story have little to do with either of these story elements. The title of the book gives you a clue, but don't think you've figured it out, because you haven't....
I expect that Ghosh intended this book to be a Ken Follett-like sweeping story of Burma, India and much of south Asia during the late 19th and early 20th century, but it reads more like a mood piece or memoir with its focus on scenery, social conventions and detailed analysis of family/caste relationships. The plot spans the lives of several families, starting with the deposition of the last Burmese king through the end of the 2nd World War, but isn't really plot driven, or character driven. It's more a series of stream of consciousness depictions of the thoughts of various related characters. The strong suit of this story is the beautiful, detailed description of the thoughts of the varied characters, illustrating the ways in which the misunderstandings between ruler and ruled fueled WW I and II. The author assumes that the listener is clever enough to understand some plot points without his spelling them out. He expects a lot from the reader, but that serves the progression of the book well. Simon Vance is always a great narrator, and does a remarkable job with the numerous dialects and languages.
Having spent almost 100 hours with these characters and their ancestors over the course of this trilogy about the 19th and 20th centuries, I was sad to come to the end. As I have previously written, the first book was stellar, the 2nd was grim and uninspired, but the 3rd captured the ulginess of civil rights in the US, the end of WWII Europe and the Cold War in a fascinating tale of families overcoming their hardships along side their participation in world-changing events. History comes together as reality for me in books such as this in which events in one country are juxtaposed with events in other parts of the world occurring at the same time. If I have any complaint, its about the generally wonderful narrator, John Lee. He manages to get any number of European, Asian and the numerous confusing British dialects right, while completely mangling dialects of the Southern United States. He's not particularly good with Boston, either. He does improve as the book progresses, as if his ear is learning the sounds. Listen to or read this trilogy from the beginning!
I'm a picky listener, and have never given 5 stars until now. Anything by Tana French is going to be "good," but the story telling in this book is terrific. It is told from a number of points of view, which isn't so unusual, but the detectives tell the story from start to finish, while the girls around whom the tale is centered tell it from pre-history to the start of this plot. French is so talented that it isn't messy or confusing in the least. This is among the best books in the Dublin Murder Squad series. I hope to see these characters again. Dual narrators is effective in this book, and probably wouldn't work as well with a single voice.
If you do not know this series, don't start here. This book requires that you be intimately familiar with the back stories and characters of the previous books. If you are already a lover of the Three Pines series, you will find comfortable, familiar story telling in this book, but you will also be shocked at a couple of plot turns. I was really pleased to see Inspector Gamache's wife featured more prominently in this story, and I also noticed some subtle changes in the use of timeline of events that was a fresh approach for Ms. Penny. I always wish these books were longer!
Each time I start a new "Outlander" book, I feel as if I am attending a reunion of dear friends - I can't wait to find out what happened since we last met! This book continues the difficult-to-define genre in which these stories are told. There appears that this book has more steamy romance than most of the others, as well as really graphic scenes of violence and medical practice in 2 different centuries. Many plot lines are resolved, and many others just begun. I can't wait for the promised 9th book! Davina Porter is the only possible voice in which I can imagine these stories being told - she is wonderful, as always, with the exception of a few mispronounced words here and there. A bit unexpected. NOTE: Read all of the previous 7 books in the series before you begin this one. Subtle elements will not make sense otherwise. A great listen!!
The synopsis of this book's plot might cause you to assume a dreary medical procedural, with lots of discussion of treatments. Almost none of that occurs. The male protagonist is a quadriplegic, but the story is about what happens when people from completely different walks of life are thrust together in co-dependence. The story is told variously from the points of view of several of the primary and secondary characters, weaving together a plot that is driven by need, desire and deep emotional development. It contains every element a memorable book requires: pain, humor, love, fear, selfishness and kindness. A little bigotry and understanding thrown in, too. I am telling everyone to read or listen to this book. One of the best ever.
This story has similar themes of loyalty and betrayal, who can trust whom, etc., but with completely new characters and a contemporary setting. (An attempted overthrow of Kadafi in Lybia) Lots of characters from many nationalities are expertly narrated by Ballerini. He is excellent with both men and women, and his accent rings true (at least, consistent) with all characters. If you want every detail of a plot tied up with a nice bow, don't listen to this story: Life doesn't work that way, so why should this tale? I hope that this signals that there may be another book with some of these characters.
I am a big Connie Willis fan, but this tale was pretty silly. I continue to love her matter-of-fact style of writing about such things as an institute in which PhDs work on such important topics as "Why the Fad of Hair Bobbing Began." I think this story would have been more appealing, however, if the drawn out character development was tightened up and the action was more concise. It was a fun listen, particularly because I got it on a "2 for 1" sale, but don't spend an entire credit on it.
...this one is especially so. The title sets the listener up: the first scene is a child in a suitcase. The story is told from multiple character's points of view. The tale weaves around several countries, numerous characters and agendas, and mostly resolves at the end, leaving a couple of characters depressingly unchanged by events. In the meantime, there are several unique plot twists and some well drawn characters, but only listen to this if you are ready to walk on the seamy underside of Denmark and Finland.
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