I have always wanted to read these historical accounts, but alas this is a very disappointing book. I don't know how they did it, but the authors of the various chapters have succeeded in making some of the most fascinating figures in history quite dull and two-dimensional. And how is it possible to omit Shakespeare from the chapter on Queen Elizabeth? Good grief!
This beautiful novel justly received the Man Booker Prize this year. A Guardian reviewer said that to call it a rich tapestry gives too much credit to tapestries. Indeed it does. It is, on a simple level, the story of Dorrigo Evans, a Tasmanian surgeon whose horrific experience with his diseased, crippled and dying Australian POWS, slaves of the Japanese intent on building the Burma Railroad for the Emperor, informs the rest of his life.
It is everything I admire in a piece of writing: chilling, deeply moving, brutal and poetic. But so much more.
Toward the end of the novel, perhaps the last hour, I couldn't move. I found myself standing spellbound in my kitchen, grasping a dripping sponge.
An excellently researched and composed account of the tide and eventual tsunami of events that led to the fall of communism. The internecine machinations and conflicts among the corrupt leaders in the satellite countries of Eastern Europe, especially the GDR, are particularly fascinating and revealing. The portrait of Gorbachev is also surprising.
wow the narrator sounds like he is doing a Zoolander imitation. The story is absolutely one-dimensional. The hero is obnoxious. Otherwise it's great.
The story is intricate and the characters finely drawn ... tension is not contrived. A really sublime crime thriller. This is Jo Nesbø at his best. I don't even miss Harry Hole.
The lack of strong story and characters. The endless exposition.
I have but not sure I will again.
The performance was not the problem
If I were an editor I would not call them scenes; this isn't a screenplay. But if I were going to edit this novel, I would take out most of the expository passages and ask the author to convert to dialogue and more important, STORY ... action and choices ... and ask that the stakes be raised, that a stronger sense of jeopardy be imposed onto the main characters.
The best Le Carre yet, revealing the impenetrable moral equivocations of the corporate ascendancy in politics and war. The author reads with such simplicity and depth.
In a beautifully narrated presentation, Atkinson's novel unfolds to us, layer upon layer, a story of great depth and character. A thriller, a saga, a deep well of richness in which to immerse yourself.
The narrator does not help the overly complicated and yet simple-minded plotting of this overblown thriller.
This one is a little more fantastical and less character driven than other of Goddard's intricate plotted stories. But Michael Kitchen's narration always elevates any material and so it was a very enjoyable journey.
Why oh why did the publishers move away from Gerard Doyle as a narrator for Stuart Neville's books? I actually returned this one because I couldn't bear to hear Alan Smyth read one more word of Stuart Neville's fine writing. Forced character voices and a wretched habit of hitting sentences with false emphases and exaggerated emoting which made it sound like it was being read by an adolescent. Narrators like Gerard Doyle, Michael Kitchen and Anton Lesser elevate and enhance the experience without distorting the tone of a novel. I wish publishers (or whoever chooses the narrators) would take more care.
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