This story jumped to the top of a long list of enjoyable listens. Gorgeous language, wonderful narration, and a captivating character in Alessandro. It is long, but enjoyable all the way through. It was a great companion at the gym and on walks, where there were no distractions, but the language and descriptions are just too lovely to split your attention with anything. Buy it and listen...
What a story! John Irving weaves this tale of ordinary New England boys into a tight, powerful, and completely enjoyable story. If you've started it and not finished it because of the length, do yourself a favor - the last ninety minutes resolve the story in such an 'elegant' manner that I had to stop what I was doing and just sit and listen.
For those thin-skinned people who can't stand political or social commentary, you should try to get over that long enough to give the story a listen. Irving lets loose on everybody here - no viewpoint is left unscathed, but that's part of the story as well and should be taken in context.
Finally, the narration was as good as any that I've heard, and in light of the real challenge of this book, Joe Barrett did a superlative job.
You know how a great joke loses its punch after the fifth or sixth telling? Dan Brown has told this joke twice before, substituting names and places. He's a good storyteller, and his publisher has trained him well... at this point they could have a ghost crew writing these for him and publishing a new one every month. It was entertaining and well narrated, but probably the last Dan Brown book for me.
I have to admit I haven't yet listened very far into this - I've started it several times, and each time stop, thinking I must have loaded the second part. When I check, it is the first and only part. Apparently there is another book that precedes this that is required reading for continuity sake. The format and style are engaging, but reads like starting a book at chapter 4.
Dick Hill did a great job with the characters, including HAL, and the "preface" interview with Arthur C. Clarke was very interesting and shed light on the movie as well. I haven't watched the movie in years, and I have to admit that listening to this didn't bring back memories of the movie at all, which I think is a credit to the book. This is a great, introspective, and thoughtful journey through space and time, both in the story, and in the context (a lot has changed since this book was written). Enjoy!
This was a great road-trip book for us. Rich Story, interesting characters. It dragged a little in the middle while he explored his ideas about the future of civilization. They were interesting and definitely a possible real outcome, but not necessarily critical to the story. We definitely would recommend it to anyone who is open-minded and not easily offended.
Most history listens tend to be pretty dry - not this one. There is a huge cast of characters to follow, but it is well worth the effort. I find myself making up chores that need doing so that I can listen. I do on occasion rewind and relisten to sections to straighten out the details. This is probably my favorite audiobook to date.
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