This book is a beautiful example of how anger and bitterness can be transformed into a gentle, often funny, but no less critical look at the insane historical fact of the Vietnam war. The characters, their relationships, their surprising depth -- all are rendered with a quiet push at our assumptions and a not-so-quiet poke at the ridiculous way the military approached this situation. Bravo.
The main characters are beyond irritating, which I suppose they were meant to be. I did not want to hear one more thing about either of them. The story had interesting twists and turns, but nothing could make me like anything about it.
The performance successfully portrayed the insipid annoying characters.
I can only rarely listen to James Lee Burke, due to the darkness and violence he portrays, but the writing is so rich, and the narrator so well-paced, that his books captivate in spite of the parts I find hard to endure. This is certainly one of the best.
I am not sure how anyone can find Barbara Rosenblat's narration to be a problem -- I always enjoy her, even through the short moments of over-enthusiasm. She has the characters, the accents, the voices and unless the audio set up favours too much the high end and it's coming through earphones rather than speakers, I cannot see how anyone would be bothered by extraneous noise.
Linda Fairstein delivers a great story, lots of learning about New York, antique books and maps, and fabulous characters, as usual.
This was a great listen, even though I frequently found myself groaning "oh no" when one more thing went wrong. The situations and characters were so well drawn, and the beauty shone through constantly in spite of the difficult situations. The narration is excellent, and the whole book very satisfying. Worth listening through the rough moments!
While the story and observations were often fascinating, the narrator was often annoying. Her cloying, whiny tone on some of the voices was just too much to take sometimes. Other voices she handled better, and the story was able to carry things through, but overall it was something I would have preferred to read rather than listen to.
A wonderful listen - the narrator is flawless, making each character distinct and brilliantly conveying character. The story is compelling and filled with obscure London lore but never dull. I was a little worried at the beginning, which was not indicative of what develops right away, but sticking with it is well worth your while.
I have liked Burke's dark books in the past, but this one goes too far into the minds of the testosterone-driven, sick minds of very damaged men, and I am not enjoying it. I doubt I will listen to the rest of this book.
I cannot forget this book, and its brilliant narration. It's amazing -- and the descriptions that some reviews have complained about are so touching that the slow pace becomes one of the most wonderful things about the book. Better timing in general would be very hard to find.
Usually I prefer books by ear than by eye, but this one is one of the exceptions. The narration is banal, the story slow to develop. I like Mankell, and the book, but the audio format does not work on this one.
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