Alfred Molina reading Larry McMurtry is a combination that can't be beat. McMurtry's rich and idiosyncratic characters, compelling plots, and hilarious narrative deserve a lot more attention than they seem to get. He has a minutely-detailed knowledge of the history of the American West. Perhaps he draws on diaries and other first-person documents; reading him makes you think, "How could he think this stuff up? It must have really happened." I'm an older person who grew up in California, but it seems I never understood the West until I encountered Larry McMurtry. Lonesome Dove made me think I could even understand Texas! But I digress. The Berrybender Narratives are a not-to-be-missed treat. It's best to approach them in order, and Sin Killer is the first of four.
I listened to this book on vacation…a good choice, because I kept devising opportunities to keep on listening….the audio equivalent of a page-turner. Perhaps you're thinking you might not want to spend 10 hours listening to a main character whose mind is slipping way (with early-onset Alzheimers)……but you'd be wrong, quite wrong! The unfolding family drama is riveting, and the perspective quite fascinating and well-executed. The narrator has a great text to work with, and she doesn't detract from it in any way. I really didn't think about the narrator much while I was listening; I just always wanted to hear more. Don't you think that indicates good narration?
I once bought a book (it was Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry and narrated by Alfred Molina) because a reviewer wrote, if you've never read Lonesome Dove, you're lucky, because now you have that experience ahead of you. I want to say the same about Turn of Mind. I wish I could go back and listen from the beginning, without knowing what is going to happen.
This would be a good choice for a book club, because it raises so many issues to mull over….. the effect of parents' life-choices in shaping the direction of their children's lives, the nature of friendship, the toxic effects of envy, the risks of trying to control the moral choices of others. It's a thoughtful and perceptive book, which also has a great plot.
A moving story, it gives you so much insight into the history of the US West. It made me feel like I even started to understand Texas. I didn't want it to end.
Political intrigue in London during World War II provides the setting. The writing is clunky, with two-dimensional characters and stilted dialogue, but the interesting plot kept me listening. Churchill's staff struggles with Hitler's bombing and the IRA at the same time.
A humorous, light-weight spoof of British social customs and class distinctions. The narration is excellent and adds value.
This classic work of French literature is 65% exciting and fascinating story, 15% interesting glimpse of a long-gone era, and 20% the over-wrought, melodramatic, purple-prose romanticism that was in vogue in mid-19th century Europe. To a modern reader, that aspect will seem tiresome and a bit ridiculous. Nevertheless, I listened to all 50-some hours of the Count of Monte Cristo with interest and pleasure, due to the excellent narration of Bill Homewood. Through dozens of characters, whether French, Italian, pseudo-Greek, English.... I never tired of his voice, which brought to life the drama,the excitement, and the sinister and majestic fate of the tale. Now I have to go see what else he has narrated.
Larry McMurtry's books, as narrated by Alfred Molina, are a wonderful pleasure, and give a beautiful, fascinating, and informative view of the history of the American West. Lonesome Dove set a high standard, and the Berrybender Narratives measure up well. I didn't mean to start with the 2nd in the series of 4, and am now going back to get the first one. The characters are idiosyncratic and well-developed, the story is mesmerizing, and the narration is super. I'd like to know more about how McMurtry researched his novels. It seems he must have studied lots of primary sources, like pioneer diaries. How could you make this stuff up!
I have a special (and personal) interest in France during World War II, and also in art and art theft, so I was very engaged with this book. Its weak feature is the fictionalization aspect. The characters are based on real people, and I wondered if it wouldn't have worked better as straight non-fiction. The author did a great deal of pains-staking research, and that pays off in telling the story; actually, that makes the book worthwhile. But the fictional characters and their individual story didn't quite come alive for me. I did listen through to the end, (and felt a little confused about a plot point at the end) but I probably wouldn't give 4 stars if it weren't for my special interest in the book's historical basis.
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