If you're interested in WW II this is a great book to add to your reading list. Since it only deals with 1945 it helps the reader understand the results, compromises, and fallout from the Allied win. One can see the makings of world events that came as a result of decisions made at the end of the war. Narration is excellent.
Because I lived in Isfahan, Iran for 3 years right up to the Iranian revolution and the ouster of the shah, I was especially intrigued by this book. We've all seen and heard of the changes in Iran since the revolution, from the taking of the embassy hostages and on through the recent presidential election and likely assumed that many of the things that go on in the West, both good and bad, don't happen in a regime that touts itself of being Islamic. This book tells us that all of it does go on, both good and bad, with the added element of government repression. Thank you, Ms. Navai, for giving us an insider's view of life in Teheran.
This was a bit disappointing. I have read many of his books and I'm eagerly awaiting the 3rd in his trilogy. However, this one seemed to lack the usual Follett excitement. The story was rather contrived though it could have been very interesting, given the setting of 1939 just as WWII began. I felt like it was more a vehicle to describe Pan American's trans-Atlantic plane and capabilities than to tell a real story of people's lives. Also, the sex scenes seemed ill-placed and not at all important to the story but rather a way to try to keep reader interest. For me, those scenes just made me say, OK, get on with the story.
I had no idea that Sara and Angelina Grimke were real people who were famous as early feminists and anti-slavery activists. Besides a fascinating story, the two narrators (one for Sara and one for Handful) really made this come alive for me. While Kidd couldn't know exactly what Handful's life was like, she did an excellent job of imagining it based on what was known about slave life.
I can understand why the author would want to narrate his own story. However, he isn't a good reader and that took something away from the story. He sounded like the inexperienced singer who breathes at all the wrong places. Still, it was a good story about an amazing will to survive.
Thank goodness there were those aware enough to plan ahead to save art treasures though they still started late in the war. What a fascinating story about devoted men and women who worked to save art and archives. The Nazis were relentless in their zeal to plunder. What could they possibly have wanted with things like insects collections???? It was sad to realize that since WWII there have been no monuments personnel in any war and the treasures of Iraq were decimated as a result.
Okay, I know...comparisons to Dickens and several of his characters. The book has heft and it took Tartt years to write it. I was more than halfway through and then read more reviews and learned that I was waiting in vain for something to happen. Perhaps there was redemption at the end but I will never know. This story didn't move along and I'm not that interested in the camaraderie between 2 adolescent boys whose parents are, at best, inattentive and, at worst, abusive. The author is like a person who likes to hear herself talk (in print). How many repetitions do we need to get the picture, as in how Hobart's furniture workshop was arranged. I'm exhausted!
Animal lovers, don't miss this. For that matter, no one should miss this. It is a stunning story of saving elephants. I learned so much about them as sentient beings. Simon Vance is narrator and I tend to associate his voice with "Girl With Dragon Tattoo" trilogy so while he's excellent as always, it took some getting used to hearing him narrating this story.
If you like this genre and period, this novel is a pleasurable listen. It's a wonderful picture of "downstairs" life at that time. I especially enjoyed the narrator.
This is awful. I can't finish it because the narration is so bad. He can't even be bothered to learn the Spanish pronunciation of Colombian places. When the city of Cali changes from CAH-lee to Cah-LEE you know what follows isn't going to be good. No doubt the author is going to lose readers because of the poor narration. Sorry about that Mr. Garcia.
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