This is a hoot. They don't write 'em like this anymore. Lucky at Cards is hard-boiled, suspenseful, and charmingly sleazy in a way that would be hard to duplicate today without descending into camp. The narrator evokes the mid-20th-century pulp ambiance quite well.
M. Thomas Gammarino here packs a wide-ranging meditation on life, death, and the end of world (or at least the end of the world as humanity knows it) into little more than a three-hour listen that seems to fly by in one. It's a feat immensely aided by the late Richard Allen, a melodious, basso profondo narrator who hits just the right notes of earnestness and wonder for this satirical story of a man who finds a small, inexplicable black hole under his sofa. It's a discovery that leads inexorably to a world-wide cataclysm for we humans, a tragic love story, and an evolutionary dawn for, of all things, jellyfish. Allen helps us to suspend disbelief, and in so doing, brings Gammarino's sci-fi musings down to earth.
I wouldn't call this great literature, but it is great entertainment. Neverwhere began as a British TV series -- the book is essentially a novelization -- and it does feel a little too episodic at times, with some characters not fully fleshed out (something the actors presumably did). Nevertheless, I was sucked into its world, much as the central character, Richard Mayhew, is hoovered into a fantastic underground (literally and figuratively) society. Credit that to Gaiman's gifts as both a writer and a narrator. He's that rare author who reads his own work quite well.
This is a lavish production that will bring Bradbury's pleasantly nostalgic (if occasionally too sentimental) mix of reminiscence and imagination to your mind's eye.
These are classic science-fiction tales from a more innocent time, when a sense of wonder was perhaps easier to feel. Yet there are thought-provoking ideas here (still), as well as psychological insight. Bradbury is something of a prose poet, as Hecht's narration makes clear.
This short Murakami novel, which emphasizes eerie atmosphere over plot and character, isn't as engaging as, say, Kafka on the Shore. Sleep is a major theme here, and I did find myself dozing off at times. Still, there are some evocative scenes, and the narration fits the mood. Murakami fans won't want to skip this, but those new to the Japanese postmodernist may want to start elsewhere.
This is a beautiful rendering of two dream-like stories (which are nevertheless full of realistic details) that converge in the end, though not in the way you may suspect. You never know what is going to happen next with Murakami, and this novel, long as it is, kept me captivated to the end. There are many astonishing scenes here, some quite funny (especially those involving one Colonel Sanders), and elements of murder mystery, science fiction, and fantasy. The narrators handle the multiple characters with skill, and manage to keep the surreal plot grounded.
This dream-like, suspenseful novel might make a terrific David Lynch movie. If that's the sort of tale that appeals to you, you'll like this combination of bizarre mystery and romantic quest. The author has wisely grounded the surreal doings in his intimate knowledge of Barcelona, a city that emerges as a character itself. Robertson Dean's narration nicely fits Lucas, the anti-hero at the center of this story, which perhaps owes something to the influence of Haruki Murakami.
I'm still not quite sure what to make of this novel, which I found irritating and yet oddly compelling. None of the characters, most of whom are "fakes" to one degree or another, is appealing, but their stories (and there are stories within stories within stories here) are intriguing. The literary mystery that drives the plot kept me listening to the end, despite some stomach-turning plot twists and the posh British narrator, whom I found both annoying and yet perfectly cast as the obsessive central character. It's that kind of book: not exactly likable, and yet engaging. Peter Carey, winner of two Booker prizes, is a terrific writer.
The collection was my introduction to Murakami, and it was a good one. It's difficult to describe the atmosphere of a typical Murakami narrative (whether a novel or a short story). The words "mysterious", "surreal", and "uncanny" come to mind. Not all of the stories here have a satisfying conclusion -- some leave you with that "wha...?" feeling -- but in an odd way that just makes them more memorable. Murakami is a jazz fan, and his writing has an improvisational quality; you're never sure where he's going with his plots. I get the impression that he doesn't quite know either. That his stories so often end up somewhere interesting anyway is a sign of his talent.
I thought the narration here suited the restrained emotional tone of these stories well.
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