Call anytime(888) 283-5051
 

You no longer follow Michael

You will no longer see updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can re-follow a user if you change your mind.

OK

You now follow Michael

You will receive updates from this user when they write new reviews, or suggestions based on their library or recommendations.

You can unfollow a user if you change your mind.

OK

Michael

Zurich, Switzerland | Member Since 2011

ratings
6
REVIEWS
6
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
11

  • A Visit from the Goon Squad

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Jennifer Egan
    • Narrated By Roxana Ortega
    Overall
    (29)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (27)

    Jennifer Egan brings her unique gifts as a novelist and short story writer to a compulsively readable narrative that centers on Bennie Salazar, an aging punk rocker and record executive, and the beautiful Sasha, the pasionate, troubled young woman he employs. Bennie and Sasha never discover each other's pasts, but the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other people whose paths intersect with theirs in the course of nearly 50 years.

    Virginia says: "Telling friends to visit Goon Squad"
    "A brilliant novel about the ravages of time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I do recommend this novel to everyone. As many critics have noted, Ms. Egan employs a host of dazzling literary techniques in 'A Visit from the Goon Squad'. She writes in third person in some chapters, first person in others and even second person (!) in one chapter. She also seems to adopt a different style and tone in each chapter. In the chapter about a failed art history professor searching for his runaway niece in Italy, Ms. Egan writes in the style of an ambitious art critic. In the chapter about a journalist's disasterous interview of a young actress, Ms. Egan parodies David Foster Wallace's writing style, but it also seemed to me that she was hinting at the tragic future for both her character and for Mr. Wallace. In the penultimate chapter, she has a twelve-year old girl write a PowerPoint Slide presentation. But as is always the case with Ms. Egan's bravura literary techniques, they serve the narrative. The most affecting aspect of that chapter (the girl's PowerPoint presentation) is the fact she 'got' her autistic older brother in a way that their father didn't.


    What other book might you compare A Visit from the Goon Squad to and why?

    There are similarities to both Don Delillo's great novel, 'Underworld' and to some of Thomas Pynchon's novels. Both 'Underworld' and 'A Visit from the Goon Squad' interweave the stories of many different characters non-chronologically over the course of decades. Of course, many writers do this, but I don't think that very many of them do it nearly as well as Don Delillo or Jennifer Egan.In terms of technique, Ms. Egan reminds me of Pynchon and other postmodern writers. That being said, no matter how experimental her techniques may seem at first, they are not in the least off-putting. Everyone can appreciate this novel.


    Have you listened to any of Roxana Ortega’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    As far as I know, this is the first novel read by Roxanna Ortega. Some ot the reviewers of the other Audible version of this novel have quibbled with Ms. Ortega's reading. I do not agree. Her voice is very easy to listen to and I like the fact that she gave each character his or her own voice.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There are many moving moments in this novel. The entire chapter 'Out of Body', written in the second person was very powerful. A college student who attempted suicide returns to college. Both he and his friends have trouble dealing with the fact that he tried to kill himself and it becomes obvious that he is not completely 'better'.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a novel about the unexpected trajectories of the lives of people. An autistic boy in the novel spends most of his time looking for the short 1 or 2 second pauses in popular songs. I am assuming that this is Ms. Egan's metaphor for the seeming 'pauses' in real life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Cormac McCarthy
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1170)
    Performance
    (640)
    Story
    (642)

    Author of the National Book Award-winning All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy is one of the most provocative American stylists to emerge in the last century. The striking novel Blood Meridian offers an unflinching narrative of the brutality that accompanied the push west on the 1850s Texas frontier.

    Chris says: "Bleak but Fascinating"
    "The Hobbesian natural condition of mankind"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    If you could sum up Blood Meridian in three words, what would they be?

    Brilliant, poetic, violent.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Blood Meridian?

    "The kid" and the expriest hide in the rocks, hoping to not be discovered by the monsterously brutal Judge Holden who has been trailing them. "The kid" has not one, but two opportunities to surprise and kill Judge Holden. It is the only point in the novel when I wanted a character to commit an act of violence. Despite the urgings of the expriest Tobin, "the kid'" passes on both opportunities. He lives to regret it.


    What does Richard Poe bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Richard Poe's narration is, as always, outstanding. I can imagine myself giving up on a challenging book like this without a great narrator to pull me along.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. As much as I admire Cormac McCarthy's brilliant, powerful and often lyrical prose, I needed occasional breaks from the unending depictions of violence and brutality.


    Any additional comments?

    I have ambivalent feelings about this novel. The writing itself is brilliant. For that alone, the book merits five stars. However, this is, after all, a fairly nasty story about a marauding band of white scalphunters killing and taking scalps throughout northern Mexico and the southwest United States circa 1849.

    I struggled at times to find a point to these depictions of violence, If the point is simply to deromantisize the Old West, it is, pardon me, overkill. However, I think that McCarthy may have had something bigger in mind, At one point in the novel, the despicable Judge Holden disapprovingly tells the other scalphunters the following: "Moral law is an invention of mankind for the disenfranchisement of the powerful in favor of the weak." I suppose that McCarthy's point is that without the rule of law, we would find ourselves in what Thomas Hobbes referred to as the 'natural condition of mankind' where it's every man for himself without regard to others. Maybe I need to reread Hobbes' Leviathon in order to better appreciate the themes of Blood Meridian.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Trial

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Franz Kafka
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    Overall
    (152)
    Performance
    (44)
    Story
    (45)

    If Max Brod had obeyed Franz Kafka's dying request, Kafka's unpublished manuscripts would have been burned, unread. Fortunately, Brod ignored his friend's wishes and published The Trial, which became the author's most famous work. Now Kafka's enigmatic novel regains its humor and stylistic elegance in a new translation based on the restored original manuscript.

    Snorre says: "Brilliant"
    "Excellent New Translation of a Classic Novel"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Trial the most enjoyable?

    One of the most enjoyable aspects of the novel is the humor that Kafka injected into the story. As an example, the protagonist, Joseph K. is advised to meet with the court painter, of all people, in order to get a detailed explanation of the secret workings of the lower court hearing his case. After the painter provides Joseph K. with a long, absurd and incomprehensible explanation of the court proceedings, he manages to browbeat K. into buying three of his paintings which are exactly the same. This is very funny section of the novel.


    What did you like best about this story?

    There is one absurd scene after another in this novel. They are often simultaneously hilarious and frightening. Not many writers can achieve that effect,


    What about George Guidall’s performance did you like?

    George Guidall manages to capture Joseph K's growing despair and resignation through his voice inflections.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    After spending months fighting against unspecified charges, convinced that he has done nothing wrong, an exhausted Joseph K. accepts his fate.


    Any additional comments?

    I like this relatively new (1998) translation by Breon Mitchell. I checked it againt the restored German text and it seems to be much more accurate than the earlier translation by Willa and Edwin Muir.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Underworld

    • UNABRIDGED (31 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Don DeLillo
    • Narrated By Richard Poe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (98)
    Story
    (97)

    Nick Shay and Klara Sax knew each other once, intimately, and they meet again in the American desert. He is trying to outdistance the crucial events of his early life, haunted by the hard logic of loss and by the echo of a gunshot in a basement room. She is an artist who has made a blood struggle for independence.

    Ruth Ann Orlansky says: "CYBEX burned into my eyes"
    "Great storytelling, fluid prose, snappy dialog"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. There are many different characters in this long novel and Delillo interweaves their stories brillianly. They keep popping up at unexpected and yet absolutely correct spots in the novel.

    I don't know of another writer who writes better dialog than Don Delillo.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Underworld?

    As another reviewer noted, the long opening set piece in the Polo Grounds during the final 1951 national league playoff game between the Giants and the Dodgers is truely great writing. Delillo's imagined banter among Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason and Toots Shor, who in reality did attend the playoff game together, is very, very funny.


    What does Richard Poe bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    There is a great deal of sparkling dialog in the novel and Richard Poe does an excellent job in giving each character his or her own voice. I especially enjoyed his rendering of Marv Lundy, the retired sports memorabilia collector. Almost everying that Marv says sounds off the wall, yet hilarious. You don't get the full effect without Richard Poe's voice inflections.


    If you could rename Underworld, what would you call it?

    I wouldn't rename it. I like Delillo's metaphor. No matter how deeply you bury nuclear or other toxic waste, eventually some of it is bound to rise to the surface. So too, no matter how far under the surface emotional pain and trauma is buried, it still has a great deal to do with what we do and who we are.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a great novel with snappy, yet absolutely authentic-sounding dialog.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Sheltering Sky

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Paul Bowles
    • Narrated By Jennifer Connelly
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (209)
    Performance
    (188)
    Story
    (191)

    The Sheltering Sky is a landmark of 20th-century literature, a novel of existential despair that examines the limits of humanity when it touches the unfathomable emptiness of the desert. Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind, Requiem for a Dream) gives masterful voice to this American classic.

    Melinda says: "A Teacup Full of Sand on the Highest Dune"
    "Great existentialist novel brilliantly read"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I do strongly recommend this novel to everyone. This is one of the best novels that I have ever read and Jennifer Connelly's reading is the single best reading of a novel that I have ever heard.

    This is the story of an American couple, Port and Kit, travelling through Morocco in the late 1940's. Although they deeply love one another, they have grown apart and traveling from one small town in the Sahara to another only brings their despair and alienation into sharper relief. The dialog has the ring of authenticity, as do the characters' inner monologues. Bowles was a great storyteller and his descriptions of the desert are mesmerizing.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Sheltering Sky?

    One of the most powerful scenes in the novel occurs in a small hospital where Port lies, suffering from typhus. Despite his own deep sense of alienation from the world, one thing is clear to him: his love for Kit. But by then, he's too weak from the disease to get the words out and tell her everything that's on his mind.


    What does Jennifer Connelly bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I read this novel years ago and I loved it, but Jennifer Connelly's reading of it has led me to appreciate it even more. I almost hesitate to call it a 'reading'. It's better described as a performance and a great one at that. Her decison to give each character in the novel his or her own distinctive voice was a bold one and it paid off. Her readings of the narrative passages are just as hypnotic and brilliant as Bowles' writing itself.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Kit's mental breakdown in the desert after she loses Port is especially moving. There's no one to help her.


    Any additional comments?

    Listening to this reading has inspired me to read Bowles' other novels and to re-watch some of Ms. Connelly's excellent acting performances in films.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • What the Nose Knows: The Science of Scent in Everyday Life

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Avery Gilbert
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (17)
    Story
    (18)

    Everything about the sense of smell fascinates us, from its power to evoke memories to its ability to change our moods and influence our behavior. From brain-imaging laboratories to the high-stakes world of scent marketing, What the Nose Knows takes us on a tour of the strange and surprising realm of smell.

    Catherine says: "First half is good, second half is terrible."
    "Excellent when he sticks to the science"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you listen to What the Nose Knows again? Why?

    No. The information is interesting, but there is no point in hearing it a second time.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    The second half of the book veers off course. He has a long, boring chapter on movie mogul Mike Todd's attempt to implement smellovision. For someone who is interested in odors and our perception of odors, this chapter, which drones on for almost an hour, is worthless.


    What about Jeff Woodman’s performance did you like?

    His reading is clear, lively and easy to listen to,


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    The first half of the book is excellent. He writes about the science of odor perception in a manner that is easy for a lay person to understand.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.