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Mrs

Earnest.

ratings
18
REVIEWS
18
FOLLOWING
0
FOLLOWERS
1
HELPFUL VOTES
14

  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Rachel Joyce
    • Narrated By Jim Broadbent
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (225)
    Performance
    (201)
    Story
    (198)

    When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof, or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking - to save someone else's life.

    Carol says: "What a wonderful story!"
    "Hard to find a redeeming facet"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you try another book from Rachel Joyce and/or Jim Broadbent?

    No. Although one may read to help understand the human condition it is not mandatory that a tale be uncritically accepted as useful. The author's own plodding style,rather like the Harold of the title, is bereft of any grace or finesse. What a tedious, unconvincing and uninteresting account leavened by so few good points as to be amongst my worst listens ever.
    The plot is so tired..it has been used so many times before with far more panache.
    Bland stereotypes litter this book.
    The characters don't even " sit up from the page," let alone "stand."
    Leave them to die in peace!


    What could Rachel Joyce have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    For a start she could have interested the listener in the predicament of the main characters. So little succeeds in her writing to excite the imagination. Shudder. I am very glad this is over.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Jim Broadbent's work was what attracted me to the title but I now have such a different opinion. He appears to be not comfortable with this role where he needs to be bringing something of himself to the part, without directorial assistance. His own bland, whining voice in this context may have seemed appropriate. In fact it doubles the negative impact the listener gets and at no point can one get an ounce of hope from this ghastly tale.


    Any additional comments?

    The only thing listeners can keep doing is providing cogent reactions to titles so prospective readers can get near to a realistic insight into what a book may offer.
    Rewriting the plot is not helpful thank you.
    Please be frank and honest about the pace, use of language and characterisation so others have hope of gauging the suitability of the title before purchase.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Started Early, Took My Dog

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Kate Atkinson
    • Narrated By Nicholas Bell
    Overall
    (6)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    A day like any other for security chief Tracy Waterhouse, until she makes a purchase she hadn’t bargained for. One moment of madness is all it takes for Tracy’s humdrum world to be turned upside down, the tedium of everyday life replaced by fear and danger at every turn. Witnesses to Tracy’s Faustian exchange in the Merrion Centre in Leeds are Tilly, an elderly actress teetering on the brink of her own disaster, and Jackson Brodie who has returned to his home county in search of someone else’s roots.

    S. R. Gibb says: "Kind of petered out"
    "Possibly the worst listen ever for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Started Early, Took My Dog?

    Having been tempted by the foreknowledge that the Brodie novels had been the basis for a reasonable TV series, I felt it was safe to try this novel. Not so! No wonder they were unable or unwilling to make this novel the next contender. It is tedious to the extreme with such a mess of story lines as to be incomprehensible and part way through one is left utterly not caring. When I glanced up and saw there was still 7 hours to go, I gave up. The relief was immediate. What a jumbled, grey, damp morass of non events. I shudder to think of the time wasted.


    What was most disappointing about Kate Atkinson’s story?

    Why jumble together a book about, " my rambles through the Abbeys of England" with, " my terrible divorce and the sordid aftermath" and " child abduction without preamble" and " ugly musings by an old man" in what might have been a detective novel?


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Nicholas Bell?

    A man less earnest. His attempts at colouring the reading only served to highlight just how bleak and empty the prose is.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Started Early, Took My Dog?

    Any scene with the ludicrous VoiceOver of "Julia" irritating any sense of a story moving forward, all the contrived scenes of drunken divorced middle age man, all the unrealistic imaginings of how a scene might play out in the memory of an unreliable narrator..the list is endless.


    Any additional comments?

    "Life After Life" often meandered near the same cliff edge that this novel plunged over from the start.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Reconstruction

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Mick Herron
    • Narrated By Anna Bentinck
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8)
    Performance
    (4)
    Story
    (4)

    When a man with a gun breaks into her school, nursery teacher Louise Kennedy knows there's not likely to be a happy ending...But Jaime isn't there on a homicidal whim, and he's as scared as the hostages he's taken.

    Leila says: "Tricky story, satisfyingly surprising"
    "Avoid this if you like subtlety and pace."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Perhaps listeners who find predictable, incredibly slow moving spy tales that have no complexity.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Mick Herron again?

    I know I will try his later sequel to Slow Horses.it is a relief to know an author can find his stride and write a better book, later. Nonetheless, don't listen to these in the hope of finding originality. The plots are well suited to very ordinary TV scripts.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The Actor is definitely not one I admire from past association. But in this instance the performance is damaging to any suspension of disbelief available to the listener. The fact that Louise behaves in the way she does is in no way reflected by the actor. The foreign accent of another actor is so jarring and unbelievable it makes for irritated listening.


    Any additional comments?

    Listeners to Audible may share the experience of trying to stay with a title long after they should have abandoned their purchase in the hope things might get better. This is my first one and I regret the time lost.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Slow Horses

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Mick Herron
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    Overall
    (144)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (77)

    Slough House is Jackson Lamb’s kingdom; a dumping ground for members of the intelligence service who’ve screwed up: left a secret file on a train, blown surveillance, or become drunkenly unreliable. They’re the service’s poor relations – the slow horses – and bitterest among them is River Cartwright, whose days are spent transcribing mobile phone conversations.

    Joanne says: "Patience pays off..."
    "Intelligent, plausible and restrained."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What did you love best about Slow Horses?

    Perhaps it is the combination of an interesting plot development without " boy's own" shenanigans. Just as there is an audience for the representations of mega brutality and endless car chase-like scenes, there is also an audience for intelligent, persuasive story with talented, well written character development. This novel excels in the latter category. There is no sidestepping of a truth..it is quietly alluded to and left to a listener's intelligence.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The lack of over explanation and mindless minutiae. Instead of limiting the listener's imagination, the writer encourages the listener to imagine their own version. This very clever enabling works magnificently to draw a person into the story's machinery.


    What about Sean Barrett’s performance did you like?

    Ah Sean. One never tires of listening to his vocal range and restrained but emotive characterisations. But why didn't you try " doing" Joanna Lumley's voice Mr Barrett? I know. Because this actor is an exemplar when it comes to doing justice to any audiobook.


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

    Have to admit I was hooked in when the rag tag collection of " losers" galvanise themselves into action. It is a well known device, I know, but somehow it felt better written than many others we have seen or read.even if an IT " geek" is once again the background star of the event. Here is an idea for a novel. A handsome, urbane, well dressed IT specialist, with loads of real friends, teaches everyone in the office how to hack into...whatever...and goes home to an amazing life leaving the others to tap away on their computers and save the situation. Never seen that character.


    Any additional comments?

    Perhaps this story has been told before. Misfits making good is not an original idea. Nor is the idea that " those higher up" made it there through no skill of their own and on the shoulders of others. What makes this novel for me is the clean, concise writing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Tenderness of Wolves

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Stef Penney
    • Narrated By Sally Armstrong, Adam Sims
    Overall
    (17)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    As winter tightens its grip on the isolated settlement of Canada’s Dove River in 1867, a man is brutally murdered and a 17-year-old boy disappears. Tracks leaving the dead man’s cabin head north toward the forest and the tundra beyond. In the wake of such violence, people are drawn to the township — but do they want to solve the crime or exploit it? One by one, the assembled searchers set out to pursue the tracks across a desolate landscape, home only to wild animals, madmen and fugitives.

    Mrs says: "A pleasing, good old fashioned, low key story."
    "A pleasing, good old fashioned, low key story."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Certainly. The absence of graphic, brutal violence against women was refreshing. Respect for the reader's intelligence and imagination was evident and much appreciated.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Although this listen does not compare with the more complex novels I prefer, it was a welcome relief. The lyrical descriptions of every kind of snowy landscape were delightful and although there were no plot convolutions, the development of the tale was well paced and satisfying.


    Have you listened to any of Sally Armstrong and Adam Sims ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No. Ms Armstrong's evocation of a Scottish accent seemed fine enough and it no doubt helped develop a greater sense of authenticity. Mr Sims seemed quite able to simulate a burgeoning Canadian- like accent and there was no heavy handed attempts, thankfully, to replicate Native Indian accents.


    If you could take any character from The Tenderness of Wolves out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Guess it would be Mrs Ross. How on earth did she find all that strength and endurance even if she was a farmer's wife? Hope she never returned and stayed in Dove River.


    Any additional comments?

    Choose this on a hot series of days for an untroubled need to pass time. This is not to diminish the skill of the Author because it is well written. There are just none of the usual overwrought plot lines and ghastly details. Lovely.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Christopher Hitchens
    • Narrated By Christopher Hitchens
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2761)
    Performance
    (1498)
    Story
    (1491)

    In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris' recent best-seller, The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos.

    ben capozzi says: "...Though Hitchens Is!"
    "Erudite yet accessible. Overwhelmingly human."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Would you consider the audio edition of God Is Not Great to be better than the print version?

    Hitchen's quiet yet authoritative delivery of his own work adds to the pathos of what he has written. Although I had to replay some segments to ensure that I heard 100% of what he said, I appreciated his understated style.


    What other book might you compare God Is Not Great to and why?

    Hitchens provides the titles himself in the amazing breadth of texts to which he refers. Hume, Einstein, Jefferson, Socrates..the philosophers, the self proclaimed religious, modern proclaimers of government from Apartheid supporters to Martin Luther King..the wealth of texts to which we may turn to follow up our own research ( if we have not already made it our quest to read them) are readily provided.


    Which character – as performed by Christopher Hitchens – was your favorite?

    The scholarly and earnest individual as represented by Hitchens himself is our excellent guide.


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

    No, this was not possible. If the listener hopes to assimilate the material amassed by the author, it might be best to put some time aside for reflection during the presentation.


    Any additional comments?

    So much of the material in this book is so prescient and current..the news today is full of relevant events which support Hitchen's treatise that it is incumbent on those who choose to think to read and reread this approach to religiosity. No doubt the freedom to do this thinking is a gift won only comparatively recently by some but not all and it is clear that the author died still importantly working towards guiding those who prefer to be non partisan and prefer to be honest in their thinking. This book is not for those who find faith in religion unless they are free in themselves to be challenged.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Poirot and Me

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 2 mins)
    • By David Suchet
    • Narrated By David Suchet
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (11)

    Actor David Suchet recalls his experience of playing Agatha Christie's world-famous detective, Hercule Poirot, for almost a quarter of a century. In the summer of 2013 David Suchet filmed his final scenes as Hercule Poirot. After 24 years in the role, he will have played the character in every story that Agatha Christie wrote about him (bar one, deemed unfilmable) and he will bid adieu to a role and a character that have changed his life.

    Mrs says: "Sentimental Favourite"
    "Sentimental Favourite"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Poirot and Me rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very highly indeed for selfish, sentimental and not intellectual reasons.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Poirot and Me?

    As for most devotees of this specific journey by the character Poirot and actor David Suchet, the several farewells "they" must make as they "die" and leave the film set.


    Which character – as performed by David Suchet – was your favorite?

    Perhaps it was the David Suchet/Poirot incarnation who visits the elderly folk in the Nursing Home, in costume and character whilst on set, filming the series.Or perhaps when he comes across people in Hastings in real life and later whilst filming who either are confused at seeing "him" on their street and declare that they never understand a word "he" said during the 13 series.


    Any additional comments?

    No doubt there exists at least one Masters or Doctoral Thesis on the research available on the impact television series have on their audience or the actors who portray the characters in them. The psychological ramifications are alluded to when media analysts protest that the depiction of violence is reflected in the behaviour of the viewer. This novel hints at the impact that television does in fact have on vast numbers of people in the world. In fact I viewed a very moving documentary about a victim of the terrible events in New York who alluded to the calm she felt watching the eponymous series on television on a regular basis. This novel similarly can calm and reassure whilst listening to a pleasant, human journey many can sympathise with.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • How Proust Can Change Your Life

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 6 mins)
    • By Alain de Botton
    • Narrated By Nicholas Bell
    Overall
    (65)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (57)

    For anyone who ever wondered what Marcel Proust had in mind when he wrote the one-and-a-quarter-million words of In Search of Lost Time (while bedridden no less), Alain de Botton has the answer. For, in this stylish, erudite and frequently hilarious book, de Botton dips deeply into Proust’s life and work - his fiction, letter, and conversations – and distils from them that rare self-help manual: one that is actually helpful.

    Darwin8u says: "A nice petite primer on Proust"
    "Gentle, inciting and above all, human."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to How Proust Can Change Your Life the most enjoyable?

    Being aware of de Botton's accessible, yet insightful previous work, helped me enjoy his specific overview of a lengthy series of books I know I will never read or listen to. Knowing that this slim novel is as close as I will ever get to knowing a fraction of what Proust tried to incite his readers to think AFTER they put his books down helped me cope with my awe and wonder. Mostly I loved chuckling along with the whimsical self doubts revealed by the diverse reactions to Proust's monumental achievements by people involved with Monty Python, Virginia Woolf and of course the author himself. Being a fan already of the previous incitements to think further than the parameters of the aforementioned, I could trust this mini guide.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Although this is not quite appropriate for this book, being a Proustian Primer, it helps me to mention the author himself as a "character." His " presence" as he drives through the French countryside near Chartres on the way to find the fabled Proustian Madeleine, I was reminded of we the countless tourists who have travelled the globe, retracing/ revisiting/paying homage to Art and places which have figured previously only as figments of someone else's imagination. Proust himself would have approved, I think, because we are prompted to avoid "artistic idolatry" and relish the every day items we encounter, in the Proustian spirit.


    What three words best describe Nicholas Bell’s voice?

    Disappointing French accent. I am sorry. Previous reviewers have remarked on the gross mis pronunciation of the names, places, events which form the important foundations of this book. They were correct of course. What a mistake to make by the production company. Although the gentleman's voice itself is pleasant enough, the awful accent jars in nearly every line.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Not a pilgrimage to points of Proustian artistic interest.


    Any additional comments?

    How life affirming a gentle book can be. There is no " self help" tone to this book for which some of us are really grateful. Nonetheless, the wisdom of others can be mulled over with no entreaties that this, or any other knowledge is " the key."

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Temporary Perfections: Guido Guerrieri Series, Book 4

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Gianrico Carofiglio
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (115)
    Performance
    (103)
    Story
    (103)

    Manuela, the daughter of a wealthy couple from Bari, disappeared without trace months before and the police have closed their investigation, to the parents' despair. Counsellor Guerrieri reluctantly takes on an unusual assignment: to seek new evidence to force the police to reopen the case. A job more suitable to a private detective but a job that leads him to Nadia, a former client, a fascinating woman with an ambiguous past and to the tempting Caterina, Manuela's best friend, exquisitely too young for the jaded Guerrieri...

    J says: "Carofiglio & Barrett do it again!"
    "Plodding and more plodding with added self doubt."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What disappointed you about Temporary Perfections: Guido Guerrieri Series, Book 4?

    Here is an intelligent, sensitive person who could have cast such well informed light on a legal system not unlike most others. But instead we are dragged, slowly, through what is a tragic incident in the most banal, tortuous side stepping style. In an almost embarrassing series of terribly obvious not back stories, the minuscule, ultra thin story is conflated until the reader just begs for the main story to end.
    The seriously morose and incredible not investigator investigates his way, dumbly, through colourful landscapes. His behaviour including his memories and conversations have by this stage become soul destroyingingly repetitive and predictable.
    The character keeps insisting he doesn't like being a lawyer and has little idea why he is still one and one intuit so that he doesn't much like being a writer either so it is not surprising to learn that the author has now in fact tried out being a politician.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Gianrico Carofiglio again?

    No. I foolishly bought two at once and now regret this.


    What about Sean Barrett’s performance did you like?

    The listener can almost see Sean Barrett steel himself for another hour of reading this lightweight example of a story in the soundproof booth. He deals evenhandedly with all characterisations without resorting to excess..not that any latitude has been granted in the writing. To think of the virtuoso performances this actor is capable of and the range of his abilities being so underused is quite mortifying.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Temporary Perfections: Guido Guerrieri Series, Book 4?

    The basic problem is that the author's editor should have recommended that the novelist work harder on his main story thread. Although procedural issues are of interest, there is little of substance to help make the resolution at all satisfying. The author hits his mark most when he gets close to scenes of relationship developments..but then he pulls away so no specific target is achieved. Perhaps this genre is not in fact for him even though his real life credentials are clearly excellent.


    Any additional comments?

    It is laudable that attempts continue to be made in translating foreign author's works. Diversity of sources is highly sought after by many listeners. Please cast the net wider and more attune to wider world opinion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cockroaches

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbo
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    Overall
    (62)
    Performance
    (57)
    Story
    (56)

    Harry is on a special mission. Detective Harry Hole arrives in a steaming hot Bangkok. The Norwegian ambassador has been found dead in a seedy motel room, and Harry has been sent to investigate. It’s clear that the Ambassador’s family are hiding some secrets of their own, but few people are willing to talk.He needs to solve a crime and avoid a scandal. When Harry lays hands on some incriminating CCTV footage, things only get more complicated.

    Ian C Robertson says: "Retrospective"
    "Disloyalty feels uncomfortable"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Perhaps it is unwise to publish books out of the order in which they were written..but that is exactly what I would have changed. I have read that this was not a choice made by the author of course. Even if this novel was extensively reworked and/or re-translated, it remains a far lesser work than the subsequent novels by Nesbo.
    How heartening to know that his writing could and did improve.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Very very tough to say. I have downloaded two more novels and been repelled by the narrator of one and the unmitigated morose content of the other.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My time was spent selecting the films from which so many of the scenes appeared to have been borrowed. The "climactic" almost last scene was utterly redolent of the film " Bladerunner" which accomplished the mood and emotion a tonne better. Sorry. It seems disloyal to say this about an author who did better, later.


    Do you think Cockroaches needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Please. No. This is a squalid little story with such cardboard cut out figures populating a steamed up cellophane background..except the huge potential Nesbo discovered in the self destructive Harry Høle. Thankfully Harry was salvaged along with a couple of the more substantial, embryonic characters.


    Any additional comments?

    For anyone interested in learning a lot about how to make huge improvements in plotting narratives and character development, you would need to look no further than this series of novels. The author's upward trajectory from the insipid, silly " The Bat" through to the more mature novels in this repertoire is hugely interesting. It seems a rare experience to be able to witness such improvement in this genre. Most of the other proponents I am aware of hit a mark first up and then churn out more of the same.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Reasonable Doubts: Guido Guerrieri Series, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Gianrico Carofiglio, Howard Curtis (translator)
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (133)
    Performance
    (118)
    Story
    (116)

    Guerrieri is asked to handle the appeal of Fabio Paolicelli, sentenced to 16 years for smuggling drugs. Paolicelli intially confessed to the crime, and everything seems stacked against the appeal. Guerrieri's reluctance to take on the case is intensified by the fact that he knows Paolicelli, and it is only the intervention of Paolicelli's beautiful wife, Natsu, that finally overcomes Guerrieri's reluctance.

    Cherie says: "A Convincing Voice in Criminal Procedural Fiction"
    "A slow burner for a slow, introspective day"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Where does Reasonable Doubts rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is a tough one to answer because the style of this book is so restrained and understated so comparison is difficult. It is almost unique in my experience because it is very slow and measured and very little really happens. At first it was difficult to even pay attention except that Sean Barrett's voice always encourages me to keep going. Gradually the listener notices that behind the careful sentences there is a pleasing intellect and that it is very pleasant indeed to focus on procedural matters rather than wearisome forensic accidents and less than convincing coincidences. The absence of violence is rather pleasant also.
    So my ranking would place this title up at the credit pass- but not brilliant.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    There is a very unusual part where the protagonists discuss the significant selection of a very specific colour name matched to three of their wishes. Of course the sub text is intimate in nature but it does reflect the successful efforts by the author to use the detective/lawyer genre within slightly wider parameters.
    Sadly this can also reflect that the novel is showing its age.


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

    It was a surprise to find a moment of separation between two characters by a moral decision, finally, to be so clearly but modestly evoked. So few modern stories choose to capture quiet but dramatic losses.


    Any additional comments?

    Here is a novel with an exotic location, Bari Italy, reflected in an intelligent little story. No wonder there are a solid group of supporters of this series. " But I didn't say so." The listeners to this book will understand what I mean.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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