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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
A man less earnest. His attempts at colouring the reading only served to highlight just how bleak and empty the prose is.
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.
"Life After Life" often meandered near the same cliff edge that this novel plunged over from the start.
Perhaps listeners who find predictable, incredibly slow moving spy tales that have no complexity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Certainly. The absence of graphic, brutal violence against women was refreshing. Respect for the reader's intelligence and imagination was evident and much appreciated.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The scholarly and earnest individual as represented by Hitchens himself is our excellent guide.
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.
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.
Very highly indeed for selfish, sentimental and not intellectual reasons.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Not a pilgrimage to points of Proustian artistic interest.
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."
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.
No. I foolishly bought two at once and now regret this.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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