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Peregrine

If it weren't for Audible I'd never get any reading done.

Los Angeles, CA, United States | Member Since 2006

297
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 47 reviews
  • 210 ratings
  • 478 titles in library
  • 23 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
4
FOLLOWERS
21

  • JR

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By William Gaddis
    • Narrated By Nick Sullivan
    Overall
    (64)
    Performance
    (47)
    Story
    (47)

    Absurdly logical, mercilessly real, gathering it's own tumultuous momentum for the ultimate brush with commodity training, JR captures the listener in the cacophony of voices that revolves around this young captive of his own myths. The disturbing clarity with which this finished writer captures the ways in which we deal, dissemble, and stumble through our words - through our lives - while the real plans are being made elsewhere makes JR the extraordinary novel that it is.

    Peregrine says: "Possibly superior as an audio book"
    "Possibly superior as an audio book"
    Overall

    This is a sprawling, weird novel consisting almost entirely of dialogue. I usually follow audiobooks by leapfrogging with a paper copy which I read when I have time. This novel is actually easier to follow on audio, since Nick Sullivan does a very good job giving each character an idiosyncratic accent. On the page it can easily become just a sea of words.

    As a novel it's certainly not for everyone, a withering critique of American capitalism told mostly through a little boy's farcical creation of a virtual financial empire made of leveraged purchases of bad businesses, with a frustrated writer and an aristocratic beauty the only ones who can see through it. It's also a bit of an historical artifact, giving us little bits of life in 1970's New York and Long Island. But it's a classic of 20th century American literature, sort of a cross between Ulysses and Doonesbury.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Lush Life: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Richard Price
    • Narrated By Bobby Cannavale
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (618)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (128)

    What do you do? Whenever people asked him, Eric Cash used to have a dozen answers. Artist, actor, screenwriter...But now he's 35 years old and he's still living downtown, still in the restaurant business, working night shifts and serving the people he always wanted to be. What does Eric do? He manages.

    Laura L. Graumann says: "A wonderful listen"
    "Starts off great, loses steam"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    For the first 100 pp. I was enraptured. Richard Price is a master who paints a vivid picture of a New York neighborhood and its characters. Aided by a great performance by Bobby Cannavale, whose NYC stuffy-nosed accent is just right, you can really see and hear the scenes and conversations he creates.

    For all that I felt my interest flagging a bit by p. 300 or so. The story is very episodic, so after a while you're just ready for it to wrap up.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Rabbit Redux

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By John Updike
    • Narrated By Arthur Morey 
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (113)
    Performance
    (52)
    Story
    (51)

    The assumptions and obsessions that control our daily lives are explored in tantalizing detail by master novelist John Updike in this wise, witty, sexy story. Harry Angstrom - known to all as Rabbit, one of America's most famous literary characters - finds his dreary life shattered by the infidelity of his wife. How he resolves - or further complicates - his problems makes a compelling read.

    J. Kovler says: "Bring on more Rabbit!"
    "A let-down after Rabbit Run"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I loved, loved, loved Rabbit Run but I have to disagree with the other reviewers about Redux--this book is mostly interesting as an historical artifact, as Updike goes for a working-class take on the late 60's. I imagine Updike in 1970 trying to recreate how the Vietnam war, black power, hippies and the sexual revolution would look to him if he'd never gotten out of his small Pennsylvania town, and this is the result. The events of the book just seem random; the black character actually has some nuance, but when he forces Rabbit to take lessons in black history it just seems like a white liberal's paranoid fantasy.
    I've been told that Rabbit is Rich is similarly a let-down, but the last of the bunch, Rabbit at Rest, is a masterpiece worthy of Rabbit Run. I'll have to see.

    The reader does a very poor job, I must say. He may have been chosen for the weary working-class quality of his voice, but he doesn't seem to be listening to the story as he reads.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Last Policeman

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By Ben H. Winters
    • Narrated By Peter Berkrot
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (572)
    Performance
    (517)
    Story
    (520)

    What’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway? Detective Hank Palace has faced this question ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There’s no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact. The Last Policeman presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job - but not Hank Palace. He’s investigating a death by hanging.

    Amazon Customer says: "There was trepidation ..."
    "Pretty good mash up of whodunit & apocalyptic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is an entertaining story of a young detective trying to solve a murder in a time when no one cares because the world is about to end. It's well-written, but not very deep. It's a good read but more of a time-filler than an occasion for reflection.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Luminaries

    • UNABRIDGED (29 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Eleanor Catton
    • Narrated By Mark Meadows
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1064)
    Performance
    (922)
    Story
    (939)

    It is 1866 and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

    Melinda says: "Not So Luminous"
    "A great read, but falls apart at the end"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Luminaries is a great read for anyone who enjoys 19th-century British novels. Catton's prose is of a decidedly Victorian bent, beautiful descriptions spilling out as a Wilkie Collins-type plot unfolds. Now, I read the Woman in White recently and ended up angry at its cheap coincidences, but The Luminaries doesn't have any of those. For most of the book it's very funny and a real page turner, even with its formal prose style. There's also a fascinating portrayal of early New Zealand society, which indeed was the author's aim.

    What it does have is a weird structure in which little pieces of the whole plot drip out for 800pp., followed by a rush to the finish that doesn't even answer all the reader's questions. Upon finishing I went online and was both relieved and annoyed to find that the unexplained pieces of the plot are just that. There's also an astrological theme throughout that I confess I couldn't follow (even looking at the charts at the head of each section in the print book, which the audiobook of course omits).

    Mark Meadows may be the very best narrator I've ever listened to, as he switches effortlessly through a variety of British, Scottish and Irish accents.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Boxer, Beetle

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Ned Beauman
    • Narrated By Robert Sams
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (2)
    Story
    (2)

    Kevin "Fishy" Broom has his nickname for a reason - a rare genetic condition that makes his sweat and other bodily excretions smell markedly like rotting fish. Consequently, he rarely ventures out of the London apartment where he deals online in Nazi memorabilia. But when Fishy stumbles upon a crime scene, he finds himself on the long-cold trail of a pair of small-time players in interwar British history.

    Peregrine says: "Great book--with a *terrible* narrator"
    "Great book--with a *terrible* narrator"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Robert Sams reads this book sounding almost like a computer-generated voice--with little variation of tone and clearly NO idea what he's saying. Since I'm whispersyncing with a Kindle copy, I can tell you that this novel is filled with hilarious characters and biting social commentary, but he misses the point entirely! I had to stop sometimes and think through the words to get the joke or even just to get the meaning. Sams has no interest in this book and should really be replaced with a reader who will deign to make it comprehensible. BOO!

    The characters are almost all British--why didn't they get an English actor to read it?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Flamethrowers: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Rachel Kushner
    • Narrated By Christina Traister
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (223)
    Performance
    (191)
    Story
    (200)

    The year is 1975 and Reno - so-called because of the place of her birth - has come to New York intent on turning her fascination with motorcycles and speed into art. Her arrival coincides with an explosion of activity in the art world - artists have colonized a deserted and industrial SoHo, are staging actions in the East Village, and are blurring the line between life and art. Reno meets a group of dreamers and raconteurs who submit her to a sentimental education of sorts.

    Peregrine says: "Stories come gushing out of this book"
    "Stories come gushing out of this book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Cradled in a fine evocation of the world of the New York art scene circa 1976 and the tumult of labor protests in Italy are a torrent of shorter narratives, almost like a Thousand and One Nights. Most though not all of the stories she tells are enjoyable and contribute to the world she's portraying. I'm not certain it all hangs together, but I suspect I'll be chewing this one over for a while.

    The narrator has a pleasant voice that is just right for the protagonist's unsure 23-year-old self. When she says "I" you really believe she's the one telling you this story. However, her intonation is sometimes way off, as if she's concentrating on keeping a smooth delivery at the expense of understanding what she's saying.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • The Woman in White

    • UNABRIDGED (25 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Wilkie Collins
    • Narrated By Josephine Bailey, Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1084)
    Performance
    (882)
    Story
    (885)

    One of the greatest mystery thrillers ever written, Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White was a phenomenal best seller in the 1860s, achieving even greater success than works by Charles Dickens. Full of surprise, intrigue, and suspense, this vastly entertaining novel continues to enthrall audiences today.

    David says: "Gripping novel, excellent production"
    "19th century pulp!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I picked this up because there's a reference to it in Ulysses, and Joyce owes a tiny debt to Wilkie Collins for developing the idea of a multi-narrator novel. With Collins' The Moonstone, it has a place in history as the original mystery novel.

    That said, it's very hokey stuff, a bad gothic story that relies on a string of coincidences and a very Victorian concept of foreigners. Some of the descriptions of action are just hideously long and dull. I almost gave up halfway through.

    The readers trade off, Prebble reading the male narrators and Bailey the female ones. Both are masters of the craft.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Joyce's Ulysses

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor James A. W. Heffernan
    Overall
    (30)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (26)

    Ulysses depicts a world that is as fully conceived and vibrant as anything in Homer or Shakespeare. It has been delighting and puzzling readers since it was first published on Joyce's 40th birthday in 1922. And here, Professor Heffernan maps the brilliance, passion, humanity, and humor of Joyce's modern Odyssey in these 24 lectures that finally make a beguiling literary masterpiece accessible for any reader willing to give it a chance.

    Peregrine says: "I really recommend this if you're reading Ulysses"
    "I really recommend this if you're reading Ulysses"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a superb series of lectures walking you through Joyce's very difficult novel. I read Ulysses in college and although I remembered a great deal about it, there were many aspects of it that passed me by at the time. Prof. Heffernan is skillful and entertaining as he takes you chapter-by-chapter through the thorny book. He's particularly good at explicating the Homeric parallel.

    The Great Courses format is frankly absurd, with its 30-minute chunks, applause and the same damned bit of Brandenburg concerto at the head of every lecture.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • The Neruda Case: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Roberto Ampuero
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (11)

    Roberto Ampuero's novels starring the wonderfully roguish Cayetano Brulé are an international sensation. In The Neruda Case, listeners are introduced to Cayetano as he takes on his first case as a private eye. Set against the fraught political world of pre-Pinochet Chile, Castro's Cuba, and perilous behind-the-Wall East Berlin, this mystery spans countries, cultures, and political ideas, and features one of literature's most beloved figures-Pablo Neruda. Cayetano meets the poet at a party in Chile in the 1970s.

    Peregrine says: "OK combination of historical fiction & mystery"
    "OK combination of historical fiction & mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The rendering of Pablo Neruda is by far the best part of the book. As Ampuero says in the postscript, he aimed to bring El Poeta down to earth, show him for the great but flawed person he was. By all means, go read some Neruda poems when you're done; they'll bring out the Great Man part.

    The "mystery", such as it is, is disappointing, just this-happened-then-this-then-this, even as the story goes all over the world. As the Pinochet coup approaches, descriptions of Chile in turmoil are vivid and harrowing, but are over almost as soon as they begin.

    I found the reading professional but perfunctory.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Guermantes Way: Remembrance of Things Past, Volume 3

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 51 mins)
    • By Marcel Proust
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    Overall
    (60)
    Performance
    (54)
    Story
    (50)

    Remembrance of Things Past is one of the monuments of 20th-century literature. The Guermantes Way is the third of seven volumes. The narrator penetrates the inner sanctum of Paris high society and falls in love with the fascinating Duchesse de Guermantes. Proust describes vividly the struggles for political, social, and sexual supremacy played out beneath a veneer of elegant manners. He also finds himself pursued by the predatory Baron de Charlus.

    David E. Gregson says: "Makes a very big reading project a breeze!"
    "Another fine entry in the project"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you're looking this far into the gigantic Proust novel, I'll assume you need no recommendations regarding the "story", such as it is, but I will say that Guermantes Way is likely one of the most entertaining and funny of all the volumes. Proust's dead-on critique of high society is full of cynical humour as he comes to realize that the princes and duchesses he's worshipped from afar are either vain, stupid or badly wasting any wit or talent they possess.

    Neville Jason has undertaken the huge task of rendering Remembrance of Things Past into audio-book form in English. He gives a fine read, giving characters equivalent British accents (the Duc de Guermantes is given a London aristocrats' accent, Fran??oise an Irish servant's tones, etc.) and pronounces all surviving French words correctly. The short pdf reader's guide that comes with the audiobook was actually written by Jason as well, and he does a good job of introducing the general reader to Proust.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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