Jones has written a work of genius about a much overlooked chapter in American history, black slave owners in the antebellum South. Set 20 years before the Civil War, The Known World allows us a glance at this neglected fact of history by entwining the past and future narrations of freed and enslaved blacks, along with those of white slave owners and civilians. Meticulously narrated by Kevin Free, it's a grand, brilliantly written novel that I highly recommend.
I listened to Sister several months ago and I have to say that it is still on my mind. There is something innately beautiful about this novel. Is it the unbreakable bonds between siblings? The heartbreak of not knowing the sequence of events leading to the death of someone you love? A pain that's enough to drive one to despair? Or to drive a person to find the truth behind the pain? I can't say but what keeps popping into my head about when I think about Sister is that I loved it!
I found the story to be intense, emotional, and yes, sometimes it creeps along. But even during those moments there is a subdued sense of tension that runs behind the mundane. And the ending really is a surprise and I am still stunned whenever I think about it.
I would compare Rosamund Lupton's style with that of the master of suspense, Ruth Rendell and her stand alone novels or her novels that she writes under her pseudonym, Barbara Vine. Those twisted psychological thrillers that focus on character development which is the driving force behind the story.
And Juanita McMahon is a superb narrator and was perfect for this novel. Her narration is steady, thoughtful and subtle. But when necessary she adds just the right tone to bring the suspenseful intensity that is necessary for a scene.
Now after all that, I got to go listen this stunner again!
A disturbing tale of gruesome murders and sinister family secrets. I was left feeling like I had been sucker punched and like I needed a hug. Or a drink. Powerful stuff.
Maurice is the intimate story of one man's coming to terms with his sexuality and his desires contrasted by his struggles of living in a suppressive culture and the binding social expectations set by class standards. Bold by the standards of the time that it was written, I found Maurice to be both sad and beautiful. Sad because of the frustration of defeat and the ensuing heartbreak Maurice endures. But beautiful because of the hope and determination that rises from the courage Maurice finds to live his life fulfilled as his heart commands. Peter Firth's narration is really very good; his voice is cultured and rich and he has the emotional power to carry the story to the end. I know that I will listen to Maurice again and again, it's that good.
I am hooked on the Cass Neary series - totally hooked. But be warned, these are not your average mysteries and Cass is not your average amateur sleuth. Rather she's a self destructive bisexual washed-up photographer whose moment of fame was a long time ago and who longs for the good old days when the New York punk scene was at its pinnacle. Cass drinks to excess, takes drugs just to get through the day and then to end it. She is a kleptomaniac who uses other people???s medicine cabinets as a source to supply her habit, and she just happens to be in the wrong and the worst time.
But there is a certain allure that makes Cass intriguing rather than repulsive. The mysteries are twisted and savage and Cass' involvement is totally by chance rather than by choice or interest as she???s been enticed, or coerced, into a job where she can put her skills to work.
Carol Monda's performance is terrific, she is able to get to the gut of each of the characters and you know exactly what they are feeling and what they're experiencing.
So if you???ve got an open mind and if you don't mind peering at the darker edges of humanity, I enthusiastically encourage you to give these books a try. Be aware that you do have to listen to them in order. And I can???t wait for the next mess that Cass falls into.
It was very dark.
It was unexpectedly atmospheric.
I came by this book quite by chance; while reading a review for Available Dark, the next book in Hand's Cass Neery series, I became intrigued with the first title so I decided to order it from Audible.com. I listened to it over a long weekend and I'm glad that I gave it a chance. (And I really wish that I'd been the first to post a review.)
Cass Neery, a washed up post-survivor of NYC's punk era is an edgy photographer whose book of photographs was a mild sensation, is given a chance to interview a famous photographer who has become a legendary recluse on a Maine island. Once there, she's mystified by posters of people who have gone missing, all without any clue as to why or how.
I'll admit that Cass is unlikable. She's a loser, she's selfish, she's caustic and rude, and seemingly without morals. But there is something about her that is broken and it seems that deep down she knows this to be true. Her armor of disdain, powered by drugs and alcohol, doesn't seem to be working for her as well as it used to.
Generation Loss is dark and edgy, and it's disturbing which makes you want to avert your gaze. Yet at the same it's painful and powerfully atmospheric, and there's something about it that keeps you peering in.
I really liked Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand and found the narrator to be perfect for this novel and I highly urge you to give it a try. But do stay away if you're looking for the traditional mystery that has likeable characters, where the good guys always win and the bad guys get what they deserve.
Facts: Booklist and Publishers Weekly gave Generation Loss starred reviews; Elizabeth Hand is an awarding winning author of science fiction and contributes to The Washington Post Book World and the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
. . . and it's the 15th century.
Though this is not my usual "listen", I have to say that I was enthralled. I love all things France, especially the Medieval period, and that's what drew me to Cornwell's novel, Agincourt. Cornwell's novel presents warfare, rape, brutality, chauvinism; so you'd better be prepared because nothing in this story is sugar coated. But really, nothing was sugar coated about life during the Medieval times; the times were hard and brutal, and it was a time when Christianity was used as a psychological weapon as well as an excuse for horrors beyond imagination. It's all here; Cornwell's telling of the ravage of Soissons is nothing but heartbreaking - and he holds nothing back. This story is not only an exciting novel as well as an excellent record of 15th century life - especially warfare and the class structure. Through it all, Keating's narration is captivating and spot-on. Listen to this if you love history, but only if you can tolerate vulgarity, brutality, and profanity, which, really is what the history of the Western world is all about.
Sampson's stellar debut of single mother of twins, Londoner Robin Ballantyne, is instantly compelling. Told in first person narrative, Reading's performance is spot-on; all of the characters were fully developed and believable. My next listen is Sampson's Out of Mind; and I can hardly wait for book three to be released, The Slaughter Pavilion. Very well done indeed.
. . . because the reading of this novel is very arduous. I wanted so much to listen to "Sea of Poppies" but I just could not get past the driveling narration. I found the narration so annoying that I had no idea what the story was about. Honestly, after about 30 minutes I just turned it off and breathed a sign of relief.
It would have been so much better with another narrator; one with a slower pace and particularly one who had an Indic accent to add to the tone of the story.
This is a great mystery and I thought this production was grade A+ - the story was compelling and the narrator was able to distinguish the various characters, though minding the British accent. But the real star of this is the story itself - a gruesome serial killer in Edinburgh but there is a connection and that's the crux of the mystery. If you like British mysteries I would urge you to give this a try and I do hope that Audible picks up the next title in the series to be published in 2008.
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