I've read many reviews of The Cat's Table and they are almost all extremely enthusiastic appraisals of the complex, enigmatic, eloquent, elegant, evocative, ethereal and literary word-craftsmanship of Michael Ondaatje's new novel. Well, I have to say that it is definitely well crafted but the author seems to me the wrong choice to narrate his own creation. The book had the potential to be a exciting journey of life but ended up being a complete drag to get through. At many times it feels like the author tried to be a word-magician instead of having a book that immerses you in its story line. I have no doubt that it is very different if you read it yourself, but as an audio book it was a little boring and non engaging.
When I started this book I was immediately hooked... but, half way though it became a drag.
The way the story is formed, with having two (and later three) character points that are narrated by different people, is fun and interesting in the beginning... but I found Allison Hiroto's voice to bug me more and more as her character was overly portrait. Her character's story was especially detailed to a point of hearing exactly what dishes she ordered in a restaurant or the plain minutia of her life that didn't seem to relate to the story and with that came the mistakes... Characters are described in such detail that some things they say and/or do seems not to match what was described before..They almost became caricatures of themselves.
It seemed like the author didn't anticipate the audience to be smart enough to fill in the blanks (sometimes its better to not explain everything in great detail).
This probably sounds very vague and I understand that for some people this might be a great book.. but I found myself not caring about the characters halfway though.. And if you don't care what happens to the main characters of a story it kinda ends there.
I wonder if there is something lost in translation.
I don't regret getting this book since I got many great hours of reading out of it.. I just wish it would have been more engaging.
The book is what you would expect from a Bond novel, not to much depth but light and entertaining. Its a shame the story is to much written as if it is the first book of a series and not the current last. But my main reason for giving it only 3 stars is that the Narrator is stunningly boring, he reads the book to much as if he's reading at a children's book club with to much emphasis on a r t i c u l a t i n g everything very proper. And he can not do female voices, at least not convincingly in any way.
It is a story that immediately demand your attention. Its setting is very well described and the characters develop nice and evenly and give more depth to the environment the book is placed in. At times it can be hard to keep some of the characters apart, but that doesn't seem to harm the flow of it. Even though the story mainly takes place on a tiny island, it opens up a whole world of intrigues. This book has it all, romance, adventure, science, murder etc etc. Its a shame that the narrators are unable to pronounce the Dutch names better.
I was tempted to buy this book due its its overwhelming positive reviews, well I was wrong to do so.
The writing is just plain bad and seemingly treats the reader as if he/she is stupid, explaining things said as if we couldn't pick up on what was meant. The narrator is in my opinion a wrong choice for the book, he sounds like a weather hardened lone gunman who smoked all his life, not particularly what you expect from a lawyer, but then again, he doesn't really act like a lawyer either.
I can't say if its any better or worse than other books by the author since it was the first one I tried from him.
Seeing the lavish support of this book and having heard so much good of his previous books I decided to go for it. I love Historical fiction and have no problem with long books that go into a lot of detail and/or have a slow story build-up. But after more then 20 hours I had to give up.. Way way to much graphic sexual behavior (as if people in that time period didn't do anything else beside feeling each other up etc etc) and the story is just way to predictable. Let me be clear that I have no problem with sexual behavior in a book... or any other behavior for that matter, but in this book it almost becomes comical due to its over use. But my main complain is that you just know whats going to happen on the next page and that there are to many things in the way people deal with each other that don't make sense, many of the characters become caricatures of themselves. So I would conclude that the book is to long for its writing.
This book is a classic in its own right and I think many people have it in their top 10 list of all time books to read.. If you place the book in the time it was written you might be able to see its magnificence even better. The play with words is amazing and hilarious at the same time.. it flows like a great poem. But, I probably don't have to convince you of the quality of the book...The narrator is the main concern of most "audio book" readers... well he does as much justice to the book as anyone could have done and he was able to totally take me on a roller-coaster ride of the crazy insanity that war can bring. He brings every punchline exactly where it should be and he makes the story even better than it is on paper... This audiobook deserves 6 stars.
Love love love it.
I have no idea of the book is any good.... simply because there are so many people part of the narration (or at least it feels like they used a different person for every character)... the accents are so badly over the top.
And the audio sound is as if it was recorded through a can.
I was unable to listen to it for more then an hour.
The book has everything you could want from a spy novel and is well worth a credit (or the 20 bucks).
The story line is entertaining and believable enough to transport you into the story and keep you up till late.
Although there are some definitely moments where you could get bored, John Lee as always is able to get you through those with the sheer pleasure of listening to his voice.
Overall this book is fun, exciting and very pleasant to listen to.
With a classic like this one it all comes down to the narrator.
Tim Curry reads it as if Jules Verne is looking over his shoulder. His voice seems very appropriate to the book and its time period.
He is not particularly good at changing his tone for different characters and his female impersonations are far from flattering.
But in an odd way he seems to be perfect for a Jules Verne story.
Its absolutely worth getting.
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