Because Audible asks us about performance, I feel that I should bring it up. But first, because of a recent trip to Viet Nam, I decided to get and listen to this book. The story, itself, is remarkable and very prescient regarding American impending tragic and misguided involvement into Southeast Asia. But at it's heart, "The Quiet American" is a tale of two dissimilar men and their love for a beautiful Vietnamese woman. One man is an older British newspaperman saddled with a wife back in England. The other is a young, naive, low level, diplomat from Boston. The bonds, these two forge in friendship and rivalry, whether in a Saigon dance club or in the heat of battle, takes up the majority of this book.
Unfortunately, Joseph Porter, fails miserably on all accounts in his narrating. Aside from his stilted readings of prose that is both beautiful and exciting, his accents, age and sex differentiation's are atrocious. His Englishmen seem to all come from some strange middle-class. Fowler, the stories narrator, is a mid-fifties hard drinking and smoking Londoner and yet he sounds like bland radio personality. Pyle his rival and friend is even worse, sounding like a late forties mid-westerner with an sixth grade reading level. All the other characters just sound canned-spaggetti versions of real people.
Seriously, forget listening and read the book.
Audilble please redo this classic and terrific story with a much better voice.
Lots of stuff and nonsense from Dan Brown about Robert Langdon escaping near death defying situations again. Also with the help of a beautiful age-appriopiate woman. This time it's all about Dante's "Inferno". Together they travel from Florence to Venice and end up in Istanbul. Oddly, nothing about Langdon's previous hair-raising adventures seem to have made a dent in his mind. It's like he starting anew with each book.
Still what kept me going was all the minutia of the cities and Dante. All the little known historical facts about the churches, museums, waterways, palaces etc take up a lot of the book. Like a teacher who gives you just enough information so you don't nod off in class or become overwelhmed with details before moving on.
Plot has something to do with W.H.O., a world shattering virus and bad guys shooting at innocent people all being tied into Dante's "Divine Comedy". Shrug
Have to admit that it takes a very brave author to take Harry Potter and Narnia and have it apply to those young men who are just now discovering "Game of Thrones". Post adolescent young man has to decide what his future will be while still clinging to the rituals of childhood.
Adulthood is scary, so Quentin our hero, tries to avoid it for as long as possible. Unlike the "Potter" series where father and parental figures abound, Q (as he is sometimes called) has nobody but himself to guide him and he makes a mess of things. Still, little by little he starts to grow up, though by the end Q is not much further then Harry Potter at the end of "Sorcerer's Stone". Wondrous for a boy of 12, dismaying for a young man in his mid twenties.
Still, I salute Lev Grossman for this brave attempt. Kinda like decent comfort food with with added spices.
Can't say if I will continue with this series, but it does have potential. Kinda like those TV shows whose pilot episode always have too many characters and information, their was a lot of stuff happening that seemed extraneous but could be useful in later stories. Maybe I will give the next few books a chance. Always up for a decent wizard detective. Also it takes place in Chicago which is where I was born, so that's a plus.
Really, after listening to hundreds of books of the years (starting on tapes, then CD's then downloads), I rarely just give up. I mean if I could get through Roberto Bolaño's 39 hour "2666", I could get through most anything. But after 3 hours of "Brothers", I was just getting really annoyed and bored . Then, after reading past reviews and comments, I realized it wasn't going to get any better.
What drew me to "Brothers" in the first place, was the idea of looking at the changes in China over the past 50 years through the eyes of two different men. With such an awkward translation it was making no sense. Made the decision to just stop. Oh well.
I didn't know how Perry was going to sustain my interest for such a relatively long time, but he did. It's always fun to watch the hunter pursue the victim and then have the tables turn. In this case, the 'good' guy is only relative to an extremely depraved bad guy, (which can be traced to bad mothering) so our ending could never be in doubt. Still, a wily Chess game is always more enjoyable then Checkers. (Any good game metaphor works, excepted perhaps Bridge.)
After 36 hours, I just wanted this book to end! Part one was actually quite thrilling, but once story skipped ahead 99 years to a colony of people living a dystopian existence, I just could not hang on. Lots and lots of characters whose purpose never becomes clear and then get killed. Waited forever for second part of the story to catch up to beginning. Way way overwritten.
If you are really interested in learning what a 9/11 hijacker felt about America just before his 'big event', here's the book for you. (hint; he's conflicted about women and Americans.)
Otherwise join a group of emotionally damaged people as they go from one mistake to another. Each step is preceded by such deluded justification that it made me want to slap them. Like 'what part of essentially kidnapping a child from from a strip joint's parking lot and then giving her Benadryl to calm down' did you think was a good idea?
I rarely give up on books once I start, but boy, this was a challenge.
Lew Archer is one of the great noir LA detectives. This books starts him out on his journey, seeing the corrupt moneyed culture of Los Angeles circa 1950's. He is certainly up there with Phillip Marlowe and Sam Spade (and a lot more stories). A good beginning. Well read.
I've either listen or read most of McMurty and love his easy going style, but this is such a minor story. the characters are really uninteresting. It's so unlike Mr. McMurtry I'm midway through and though I won't give up, it's taking an act of will.
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