Jeremy Irons gives a perfect performance as Humbert Humbert (the narrator & fictional author of the story). His tone creates exactly the right amount of compulsion to listen while remaining a repellent character. If you know you want to read Lolita then this is the version you want.
As for the story, the way Nabokov brings the reader in as co-conspirator is both attractive & repellent. If we do not read Humbert's book, his crimes are not witnessed - possibly never committed. As reader we are complicit in every aspect of his crimes.
It's an incredible tale & we are invited right into Humbert's mind, where we are manipulated much the same way he manipulates everyone else around him.
The prose is remarkable. It is possible that Humbert is the most detested fictional character in the world while his story of "Lolita" is one of the finest stories ever written.
This is the best narration of this book, however in the last few minutes of chapter 2 the sound is occasionally but repeatedly significantly distorted.
Ishmael Beah has an excellent "voice". If Radiance of Tomorrow is an example of contemporary Sierra Leone literature I look forward to discovering more.
The book has the feel of a folk tale & is conveyed perfectly in audiobook format. By this I don't mean it is a "simple" story, but the telling conveys something of the culture of the characters in the book. The style of the writing adds depth to the story being told.
If you've read Ishmael Beah's memoir "A Long Way Gone" his novel will seem a lot more personal than many standard works of fiction. If you haven't read his memoir you probably ought to. Regardless, Radiance of Tomorrow stands alone as an incredible work.
The narration is superb. Overall a remarkable book.
The story starts out creepy & stays that way right until the end. John Fowles has done a brilliant job of creating these characters, particularly Frederick, who seems as though he ought to be as harmless as the butterflies he collects - but who is anything but.
"Gripping" would be a good adjective for this one. It is a remarkably well written story, my favourite so far of the Fowles books available on the Audible book store. It's compelling from beginning to end.
Listen to the sample before choosing this book. The narrator has a pompous, sing-song tone that sounds like he's got auto-tune permanently switched on.
If only the narrator was the worst thing about this book.
The book sounds like a poorly written blog converted into a book - which it is. The authors ought to have practised minimalism in their writing, with particular regard to their sentence structure. They use the most amount of words to convey the least meaning.
One of the authors notes he hopes we won't think the advice is "banal platitudes". The choice of term is apt because that's exactly what the book contains. It is superficial & the writing demonstrates a lack of self awareness. It's negative, patronising, judgemental & evangelical.
Several years ago I read about minimalism in an engaging & inspiring blog (not by these authors). I bought this book hoping to find that again & was disappointed.
I had to pause to come up for breath several times in the first few minutes of this book. But once started there was no way to put it down. I have a great deal of respect for Alice Sebold for being able to share this part of her story in such a frank manner.
Despite having described what happened to her many times to officials and friends the immediacy is replicated here in such a way that it winds you.
A beautifully written tribute to the grief Julian Barnes feels over the death of his wife. The thoughts he shares are keen. He is eloquent on the loss we fear most.
I really wanted to read this to learn more about the situation in Darfur. I enjoy supplementing news & non-fiction with fiction stories as they can provide wonderful perspective when the author has spent time in the country as Rebecca Tinsley has.
This was listed under literature, which it certainly isn't. The language used to tell the story seems childlike - not simple in a good way. In fact sometimes there is too much.
I felt unable to relate to any of the characters, or to feel anything for them. All I felt was annoyance with the author for having done such a poor job of telling their story. Her characters deserved better from her.
The issues the book is dealing with are incredibly important & need to be told. But this is not the author for the job. For good examples I'd suggested Katherine Boo (non-fiction), Khaled Hosseini and Anthony Marra.
The sound quality of the recording was fine. The voices chosen for the characters were not great. Some of the voices sounded so unrealistic it made connecting with the character even harder. It distracted even further from the poor writing. From both a story & narrative perspective it felt like listening to a children's book.
Overall this was a particular letdown as I am not aware of any other fiction based around the issues in Darfur. This is it & it doesn't live up to expectations.
There is a problem with the sound quality on this version of the book. It begins in chapter 2 & is very intrusive. I'd advise bypassing this version until Audible can get a quality recording.
The publisher's description of the story did little to inspire me to read this book, I picked it up on sale & was blown away.
Arthur is on first meeting, not terribly likeable. I could pity him, but there is a sense of dishonesty because he is dishonest. He doesn't like who he is & is unwilling to let others know what his life is, to the point of putting on a shirt & tie to answer the door to the grocery delivery man so he can pretend he has been working all day, while in reality he is housebound, completely alone & does little more than eat and watch daytime television.
We begin to see through him though & what follows is a deeply moving story of loneliness.
Kel, the popular athletic teenager is equally lonely & his story is heartbreaking from the beginning as he does his best to care for his alcoholic mother without any outside support.
The two stories are told in parallel until their connection becomes apparent.
Some audio books I find I can become involved in doing something else while listening. In the case of this book I didn't want to. I found I quickly became emotionally invested in the stories of the two main characters (and the other characters also).
My only regret is that I didn't pick this book up earlier. It is absolutely a wonderful read.
The narration is spot on.
This is the easiest review I've ever written.
If you're going to read The Importance of Being Earnest this is the copy you want. The performance is incredibly delightful & there is no way you'll have the same experience simply reading the text. I have read the text & loved it but there really is no comparison. Short of seeing it performed at the theatre this is it.
The story itself is a hilarious "romp", it keeps your attention 100% and is wonderfully amusing.
I'm already looking forward to listening to this performance again.
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