It's impossible for me not to compare this to the other three Lionel Shriver books I've read this year - they are the reason I returned to purchase this book, however The New Republic does not stand up next to "We Need to Talk About Kevin" or "So Much for That".
The story is dull and Shriver's usually strong narrative voice doesn't come through at all. And without spoiling the end, the ending really makes little sense. I had hoped Shriver would use Barrington Saddler's presence to introduce a twist as she did with her characters in "Big Brother". No twist and no logic to the end of this story.
The New Republic needs to stand on it's own merit & not on the reputation the author has from her later works. Shriver is an excellent writer, but this book is not excellent. It's not even good. It has no redeeming qualities beyond an interesting idea.
This is a perfect work by Orwell. The best novel I have read by him so far. The performance by Richard E Grant could not be better - he is the perfect casting for Gordon Comstock.
Be aware that this copy has a sound fault in chapter 7. There is about 40 seconds of skipping that make that tony section of the book inaudible.
I loved this book & I’m not sure why. I think part of it is the language (the author is a poet), the other part is how believable the main character is as a human being.
Adam has a serious case of imposter syndrome, and his way of dealing with this is sometimes to lie, try to look or sound mysterious (I'm not sure how well that actually works for him), or pop anxiety pills. His lies are painful not least because he’s absolute rubbish at remembering that he lied at all. He’s terrified the people around him will see him as a fraud. He’s uncomfortable, we’re uncomfortable but the people around him in the book seem to be completely fine with it all, although he ascribes to them a higher wisdom than is likely. He thinks he's a fraud as a person & as a poet & neither of these seem likely. He certainly puts too much meaning in to his interactions with others & overthinks things.
A lot of this book is us spending time in Adam's head. His perspective is definitely warped though so we see some things he doesn't. He's a painful character (in the sense of cringeworthy) but he's incredibly human & like cellophane - at times we see right through.
The narration is excellent. Initially I was bothered by the monotone of the author's voice, the flattened affect, but getting further into the book this is the perfect voice for Adam.
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.
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