I haven't read this book on paper, though I've listened to it about half a dozen times, so I really don't know how much of my love affair with the story is about William Boyd, and how much to Rosalind Pike's narration.
She is just insanely good -- her reading of the book is intelligent, which can't be underestimated in narration, since its absence is always so cringey. Pike understands the characters and portrays them with sensitivity and respect, and her accents etc are pitch-perfect.
Huge kudos to Boyd as well, of course. The story is a ripsnorter -- war, espionage, betrayal, intrigue... gave me real insight into two historical contexts that he made fascinating and rich.
I listen to audiobooks constantly and have for years. I've listened to hundreds, and this is hands down the best in terms of narration and story. Do yourself a favour.
I am baffled by the production decisions made for this audiobook.
Whose idea was it to approach narration in such a disjointed way, whereby a female narrator steps in to deliver just the female dialogue (while the male narrator adds an infuriating "she said" etc to the end) -- and vice-versa. I've enjoyed multiple-narrator books before (notably The Time Traveller's Wife) but in those cases the narration followed a narrative structure where characters alternate point of view chapters.
People fail to understand that the experience of an audiobook is not meant to be equivalent to a trip to the theatre. It's closer to reading, and the narrator and producers' job is to get out of the way and let you forget you're listening to an audiobook the same way your forget you're reading a book on paper. Every self-conscious jolt between narrators reminds you that it's an artificial process -- in this case far more artificial than the usual, which is really just storytelling.
I'm convinced that whoever thought this approach could contribute to listeners' enjoyment of the book has never listened to an audiobook.
Not a bad story but almost impossible for me to appreciate.
I loved this book utterly. Franzen's characters have stayed with me in the weeks since I listened and the environmental issues explored in the novel really had an impact on me.
Often, even when I really enjoy a book I find it leaves my head immediately when I finished. This was an engaging and lasting experience for me, and I highly recommend it.
I just don't get what people went nuts for with this novel. I am the exact demographic of his characters, right down to location, and just found it embarrassing and sometimes loathsome. The sex scenes were gratuitous and constant, the characters unlikeable and the plot laboured.
The good things I can say about this book is that it did get a little better towards the end, that Alex Dimitriades did a great job with the character of Manolis, and that I liked Connie and thought her backstory was really interesting and well-drawn. But these few aspects weren't enough to make the world Tsiolkas created one I'd like to revisit.
A bit of a departure for Rosenfelt. I'm so used to the Andy Carpenter/Grover Gardner combo that this came as a bit of a surprise, but it was a good read.
The premise was fascinating, and despite an inevitable disappointment in its resolution, I was very keen to see it through. And I didn't guess the twist, even though I was looking out for it.
Nice work by the narrator, Chris Ensweiler. Seamless and unnoticeable like all good narration.
This is a wonderful book, and flawlessly narrated.
Unfortunately I was totally frustrated by the errors in the digitisation of the recording. At approximately 1:20 there is clearly a chunk of the story missing; this happens at various other points in the narration. Late in the book there is a real problem, with some mangled speech and 'side eight' (or something) included.
I wrote to Audible about this but received no reply. Disappointing.
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