i've read a handful of the jeeves/wooster books, a couple of the blandings adventures, plus a miscellaneous story or two, and it may just be possible that mr. woodhouse only has a dozen or so story lines and it soesn't matter a bit. he is fantastic.
this is my first 'listen' to one of his books and it went quite well (although people look at you out of the corners of their respective eyes when you burst out laughing in public places for no apparent reason, dash it all!)
the reader was good, maybe very good. occasionally he mixed a characer or two, and his impression of an american accent is, well, enlightening.
at some point i think i am just going to go to the very beginning of wodehouse's work and read them straight through.
as usual, format two worked fine for me.
... but listen carefully to the audio sample to see if the style of reading is to your taste. the narrator ends every single sentence with the same emphasis. another reviewer mentions this predictable cadence which, to me at times during the 20 hours of listening, became a distraction.
in all, the book is well-written and worth a credit, but i suspect the narrration may be off-putting to some.
I've hesitated to write about this since this book is so large in scope i wondered if anyone could possibly pull it off.
Firstly, Kevin Pariseau's narration is absolutely excellent. His characterizations are subtle and consistent.
The story is engaging, even gripping at times ... also disturbing at times. There are moments, in "war and remembrance" in particular, where, if it were a picture, you would turn your head away.
There is an underlying improbability as the main character(s) rub elbows with so many historical figures. If you can suspend your disbelief on that score, so much the better.
It is helpful to be somewhat familiar with the history of wwii just as, i imagine, a familiarity with the 1812 French invasion of Russia by Napoleon helps the reader along with "War and Peace." Yes, Wouk is being THAT ambitious.
All in all, it's worth the investment of time, and worth some side excursions to research the author, the events, the historical figures, and the tragedy that is war.
... has some abridgements and is impossible to navigate without tom's table of contents.
i will reproduce it here with many thanks to it's creator (see tom in another review):
1.) 0:10 - 2:03 To -----
2.) 2:03 - 3:10 Alone
3.) 3:15 - 6:23 The City in the Sea
4.) 6:28 - 31:20 Berenice
5.) 31:25 - 55:28 The Fall of the House of Usher *
6.) 55:30 - 1:44:27 Ligeia
7.) 1:44:30 - 1:46:49 excerpt from The Fall of the House of Usher
8.) 1:46:55 - 2:18:43 The Pit and the Pendulum
9.) 2:18:46 - 2:35:27 The Masque of the Red Death
10.) 2:35:33 - 2:49:37 The Tell-Tale Heart
11.) 2:49:40 - 3:45:27 The Gold Bug
12.) 3:45:30 - 4:12:19 The Black Cat
13.) 4:12:25 - 4:20:58 The Raven
14.) 4:21:03 - 4:38:00 The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar
15.) 4:38:01 - 4:54:07 The Cask of Amontillado
16.) 4:54:13 - 4:58:23 The Bells
17.) 4:58:28 - 5:00:35 Annabel Lee
18.) 5:00:40 - 5:01:19 Eldorado
19.) 5:01:25 - 5:16:00 The Imp of the Perverse
20.) 5:16:06 - 5:31:22 Morella
i know it is a gargantuan task for audible to provide all of this material, so i forgive them their small problems.
that said, the narration is terrific and if you go to sleep with this, your nightmares will be of the most wonderful kind.
Great stories if you are into the genre.
The readings, in particular, "The Tell-Tale Heart," could have been more forceful. If you really want to hear that Poe classic done right, go find Terrence Mann's performance of it on "Selected Shorts." Truly Fantastic. It's easy to find; the title of the episode it was on is "The Heart of the Matter." You won't be disappointed.
Of this collection, my favorite, too, was "The Canterville Ghost."
this is an excellent work, well worth the time spent listening.
i was raised on old movies, so the caine mutiny, staring humphrey bogart, was on my list of movies to watch. it was a fine movie, but i have become used to the idea that books outshine movies when it comes to things like depth, texture, and character.
this is no exception.
the movie was fine for what it wanted to do (taking the middle out of wouk's novel and making a fine point) but the novel shoots for something more.
whether it hits that something more is something time and other reviewers will have more to say about.
i don't know.
but, mr. woulk seemed to want me to have just that impression.
Wow, the publisher's summary got it right when they called "Pudd'nhead Wilson" "humorous, dramatic, and sometimes shocking."
Even apart from the commentary on slavery, this is an excellent detective story in its own right. For the interested, in the second paragraph of chapter 25 of "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," Twain writes a little more about his thoughts on the institution of slavery.
Well worth the listen, disturbing parts and all. In fact, one of the roles of great literature may be to bother us in some way, forcing us to ask questions, jolting us into thought.
this, i believe, was wodehouse's second effort (after "something fresh").
personally, if you are new to his work, i would start with either the jeeves and wooster stories, or the blandings castle saga. lists of those stories are easily found online.
[note to audible: you are missing a couple of the unabridged versions of the blandings stories ... "pigs have wings" for one]
"uneasy money" was ok, and you can see him working with some of the themes that he will continue to use for the rest of his career, which is interesting for an aficionado.
that said, i prefer other narrators (particularly jonathan cecil but even martin jarvis, federick davidson, or nigel lambert). simon vance is a little to 'standard bbc english' for my taste, but good. the storyline was not quite as sharp as his later work, imho, but still one can see glimpses of what is to come with the author.
three stars all around.
... "horrifying" and "unspeakable," i suppose i shall withhold until parts two and three, respectively of this series (to which i have listened).
the fall of the doomed weimar republic was truly riveting. evans addresses society in post wwi germany from as many perspectives as one can imagine.
as a whole, this series of books leaves one shaking one's head at the depths to which humanity can sink.
erik larson, author of "In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin" had an interview with terry gross ('fresh air') and alludes to the very real depression he felt by the time he got to book three.
all i can do is agree.
these are 'must listen' books, but be ready ...
i like this genre. a little dated, a little stilted, but now and then there is a real gem and, if you are drawn to this style, it is worth the listen.
i read this years ago and remember how moving it was then. i went on to read shardik, the plague dogs, and the girl in a swing. all good. funny, i have read that adams had some trouble publishing because the *sigh* "target audience" was not clear: books about rabbits were going to turn off the adults and books written in an adult style were going to turn off the children. i handed the book to a reasonably bright teenage girl who came back with the latter response ... "nothing happened!" maybe she will give it a try later on. my advice: give yourself a treat, listen to the book for its use of language, its development of character, and its development of plot. be an adult for part of it, be a child for the rest. you shouldn't be disappointed.
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