Professor Olson gives a thorough, and highly-entertaining, introductory class in Tolkien's "The Hobbit." Professor Olson touches on all the major themes and history of the novel and whets the appetite for a deeper, more thorough analysis.
A shambling mess of a novel, it misunderstands its main character (Sherlock Holmes) and the construction of a mystery story. There's almost no purpose to the novel: Holmes travels to Japan and doesn't have an adventure with the child of a former client, doesn't have an adventure with the accidental death of his housekeeper's son and recalls a case that wasn't an adventure. The actual writing itself is just plain bad: overblown and rambling.
At the end of the book I was left wondering why the author bothered telling this story at all.
And the character of Sherlock Holmes is entirely misrepresented. And I don't mean taking liberties with a well-established character like the Sherlock TV series. I mean this novel simply doesn't understand who Sherlock Holmes is or the nature of his character, even as a 90+ year old man.
The narration is adequate. Often the rhythm of the narration is at odds with the written word and the narrator doesn't seem familiar with the material.
Fafhred and the Grey Mouser are legendary staples in Swords and Sorcery fiction, but I found this book a muddled, overwritten mess. Leiber's text is distractingly overwritten and after awhile all the unwieldy names seem to run together. The narration, while not awful, doesn't help the swamp-like text at all.
Too much with the silly voices, which detracted from Ms. Hathaway's flawless narration. Otherwise this would've been perfect.
I almost enjoyed this audiobook. It has all the elements you'd want - an enigmatic main character, an interesting, complex plot and a compelling victim, there wasn't enough payoff in the end to warrant the investment of time. The showdown with the villain, the loathsome Junior Allen, was too brief. Also, I felt like the character was fighting with the writing towards the latter part of the book.
The narration was fair, but it too often felt at odds with the writing. I've heard that there are earlier Darren McGavin versions, however, and those might be more compelling.
Shoddy production (including indecipherable narration by Thompson himself) and shifting narrators (one with a distractingly thick accent) obviously unfamiliar with Thompson's work and style make this production an insult. Save your money.
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