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antonio

A reviewer's got to do what a reviewer's got to do

genthod, Switzerland | Member Since 2011

48
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 46 reviews
  • 47 ratings
  • 107 titles in library
  • 25 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
6
FOLLOWERS
4

  • The World at Night: Jean Casson Series, Book 1

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Alan Furst
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (203)
    Performance
    (108)
    Story
    (109)

    The World at Night is an edge-of-your-seat World War II tale of intrigue and espionage, set in the shadowy back streets and glittering salons of occupied Paris. Film producer Jean Casson, a Paris sophisticate, struggles to come to terms with the uncomfortable realities of life under German occupation, as he becomes caught up in the initial actions of what was to become the French Resistance.

    Darwin8u says: "A solid Furst novel, just not a great one"
    "Enjoyable !!!!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    No writer can -like Alan Furst- describe the unique atmosphere of France during the second world war and create characters that are complex, credible and engaging. This book is more than just a spy story: is about the second world war, about Paris , about adventure with a zest of romantics . The plot itself is not particularly surprising nor breathless, but the pleasure of reading is intact till the very end.
    Geoge Guidall does a fabulous job (and his French pretty good)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Any Human Heart: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By William Boyd
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    Overall
    (121)
    Performance
    (96)
    Story
    (98)

    Best-selling author William Boyd—the novelist who has been called a “master storyteller” (Chicago Tribune) and “a gutsy writer who is good company to keep” (Time)—here gives us his most entertaining, sly, and compelling novel to date. The novel evokes the tumult, events, and iconic faces of our time as it tells the story of Logan Mountstuart—writer, lover, and man of the world—through his intimate journals. It is the “riotous and disorganized reality” of Mountstuart’s 85 years in all their extraordinary, tragic, and humorous aspects.

    connie says: "very satisfying story-telling"
    "The long journey of an ordinary/extraordinary man"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This book is written as an autobiographic diary, and, at first, one can find it a bit obvious, if not boring, as the main character, Logan Montstuart (LMS), writes about his experiences of young middle-class boy going to public school and discovering life. But then quickly the story grows in intensity, interest and emotions, as Boyd draws his character with more decisive strokes and blends him in the “air du temps”. In his 85 years of life, LMS (a writer, art dealer, spy, professor and many things more) goes through the most complex periods and events of the 20th century not as a hero, but simply as a close witness. He happens to meet famous people (Picasso, Hemmingway, Virginia Wolff, Ian Fleming and Edward VIII, to name a few) to live in different countries and continents, to be involved in complex plots, but always as a witness or rather as someone that casually happens to be there rather than somebody truly driving his life and destiny. As he gets old, LMS becomes self reflective on his own experiences and more generally on life and its meaning. The reader, at the beginning a distant witness of his life, becomes more and more involved and moved by the uneven trajectory of LMS, his rise and fall, and his melancholic journey through old age.
    The book is far from being perfect (at times one feels that episodes and famous characters are “thrown in” simply to make the story interesting and keep the momentum), but Boyd is a wonderful writer and little by little seduces and engages deeply the reader.
    All in all, I truly enjoyed it !

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Sport and a Pastime

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By James Salter
    • Narrated By Jeff Woodman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    "As nearly perfect as any American fiction I know," is how Reynolds Price (The New York Times) described this classic that has been a favorite of readers, both here and in Europe, for almost forty years. Set in provincial France in the 1960s, it is the intensely carnal story - part shocking reality, part feverish dream - of a love affair between a footloose Yale dropout and a young French girl. There is the seen and the unseen - and pages that burn with a rare intensity.

    antonio says: "Grace, lust and melancholy"
    "Grace, lust and melancholy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    South of France, late 50s…Imagine Dean, a young man a young man dropout of a prestigious university (I immediately thought of James Dean), meeting Marie, a young woman (think of Jean Seberg ) who works as a clerk in a small company. He is rich, reckless, charming and a daydreamer. Drives a luxurious cabriolet, but lives on borrowed money. She is quiet, low profile, modest and passionate. They meet, make love, and travel all over France in his borrowed car. Theirs is affection with sex, probably not love; complicity without true communication, melancholy without dreams. All along there is a lingering sense of disaster inevitably approaching.

    James Salter is a wonderful writer: his prose is elegant and delicate and the characters are beautifully sketched out. The sex scenes are explicitly described, but Dean and Marie feelings are portrayed in a fuzzy, tentative way as they were a distant dream. The sense of the passing time –that is so present in all his books- and the magnificent atmosphere of the changing seasons in South of France are a wonderful background to the story.

    A great book of a superb author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Woodcutter

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 34 mins)
    • By Reginald Hill
    • Narrated By Jonathan Keeble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1201)
    Performance
    (895)
    Story
    (890)

    Wolf Hadda's life was a fairytale - successful businessman and adored husband. But a knock on the door one morning ends it all. Universally reviled, thrown into prison, Wolf retreats into silence. Seven years later Wolf begins to talk to the prison psychiatrist and receives parole to return home. But there's a mysterious period in Wolf's past when he was known as the Woodcutter. Now the Woodcutter is back, looking for truth and revenge...

    Diana says: "One of my favorite Reginald Hill books!"
    "A great read !"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was not familiar with the author, but a ravish review from a listener i am following - thanks Mindusk.-;) - triggered my curiosity and i finally decided to go for it. I am glad i did it : i spent 16 hours of pure enjoyment . The plot sounds trivial : the fairytale life of a successful businessman and adored husband comes abruptly to an end in 24 hours : betrayed by the people he loved and trusted, he is financially ruined, physically handicapped after barely surviving a car crash and jailed. From then onwards it is only a matter of survival and revenge . Sounds familiar ? It is , but this book is much more than a new take of the Montecristo count or similar stories. It is engaging, exceptional and complex and very well written. A pure enjoyment !

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: The Incas: Inside an American Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Terence N. D'Altroy
    • Narrated By Terence N. D'Altroy
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (32)
    Story
    (34)

    The story of the Incas is a powerful one, and their legacy remains a potent influence in the Andes of South America. In this insightful lecture series, Columbia University professor Terence D'Altroy focuses on Inca life at the height of the empire, the society's origins, its military, religion, ruling structure, and finally, the Inca legacy today.

    Ullanta says: "Interesting, comprehensive intro to the Incas"
    "ok, but a bit too didactic"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is more a book addressed to students that need to learn about the different aspects of the Incas civilization for a specific exam, than to "average Joe" interested to learn about the history of a great civilization in all its vibrant aspects . The clash with the Spaniards and the end of the Incas empire is dealt quickly in the last chapter , almost as it was an addendum to the details of the religious ceremonials or of the variety of the Incas pottery.
    The recording (and at times the reading) of prof D'Altroy is at times poor ; not a big deal, but gives a sense of sloppiness

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Cobra

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 45 mins)
    • By Deon Meyer
    • Narrated By Saul Reichlin
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Why would a mathematics professor from Cambridge University, renting a holiday home outside Cape Town, require a false identity and three bodyguards? And where is he, now that they are dead? The only clue to the bodyguards' murder is the snake engraved on the shell casings of the bullets that killed them. Investigating the massacre, Benny Griessel and his team find themselves being drawn into an international conspiracy with shocking implications.

    chris says: "How good is Deon Meyer"
    "Deon Meyer can play in the top league........"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A very complex plot set in the South Africa , a vibrant country full of contrasts and charms. Deon Meyer delivers yet a very readable and enjoyable book. Having been a fan of Deon Meyer from his beginning, i have however a couple of criticisms to make. First, it seems that too much emphasis is made on keeping the story moving fast ,upbeat, at all the time tense. Second, Meyer seems to focus more on engineering a complex and articulated plot than on developing the characters. The first Meyer's books were perhaps slow moving , but the reader would enter into the atmosphere of the country and the depth of the characters. This is what am looking for (even in a thriller book) and , ultimately, what makes the difference between a "good" and a "great" book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Long Line of Dead Men: A Matthew Scudder Crime Novel, Book 12

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 43 mins)
    • By Lawrence Block
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    An ancient brotherhood meets annually in the back room of a swank Manhattan restaurant, a fraternity created in secret to celebrate life by celebrating its dead. But the past three decades have not been kind to the Club of 31. Matthew Scudder - ex-cop and ex-boozer - has known death in all its guises, which is why he has been asked to investigate a baffling thirty-year run of suicides and suspiciously random accidents that has thinned the ranks of this very select group of gentlemen.

    antonio says: "One of Matt Scudder better stories..."
    "One of Matt Scudder better stories..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I’ve read in “real time” all the Scudder’s books as they were published, but the pleasure to listen to listen to them few years later has not changed. In this story we find a Matt Scudder going trough a more settled period of his life (living with Elaine and working with TJ , almost like a “normal” detective). The plot is a more conventional of a mystery/thriller story –and a bit reminiscent of Agatha Christie. A group of young 31 "honorable" men engage themselves to meet every year –bound in a sort of life-long fraternity- until the last remaining member alone will be alive. After a few years one member suspects that too many of them are dying too young and in too large numbers. Scudder is hired to investigate and…..
    This mystery has a pleasant pace with an intriguing scenario supported by great dialogue and interesting NY characters. A must read !

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: History of Ancient Greece

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Eric H. Cline
    Overall
    (134)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (67)

    In this series of lectures, professor Eric H. Cline delves into the history of ancient Greece, frequently considered to be the founding nation of democracy in Western civilization. Ancient Greece lives on in modern culture, evidenced by an ever-present fascination with the tales of Homer, Greek drama, and the stories associated with Greek mythology. In the rise of Sparta and Athens, people today find a wealth of material for understanding not only ancient Greece, but the modern world.

    David says: "Excellent survey"
    "A good survey : listenable , but a bit light..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you've a vague or no idea of the ancient Greek history and you'd like to know the big picture , this book is for you. The history is presented with clarity and it is easy to follow. However for more knowledgeable readers this is far too light , i.e more an high school book than a source for more academic information. The author goes trough smoothly major events and anecdotes without really trying to raise and discuss more interesting issues that go behind battles and kings.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Silkworm: Cormoran Strike, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Robert Galbraith
    • Narrated By Robert Glenister
    Overall
    (219)
    Performance
    (200)
    Story
    (204)

    When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives - so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.

    Anne says: "Another great mystery with Cormoran Strike."
    "Good , but not great"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The first Comoran Strike book was a truly surprise where a well-known writer like JKR could establish herself as a credible and engaging thriller writer. A solid and interesting plot, well carved out characters and a great atmosphere made the The Cuckoos Calling a very enjoyable reading experience.
    This second book meets only partially the expectations raised by the first episode of what appears now to be a series. The plot is unduly complex and not so credible; all the characters –with the exception of Comoran and his assistant – could potentially be the killer (so there are really no clues to pick up here and there and it feels like the author choses him through a lottery at the very end of the story). The main character, Comoran Strike, comes across a bit pedantic and mousy with a continue self-pity for his physical condition and the unresolved end of relationship with his ex.
    Do not get me wrong: this is still a reasonably good book and I had no difficulty in finishing it; however the expectations were (too) high and have not been matched…

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Devil Knows You're Dead: A Matthew Scudder Crime Novel, Book 11

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Lawrence Block
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    In New York City, there is little sense and no rules, and those who fly the highest often come crashing down the hardest. A deranged, derelict, crazed Vietnam vet has been arrested for gunning down successful young lawyer Glenn Holtzmann at a corner phone booth on 11th Avenue - and the suspect's brother wants unlicensed private investigator Matthew Scudder to prove the madman innocent. But Scudder's curiosity and dedication are leading him to dark, unexplored places in his own heart…and to passions and secrets that could destroy everything he loves.

    antonio says: "A journey between murder and melancholy"
    "A journey between murder and melancholy"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Matthew Scudder’ s books are not the typical detective story where a detective -the good guy- solves a mystery of a murder and gets the bad guy behind the bars and where suspense, violence and intensity are the basic ingredients of the plot. There is a bit (at times a lot) of all this in Scudder’s stories, but there is much more. Scudder is continuously in a soul-searching mode, engaged in a journey towards redemption from his demons (alcohol, bad memories, life failures). He does all this without rhetoric or drama; he is a man with a natural sense of self-reflection combined with a self-deprecating sense of humour. He is also smart, though when needed and a great at reading people behaviours.
    In this particular book Scudder is asked to help solve the mystery of the death of a prosperous lawyer; a presumed killer is caught by the police, but …. Other more personal events cross Matt’s journey toward the truth and allow different levels of reflection, which the standards detective books do not usually do.
    New York provides a fantastic background to the story and Joe Barret is as good as it gets.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Cairo Affair

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Olen Steinhauer
    • Narrated By Edoardo Ballerini
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (308)
    Performance
    (272)
    Story
    (275)

    Sophie Kohl is living her worst nightmare. Minutes after she confesses to her husband, a mid-level diplomat at the American embassy in Hungary, that she had an affair while they were in Cairo, he is shot in the head and killed. Stan Bertolli, a Cairo-based CIA agent, has fielded his share of midnight calls. But his heart skips a beat when he hears the voice of the only woman he ever truly loved, calling to ask why her husband has been assassinated.

    Darwin8u says: "In the widening gyre"
    "Not engaging..."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The book is off to a great start : the reader is immediately taken into the suspense of what appears to be a very captivating story where personal passions, politics and mistery are intermingled and the main characters seem like the pieces of a grand chess game that is played in Cairo, Budapest, Washington....But little by little the readers' excitment fades away : too many characters , too many useless details and too many levels of a story too complicated . Steinhauer knows how to write : his characters are credible and you can smell the scent of Cairo when it talks about the city , but , by losing focus,he fails to maintain the right tension and the sense of purpose and loses the reader attention. By the end of the book i was no longer engaged ...and was glad it was finished.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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