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barbara

arlington, ma USA | Member Since 2009

19
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 5 reviews
  • 8 ratings
  • 346 titles in library
  • 27 purchased in 2014
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  • The Round House: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Louise Erdrich
    • Narrated By Gary Farmer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1108)
    Performance
    (947)
    Story
    (946)

    One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and 13-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe's life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared.

    Tony says: "MADE THE LISTS OF BEST BOOKS!"
    "An amazing story by a compelling storyteller"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Don't give up on the narrator--the story itself is well worth listening to, and the narration improves slowly as the story builds, especially in the second half. I found the book to be excellent, the storyline exciting and fascinating, and the characters well-drawn. The story is told through the eyes of a 13-year-old native American boy, which is quite a feat for a 58-year-old woman writer, and she pulls it off beautifully. The narrator is apparently an American Indian actor, but he is so unskilled at narrating that I almost gave up on the book at first. He does the strangest things with sentences, often coming full-stop after the verb, and seeming to start a new sentence (as in, "He laid his bike against the fence. Before he went into the woods.") His inflection is all over the map, oftentimes obscuring the meaning of the words he's reading. (Didn't he practice ahead of time, one wonders?) As the story builds in intensity, however, the narrator seems to fall into a more normal inflection pattern, and contributes to the excitement of the story instead of detracting from it, as he does in the first half of the book. In any case, the story is so compelling that I stuck with it, and was so glad I did...even gasping and weeping a few times. Thank you, Louise Erdrich.

    15 of 18 people found this review helpful
  • The Broken Shore

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Peter Temple
    • Narrated By Peter Hosking
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (102)
    Performance
    (40)
    Story
    (40)

    Shaken by a scrape with death, big-city detective Joe Cashin is posted away from the homicide squad to the quiet town on the South Australian coast where he grew up. Carrying physical scars and not a little guilt, he spends his time playing the country cop, walking his dogs and thinking about how it all was before. But when a prominent local is attacked and left for dead in his own home, Cashin is thrust into what becomes a murder investigation.

    John says: "Dripping With Local Color"
    "Slow to build, tricky to listen to"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    I loved listening to the Aussie accent, and I gave this book my full attention, but it was tricky and at times difficult to listen to. Peter Temple writes prose in small, clipped phrases as opposed to fully grammatical sentence structure, and the Aussie uplift at the end of each phrase made it a little difficult to follow a narrative arc. At times I felt I was being pelted by phrases. I really had to work at it. Combine that with a novel whose first 4-6 hours of listening were only setting the stage for the major plot developments, which finally began to pick up speed and weaves together in the last 2 hours of listening--I needed a lot of patience and concentration. At times, I felt that I was listening to a book in a foreign language--I missed a number of Aussie-localized references and humor. And unfortunately I found the grotesqueries over-the-top, unbelievable, and sensationalized. Having said that, I gave it my best shot and listened all the way through, so that must mean something, but I don't think I'll have the energy for another Peter Temple book for quite awhile.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Sweet Tooth

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Ian McEwan
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (711)
    Performance
    (604)
    Story
    (607)

    Winner of such prestigious honors as the Booker Prize and Whitbread Award, Ian McEwan is justifiably regarded as a modern master. Set in 1972, Sweet Tooth follows Cambridge student Serena Frome, whose intelligence and beauty land her a job with England's intelligence agency, MI5. In an attempt to monitor writers' politics, MI5 tasks Serena with infiltrating the literary circle of author Tom Healy. But soon matters of trust and identity subvert the operation.

    Susianna says: "Perfect Book for your Literary Sweet Tooth"
    "Definitely in my top 5 all-time great audiobooks"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    This audiobook was compelling, riveting, beautifully written, and expertly narrated. It is an intriguing tour-de-force. I highly recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Inheritance of Loss

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Kiran Desai
    • Narrated By Meera Simhan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (361)
    Performance
    (117)
    Story
    (120)

    In a crumbling, isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga lives an embittered old judge. He only wants to retire in peace, but then his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, arrives on his doorstep. The judge's chatty cook watches over her, but his thoughts are mostly with his son, Biju, who is hop-scotching from one New York restaurant job to another. A novel of depth and emotion, Desai's second, long-awaited novel fulfills the grand promise established by her first.

    Bob says: "Gorgeous prose but grim"
    "Best book in a long, long time"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is by far one of the most wonderful listening experiences I've had in a long time. Meera Simhan's narration was outstanding, and Kiran Desai's story was excellent. I want to start at the beginning and listen all over again. The characters are varied and fascinating, the historical events are woven into the story beautifully, the imagery of the geographical area of Kalimpong is stunning, and the internal lives of the characters are drawn with such finesse that this book is compelling and nuanced. Bravo to Kiran Desai and Meera Simhan.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By Nathaniel Philbrick
    • Narrated By Scott Brick
    Overall
    (675)
    Performance
    (312)
    Story
    (318)

    The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the 19th century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the 20th. In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with 20 crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than 90 days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival.

    Craig says: "Fascinating"
    "Outstanding"
    Overall

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was gripping, at times horrifying, and completely engaging. It brings the history of the whaleship Essex alive, and it's one of the most compelling stories I've ever heard.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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