Overall, I loved this mosaic of memories of Iranian life before, during and after the revolution that deposed the monarchy. The book is unevenly writen, however--bits of journals, class notes (literally), encounters with morality militia, and classroom observation strung together with literary reflection of varying quality. In places there are details of remembered weather, conversations, or manner of dress that don't seem--at least in the detail given--of import to the narrative. Sometimes the author seems to try too hard to be "literary" and in other places she lapses into word by word replay of a conversation when a summary sentence would have served as well.
The best two aspects of the book are its ability to take the listener "behind the veil" in Islamist Iran, and its reflection/discussion on the novels studied by the author and her Iranian students.
Overall it's a wonderful portrait of Iran during the aftermath of the 1979 revolution and during the 8 year war with Iraq, but don't expect a linear narrative. I think this book is more interesting if you've read the novels that wind their way through the narrative (particularly Lolita, Great Gatsby, Daisy Miller, Washington Square, Pride and Prejudice, and Madam Bovary), but having read them is not necessary. Although the discussion contains some "spoilers," you might be motivated to read novels that you've skipped.
Throughout the listen I vacillated about whether or not I liked the narration style: At times I thought it affected and stilted; other times I thought it suited the tone of the prose.
This is a unique, though not easy, listen -- "not easy listening" because of the memoir's style rather than graphic violence or challenging ideas. However, if you listen to many books, a change of style can be refreshing. By the end I felt acqauinted with author, and that's probably the best outcome for a memoir.
Not saccharine-cozy, certainly not hard-boiled, this includes a decent mystery with humour and nice late 60s period touch. What the author gets refreshingly right is that overused "younger eager investigator --- older senior officer" relationship. The Beatles background is just a small part of the period setting; more prominent are the changing gender roles, sexual mores (nothing explicit though), and race/ethnic group relations. And it was better written than most of its kind. The Whispersync price was a great bargain when I purchased. I hope there are more "Tozer and Breen" books on the way - I could have tried a series binge, based on this one.
This isn't too sentimental (nor too gruesome) and convincingly recreates the possible development of one possible truce situation in the 1914 trenches. It doesn't directly address any BIG questions, other than the very powerful one posed by the truces themselves. I liked that it highlighted the conditions in the trenches, again without being too gruesome for family listening. I'm so happy to see commemoration of the centenary of the Truce since so many battles are so well remembered.
I"ve had Hill's Serailler series in my wish list for years, but hesitated to hit "buy." This short is just OK; however, the listen tells me enough to know that I will enjoy a full length Hill listen-- a well-written modern take on a village cozy with police procedural added, somewhere between the depth of PD James and the lightness of Deborah Crombie. The excellent narration lives up to the positive reviews of Pacey as the voice of this series.
American detective fiction tries to be too action packed or grisly for me, cozies tend to be too cute, and I usually skip anything containing the PI acronym-- but I’m very glad I took a chance on this. The Sam McCain series seems to be the same “weight” of a Charlotte MacLeod, with similar gentle humour, humanism and craftsmanship. McCain is a young small town PI/lawyer who sleeps with his cats since his romantic ideal eludes him; He confers with his Mom and Dad and gets sick if he drinks alcohol (but still it doesn’t get too cute).
Gorman is I think an older author, and there is thread of respect for elders and veterans running throughout the three in the series that I’ve enjoyed so far. This is more “nostalgic” rather than historical fiction written with modern sensibility, but that made it a better comfort read, the kind of mystery that soothes a head cold and relieves tension from listening to too much about current affairs. I get the feeling that Gorman is capable of much heavier fiction, but he gifted the world with some needed diversion instead.
Pinchot's narration was perfect. I bought the book as a Kindle edition first, thinking it would be better as a speed read, but it was written and narrated so well that I recommend the audio (check whisper sync price).
The “coming of age” descriptor put me off, but once I started this novel, my ears ate it up – It’s like a young Scottish Colin Bateman all fired up. Not today’s youth but those becoming political aware circa millennium are chronicled in this comedy of manners. It reminded me of why elder writers like William Boyd ought not try to re-create Bertie Wooster but instead let young writers write about fresher experience for Wodesonian humour. If you’ve ever marched against the Man (be it Vietnam, Cruise, Iraq or a 1% Logo) OR if you’ve ever wanted to understand those that have— try this.
warning: lovely working class Scots English narration (*listen to sample!) and MUCH chronological anarchy in the history this weaves
This is very faithful to the original, and well recast in 21st century teen talk--- however, take the period out of Austen, and you have a light chic lit tale, too often told. I thought McDermid might bring out the darker satire of Northanger – my biggest concern before downloading was how would I react to McDermid’s usual graphic violence in an Austen classic – no worry! This re-telling will not alarm the most squeamish. I kept waiting for some kind of twist, so I kept listening (well, there’s one tiny cute twist, coming from McDermid). My time would have been better spent re-listening to Juliet Stephenson reading the original. Like an Oxford School paraphrasing of a Shakespeare play – why bother if you want more than the bare story, and if you just want the bare story, why go on (and on) about tweeting Twilight and other modern teen concerns? If the intent was to make the novel more accessible to younger audiences, I think that’s a miss, too: the beauty of Austen is that she draws readers into more complex prose and period. Perhaps if the market weren’t flooded with Austen spin-offs, this might have been a novelty at least.
P.S. The blurbs in the publisher’s summary MUST be about other McDermid novels!
I thought Hardcastle might be a binge series for me, but I couldn't become engaged with this instalment. I like the early WWI English setting, I like the attempt at slice-of-working-class-life, and even the central mystery was OK - - but the recipe didn't cook for me. The author repeatedly tries to interpret FOR the reader very simple dialogue and actions--- without these interruptions and some extraneous and drawn out details of weeks spent travelling from Hardcastle's home station to the scene of crime area(s) and back, I might have found this a quietly satisfying whodunnit, albeit with thin characterization. I chose this instalment because it is the first in chronological order (rather than order written), and I'd expect the author to know his craft better. It's a series I want to like, but unless there are some good reader reviews for other novels, I won't be downloading more. The WWI setting earned it a third star from me.
The first half of #8 in this series felt very deja vu and second rate for a McDermid, but second half contained her usual engrossing storyline. However, for me, enduring the usual Mcdermid graphic, domestic-inspired violence wasn’t worth the second-half story. If you’re not planning on listening to all of the Tony Hill-Carol Jordan series, skip this one -- On the other hand, if you’re going to read only one in the series and don’t mind the graphic descriptions of brutally abused women, this might be THE one, as it could stand alone (despite its ties to The Retribution, #7). Also this one involves Paula MacIntyre more than most others, so it might be of interest to those who like her character. I winced at the violence, but I learned from McDermid's observations on human nature.
The usual ending that sees Tony and Carol's relationship heading around a new bend is marred by the omission of the "You have been listening to..." statement before the inclusion of a clever short story by McDermid - to me this is a three star novel with an extra star for the short story (once I figured out it wasn't the next chapter of the novel!). Narrator Doyle is excellent as usual.
If you like to relax or treat a head cold with a Heyer-like escape, you know how rare such reads are. I've given up trying authors who are supposed to Heyer-like; however, I really needed a break from reality when I saw this among Audible's new releases. This is the best-of-its-classification I've come across in many listens: "sweet" without being saccharine or too silly, well-written, and well-narrated. Although it has an expected plot and Regency-a-la-Heyer world - like Heyer, it's just very diverting and witty.
I was always uneasy with the undertones of family violence/threat of violence in many Heyers and Heyer-homages (Heroes who feel like "boxing ears" or "shaking" women); this novel is refreshingly free from such patterns. And the author manages to avoid remixing Heyer's overused cliches while including mixing reader favourites (and nods to Austen). I hope Smith has more like these! I am tempted to rate as five starts, just because it can't be easy to strike the right balance in these novels, and attempts at old fashioned Regencies are getting rarer, even with the explosion of contemporary stories cloaked in Regency clothes (often losing even the clothes).
I’ve never read Ian Fleming so I know Bond only as the film icon; however, I like Boyd and wanted to see what kind of Bond he would create for late 60s Britain.
This is a very uneven novel --- I enjoyed moving through world of the novel with this very ordinary (almost pedestrian) Bond ---when it involved a London neighbourhood or especially West Africa. Other parts, particularly Bond’s romantic encounters, are written in a "workman-like", second rate manner. I wonder if that was intentional, so much does it depart from the fine detail of other sections.
Bond is a man of his times in many ways, but a mainstream 60s hero wouldn’t adopt his positions. Would any Bond enjoy the feeling of being in a woman station head's "capable hands"? or "His powerless made him want to weep" or "Bond began to feel a debilitating sense of impotence"? Perhaps this is a triumph -- The novel (outside of bedroom snapshots) didn't conjure up any movie Bond but a distinct character.
Battles (army battles) and fights abound -- not gory however. No gizmos are involved. Neither is there explicit sex – the encounters are what 007 film goers wold expect, and rather corny. The setting suggests of Nigeria--Biafra in late 60s - early 70s, but those elements were not developed as much as I would have liked (though this is almost a post-colonial bond).
I felt that the novel didn't gel for me and suspect that Boyd enjoyed writing a Bond but perhaps was restrained by external parameters and didn't put his human heart in all of the writing. I liked the parts that were Boyd---William Boyd, so I will stick to William Boyd novels.
Well narrated in a restrained style.
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