©1991 Mark Helprin; (P)2007 BBC Audiobooks America
"Extraordinary....a vast, ambitious, spiritually lusty, all-guzzling, all-encompassing novel." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A rousing tale....riotous energy and sustained brilliance....Helprin lights his own way, in his ownsingular direction." (Time)
"A gripping, poignant and universally relevant moral fable." (Publishers Weekly)
It took me awhile to finish this book as the tragedy of Italy in the first World War portrayed in this book was not always easy to listen to. The adventures of the protagonist, his near executions and the depiction of the thousands upon thousands of lives lost in a senseless war were gut-wrenching. However this is a fascinating look at WW I from the Italian side as they fought against the Germans, Austrians and Hungarians. This is a book to be savored again.
I was captured right away by the story of Allesandro and the beautiful country that he lived and fought in. I feel drawn to go and visit the painting and the mountains. What a beautifully written story of a tragic yet full life.
One of the great reads of my lifetime. Story, characters, word choice, imagery, humor, thought provocation, action, inspiration, love... This book has it all!
An intelligently written fictional account of one soldier of WW1 "the Great War" At times his exploits and narrow escapes make the book stagger dangerously near the sharp edge between fiction and fantasy writing. However the author is to be forgiven his desire to bring into focus the full range of war's folly and tragic consequences. Had the book's central character not been inclined to consider all the great and insoluble existential conundrums it would have failed to grip me through 28 long hours of listening. (Coincidentally I heard a live performance of Mahler's Resurrection Symphony, #2, which amplified the novel's concluding lines. Transcendent!). Still it falls a hair short of being one of the worlds great works.
I adored this book when I read it many years ago and was looking forward to happy hours hearing it. The narrator was, in my opinion, too young and too modern sounding for the story. His voice made it 'cute' This is not a cute book. Save that sort of narration for comedy or a modern tale. Not this. VERY disappointed
Another reader altogether as described in the first box
Turn it off
too bad I didn't return it in time. Total waste of a credit.
One of my all time favorite books. Mark Helprin is brilliant in his detailed storytelling. Title might suggest it's all about the war but there are several stories going on.
The reader Colacci is a bit overly dramatic at times but I gave the performance a 5 Star nonetheless.
I HIGHLY recommend this work.
The writing was exceptional and wise. I love a work that stretches my edges, challenges my unperceived biases, and instructs in a manner that demands I reach my own conclusions rather than its rigid pedagogy. All that bound in two beautifully interwoven personal stories. The aged, remarkably tested, and wise imparts his mentoring on the young, inexperienced, and uneducated, with the real pressure of realization of accelerating mortality. Listen, read, remember, and absorb. You will exit a better creation!
I wanted to like this more than i did - like there were really good parts... if i could - i'd probably go 3 1/2 stars. It just seemed like, given the age of the narrator at the beginning, that the story was going to cover more of his life. But it's really about just before the war, the war, and then it's impact on his life. I quite enjoyed it, just found it a bit long given the scope of time it covered. And this may be totally my own incorrect expectations (after all, it is named for the "Great War"), but there were whole sections i found just seemed to go on too long. Well written, well narrated overall tho. Recommended.
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