©2004 Bryce Courtenay; (P)2004 Bolinda Publishing Pty. Ltd.
This was a surprise as I had not heard of this author prior to this book. It has a really good story line - ties things up a little too neat at the end but still a must listen.
Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!
I'm leaving this review because I did not read anywhere that there would be songs in this "audiobook". I don't mean the author wrote a line or two of a song, as I've seen done in many audiobooks in the past. I mean, this guy wrote out the ENTIRE song into the story, and the poor narrator had to sing it in its entirety! The narrator is GREAT, by the way, but I didn't get this book to have songs sung to me... especially songs I don't like. It's an audio-BOOK, NOT an album of gospel music!!
To add salt to the wound, this book is VERY VERY VERY slow, after about a third of the way through it. Seriously, do we need to know about every little thing these characters do on a daily basis?? I half expected this author to go into detail about the breathing and sleeping habits of the main character at any time, describing and counting each breath, up to a million.
Yes, it is JUST THAT BORING. I'm not kidding.
I read "The Power Of One" and I thought it was fantastic. I have absolutely no idea how this book is rated as highly as it is, because it is a far cry from that one. It's as if the author literally was sleep walking through this one. It is so painfully boring.
An interesting story with lots of interesting historical facts. The narrator does an amazing job on this one. I recommend this book.
NV, not NY
So far I've read The Power of One, Tandia, and now Brother Fish. I loved them all and appreciate the fact that Courtenay writes long books. In the end they're never long enough. This story had the unexpected surprise of partially taking place in the area where I grew up, and when one of the characters is taken to the hospital where I was born, I burst out laughing. I know, I know, this has nothing to do with critiquing the book.
This book actually contains four major stories, all of them fastenating. I just downloaded The Potatoe Factory - the first in a trilogy, and I can't wait to be taken away by this masterful story teller yet again. Courtenay isn't perfect, but when you're in love, you tend to overlook the small stuff. When I look at how many books Courtenay has on Audible, it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.
I loved this book! This is my first Bryce Courtenay book and I am looking forward to listening to others. The story is multifaceted and the characters are outstanding. The narration is excellent. I was not bored by the first part as many other reviewers were.
I have listened to 6 Bryce Courtenay novels and this is the best. "Tommo & Hawk" is close, but the story line and the unforgettable characters (esp. Brother Fish, Jimmy and the Countess) of this novel are outstanding. Just as importantly, the extremely talented Humphrey Bower's wide range of voices allows you to live every moment in the story.
To put icing on the cake, the conclusion doesn't require the reader to purchase anti-depressant pills.
Wow! I loved it! What a wonderful read! Thank you B. Courtenay, thank you H. Bower and thank you audible.com.
My very first BC book. Loved it, spend hours in car and on the road to find out what is going to happen next. The shortest 30 hours of listning and there is plenty more in the story to fill another 30 hours. It keeps you busy and thinking all the time. I cried, smiled, laughed, got very angry at the wrongs and enjoyed the truimphs.
While Humphrey Bower has done a wonderful job reading the book, as usual, Courtenay has not lived upto the mark -- especially when you compare this work with Power of One and Tandia. Those two books were simply awesome and left me with a great feeling after reading them.
Bryce once again shows his strong feelings against racism as in his first 2 books, which is appreciable. But the quality of the oveall story is no match to his first 2 books.
I dont think I will listen to this book again unless I am bored to death!
This is one of the best downloads in my two years as a member of Audible. Although the battle scenes were somewhat graphic and overlong, they set the stage for some amazing events. The character development is superb. I loved the reader as well as he was amazing in his ability to do Australian, British, Irish, and American accents.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
This is typical Courtenay fare. We always get a character (or two) with a hard-luck beginning, tons of familial dysfunction and - after trials and tribulations - redemption. With this book there's at least 3 of those characters, depending on your definition of hard-luck. I would never have listened to more than a few hours if it had not been for one thing - Humphrey Bower. One of the characters is such a perfect fit for his expert narration that it saves the entire thing.
This book is too long by 25%, too repetitive and too fantastical to call it historical fiction. Courtenay has a way of picking up a phrase and beating it into the ground unmercifully for an entire book. In spite of that, it's a great listen just because of Humphrey Bower. Really. He's that good.
This book is simply the best audiobook I have downloaded to date and held me for all the 30+ hours of it!
"A nominee for Best Book list. "
One would be forgiven for thinking that this is an autobiography. I had to keep reminding myself that this is fiction, and yet the book has a definite sense of truth. There are harrowing images of the Korean war which must be first-hand descriptions of real experience. The prisoner of war experiences feel awfully truthful. Clearly a huge amount of research and many personal stories have been gathered to be welded together to construct a well crafted, very satisfying read. This is a book which will draw you in until you are thoroughly engrossed and reluctant to waste time sleeping when you could be listening. This is in no small part due to Humphrey Bower's outstanding ability to voice the characters. His range encompasses deep, dark African-American, Chinese both male and female, young and old, even an American-Chinese accent, not to mention shades of his native Australian and posh English. And for goodness sake he can sing in tune!
Bryce Courtenay has the ability to make his books very authentic. He can find the essence of what motivates the human heart and how people think and then show you what happens next. And he makes you want to find out.
The combination of narrator and author makes this an unmissable book. If you only buy one Audible book, make it this one.
The whole storyline was amazing!
I find his voice keeps my attention and is easy to follow
No, too long
I found the book was a little confusing at the beginning but once I got into it, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Very emotional in parts and as I listen to my audio books at work, found I was sat with tears streaming down my face! trying not to let anyone see!
excellent as always Bryce Courtenay.
heartwarming, intriguing story of 3 unlikely friends. bittersweet but truly enjoyable.
This is a great story and is told well. It's the story of a young Australian man born in a poor Tasmanian fishing community and his best mate. This is a difficult one for a reader as the setting moves from Russia to China to America but he does a truly great job in that you really don't notice him 'doing' voices. The reader is pretty good at accents, I greatly admired his Cantonese & German pronunciation (!) and his singing voice was pretty good.
I imagine Jacko is everyone's favourite character as he is a real 'everyman' type. A good bloke with all the normal flaws and foibles. I really liked the other characters too, Jacko was the one I could best relate to.
A rip roaring roller coaster of a novel with mafia and soldiers.
I think I got this in some sort of promotion audible had, it's not my normal sort of book, but it got good reviews and so I took a chance. I am so glad I did! I wanted to give it to a friend as a 'real book' and I had to get a second hand copy from Australia. Thank you to audible and audible listeners who reviewed it, it was excellent.
"Lots more than a fishy story"
Epic saga around the Korean War and lasting friendships.
The bonds of friendship formed between people from such different backgrounds
Versatile, some accents more difficult to understand
Wonderful characterization, set against the harsh background of the little understood Korean War and then the long road to success won by taking huge risks and working hard towards a common goal
A lovely lighthearted story which evokes every emotion at some stage. The narration was superb, Humphrey Bower is a master at accents. A very enjoyable book!
THe story about the Korean War was fascinating and very informative. This is not an area that many know about and the book is worth listening to for this.
Humphrey Bower narrates the story very well and brings it to life. Very pleased I bought this.
"courtney produces another triumph"
My first experience of Bryce Courtenay was the moving Power of One which lifted my spirits at a time of personal anguish. His characters are so real and vibrant that his books can be an emotionally exhausting read as he subjects his beautiful flawed creations to the most awful trials and hardships. You just yearn for something to work out well for a change!
Here is another beautifully woven story, unfurling against the backdrop of the Korean war (which I knew little about). My heart stopped several times and fellow commuters looked strangely at me when I laughed aloud, sniffled back a tear or even gasped at the sudden dramas while sitting on the train.
If you are a fan of BC then you are going to love this book. If you are coming to him for the first time then please please listen to the Power of One - you will never forget it!
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