©2004 Bryce Courtenay; (P)2004 Bolinda Publishing Pty. Ltd.
Once again Bryce Courtney carries the day, to say nothing of the ever magnificent Humphrey Bower. It took me weeks to listen to this book, simply because I rationed it out over time. I did not want it to end. As other reviewers have mentioned, it's almost like 3 or 4 different novels in one.
Humphrey Bower is a tour de force in narration. In this novel he excelled, whether in providing good approximations of Korean, Chinese, Russian, Irish,deep southern drawl, German and Polish (probably missed a half dozen) accents. He also sings well enough to carry those portions of the story. Don't miss this book.
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.
I decided to download Brother Fish after having listened to The Power of One and Tandia and having thoroughly enjoyed both books had great expectations for Brother Fish. I was not disappointed, but must agree with previous reviewers that I did find it a bit tedious at times. I found myself becoming annoyed with the number of times (actually lost count) the full name of Nicole Lenoir-Jourdan was repeated but toward the end of the book the name was finally shortened to Nicole. I know she was a principal character, but I think her name should have been shortened sooner in the story. Humphrey Bower's narration is superb and without his talent I might not have finished this book. Having said that, I would not hesitate to read/listen to
other Bryce Courtney books.
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.
An interesting story with lots of interesting historical facts. The narrator does an amazing job on this one. I recommend this book.
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 starts out as a 5-star book. In the last third it slows down a bit as the story of the third main character is told first person past tense. This part loses some of the energy and character development. Overall, this is still a very good book which I'd recommend.
Audiobooks are BOOKS.! I hate reviews that complain about the narrator for not being an actor. Use your mind the same as when you read.
This book has been on sale several times, and I've considered it each time. I like long books, if they're good, and this book had lots of good reviews. But then I'd read the blurb and tell myself that I don't like war stories and I don't like stories that span the globe, or fishing stories, etc. Well finally I told myself, "Just do it!" And I did.
I found myself absorbed almost from the very first sentence. It's very hard to explain why. I guess that's why the blurb didn't convince me. I don't know how to describe the plot without mentioning all the things that I "don't like," but those things are not what the story is about.
One thing is, when describing horrific war scenes and incidents of bigotry and other unpleasantness, it would be very easy to make the reader feel oppressed or weighed down by the story, and I'm really not into that. It didn't happen here. It may be due, in part, to the fact that Jacko is telling the story from a distance of 50 years. He was able to be a bit more lighthearted about it. That is not to say that he trivialized those things, but was more focused on the good that came out of those experiences. I felt confident that, though I didn't know what would happen, the man telling the story did, and it was all gonna be okay. I shed some tears, but then things moved along. I also laughed a lot.
For some reason, when I think about how the author described the horrors of war, it made me think of the Italian, Benigni film "Life Is Beautiful." There's really no similarity whatsoever, but in the film, the father is trying to make his son think that they are on vacation and not in a concentration camp. Without detracting from the awfulness of the situation, we are made to smile and even laugh at the father's efforts to keep up the spirits of his son. Other prisoners pick up on what he is doing and get in on the act, and, at least temporarily, have their own spirits lifted. Without that, it would be very hard to keep watching, with the knowledge of what is really happening. I got a similar feeling during the P.O.W. camp portions of this book. I suppose it's because of the way Jimmy was able to motivate the apathetic prisoners into taking care of themselves and each other.
But don't get the idea that that's all the book is about. The war ends, of course, and there is a lot of story to tell about the intervening years, as well as the years before. And it's interesting. I hated to quit listening to do other things, like sleep.
This was all helped along, of course, by the brilliant narration of Humphrey Bower. He was able to do a wide range of accents and voices, and he did them very well and consistently, and was still easy to understand. I don't need accents and voices in order to enjoy a book, but when they're done well, it's a beautiful thing.
So, it took me a long time to finally listen to this book, but I'm very glad I did. I highly recommend this book to just about anyone.
Having recently listened to The Power of One and truly loved the writing, characterisation and reading, I was keen to go for another BC novel. On the strength of the Audible reviews I chose Brother Fish. I can honestly say that I abandoned it with a heavy heart as usually I let something I am not that keen on roll on when walking the dog etc. However, I could not continue with this trite Boys' Own story of the Korean war. Yes, there were some parts which were engaging but I found myself really turned off by the language used to describe the Koreans and the violence. It was just trite and far far too long. I gave up half way through. Bitterly disappointing and I am reluctant to try another BC.
This book is simply the best audiobook I have downloaded to date and held me for all the 30+ hours of it!
"Another outstanding audio book from Bryce Courtney"
Having finished this book (my third in a row) I genuinely can't wait to start the next one. My morning and evening commutes have never been more enjoyable.
"Too much waffle"
I bought this after enjoying The Persimmon Tree but ...oh dear. I quite enjoyed about 8 hours of it and quite frankly that's about how long it should have been. It was extremely repetitive and it was only the fact that I was on holiday with time to spare that I managed to finish it. When I dozed off whilst listening as I did a few times with the boredom I didn't bother to rewind. I won't be buying any more of this author.
I haven't read the book so can't comment.
Jacko and Jimmy equally.
Yes. He's always fantastic.
Both. There are some very moving parts.
If I'd known half of this 31 hour book was about the Korean War I probably wouldn't have selected it, and I would have missed an absolute treat. Brother Fish is an epic tale about friendship, loyalty and the power of the human spirit. Humphrey Bower is a superb narrator. Listening to him is like listening to a full cast of characters. Brother Fish is a great book and definitely one of my favourite listens.
"Best book ever, what an epic story!!!"
I didn't want this book to end! I loved it and the narrator was incredible. You will love this book as it has so many stories within stories but it all comes together. I loved all of the characters in this story, I laughed, I cried. Buy this and you too will have hours of amazing entertainment x
"Well performed Courtenay Classic"
I would recommend as the story is excellent and performed well by the narrator
All characters were well developed,making you think you know them well by the end of the book.
Yes, and this is one of his best.
Keep positive, things will turn out well in the end
Well worth the listen.
Exceptional story, highlighting many historical events and places, especially far east customs.... I very much enjoyed this audio book, Humphrey Bower who read this book was amazing.. many Thanks
"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!
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