©2004 Bryce Courtenay; (P)2004 Bolinda Publishing Pty. Ltd.
Three separate characters, drawn together. Very well written and suspenseful ... but not in the car chase, shoot-em thriller style. If you like to learn something - in this case about the Korean War, Shanghai in the 20's and post-WWII Australia - along the war, try this. Oh, yes ... excellent narration.
I am a fan of Bryce Courtney (The Power of One is a tremendous book). Like his other novels, this one starts out with very dire circumstances, and the characters develop into admirable human beings. The book bounces backwards and forwards in time, but it makes sense as the story evolves. Bryce Courtney does a great job of tying up the loose ends on his numerous story lines. I like Humphrey Bower as a narrator, except his American accent (which is almost painful). This book took a bit to grab me, but once it did I was totally engrossed. There is a female character in the book who absolutely captivated me. If you listen, I am sure you will identify her. Enjoy!
I thought at first I had made a huge mistake buying this one but I've listened to almost all of BC's books and love them as well as the reader. HB is simply the best . Part 1 went on and on with war stuff and so I decided I'd abort if things didn't pick up after part 1. It turned out to be excellent. A good story and what I really liked is he wrapped up everything neatly in the end. You find out what happed to everyone you hear about along the way. I loved it.
I was enthralled with this audiobook, especially with the historical facts of the Korean War, some facts of China where I have worked (and ate dog) and Hong Kong with similarities to Malaysia (how to carry one's purse securely) where I have worked also. I found myself unsatisfied with the narrative to the extent I was looking up Tasmania and "King's Island" in the web to further my understanding of the story.
The characters are a little "true blue" but the tale certainly carries it's heroes to the finish line in true heroic style.
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.
If I could only recommend ONE book for the summer, this would be it! There was not a single minute in this 4 volume story that I did not listen to with interest. Great, engaging story, masterfully read!
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
I would highly recommend Bryce Courtenay to any reader and especially readings by Humphrey Bower. I know Courtenay is good I just don't know how much greater Bower makes him. I enjoyed this book though not as much as Four Fires or The Power of One, the former being my favorite.
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.
This is my first Courtney Bryce work, and I am now hooked. How have I missed this author before??? The skill used to pull such a complex story together and to create such lovable characters has my jaw on the floor. I laughed. I cried. A recommended read for anyone who likes meaty stories .
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.
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