The four fires in this story are passion, religion, warfare, and fire itself. While there are many more fires that drive the human spirit, love being perhaps the brightest flame of all, it is these four that have moulded us most as Australian people. The four fires give us our sense of place and, for better or for worse, shape our national character.
©2010 Bryce Courtenay; 2013 Christine Courtenay (P)2008 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
"Humphrey Bower, speaking as Mole, delivers every possible nuance and emotion of his character’s story, and shows a startling aptitude for other dialects as well. Close family friends and enemies include surviving Polish Jews, an East Indian healer, an Irish Catholic priest, Japanese prison camp soldiers, and many others. All of them, young and old, male and female, spring to vivid life in Bower’s versatile voice. Narrative passages and dialogue elicit tears and laughter by turns, without a minute of boredom in the 30-hour production." (AudioFile magazine)
Yes, I read THE FOUR FIRES years ago and although I thoroughly enjoyed it, the narration made a huge difference in this audio edition. Bryce Courtenay is a master at characterisation, and a talented actor reading the stoy brought the characters to life in an amazing way.
The characters are real, interesting and quirky.
The character of Nancy is a real crowd pleaser, and Humphrey Bower brought her to life brilliantly - as he did with the other characters too. Mrs Rika Rey also deserves a mention. His accents are fantastic and his timing perfect.
The power of family makes it possible to overcome any obstacle.
Although few books can measure up to Courtenay's THE POWER OF ONE, I think THE FOUR FIRES captures something of the incredible ability this author has to create characters that are real and with whom the reader can sympathise. Some of the characters are larger than life, which makes this book very entertaining. It is funny, touching and well-researched. My only criticism is the epilogue, which I think distracts from the overall work. But since it's right at the end, it's not a big problem.
Yes. Brilliant story and one of the best narrators I've encountered in ages
Still busy only at chapter 7
The visit by Sarah to the old indian woman, when Sarah tried to get rid of her baby
I would not have appreciated the Australian atmosphere as much reading this book. The narration brought everything about the story up to 10. It helped to be Irish but more just to be able to appreciate the range of love and hate we humans can express. I really loved this book even though there were parts that I had to skip about the war in the Pacific that hit too close to home. But in total the whole story about familial love with quite a few hot spots thrown in. You will like it.
I just loved the interaction between the family priest and the mother. True.. true...true.
The reader and the book are forever connected.
Beware - life ahead.
Sometimes words are as strong as a thousand pictures.
Love Courtney's work, and this story does not disappoint. Humphrey Bower, as always, is fantastic! Enjoyed this story even more than the Australia trilogy (which is surprising since I loved those three books). Touching, funny, and so well written and read.
This follows the story of an Aussie family just after WWII. Classic Bryce Courtenay and brilliant narration. From the town garbage collectors to university graduates this family shows that you can be what you want.
Any other Bryce Courtenay
His accents are spot on and I get lost in the story because it sounds like he is talking to me directly.
I highly reccomend The persimmon Tree and the Astrailian Triology. All are so good!
The Mulroney Family is a wonderfully close, loving family with the matriarch of Nancy as having the most opinionated and having the most practical logic a person could imagine. I love Mole and Bozo and all the Mulroney children. The characters in this book had me laughing and crying and just plain enjoying their lives as they all go along learning and growing. Each one a different personality, all coming together as a loving family. Great listen. I love long audiobooks because you get to know the characters completely. Bryce Courtenay is one of the most imaginative writer's I have listened to.
Mole because he is telling the story and being a young man, the way he looks at life is just simply put: wonderful.
My imagination, as I listen to the characters I can see each one in a light I wouldn't see them in if I were reading. When reading I am trying to read each word as not to miss anything. When I listen: I hear each word and my mind's eye sees all of the picture.
Tommy--he is so misunderstood and yet so brutally honest in his character.
Way to go Bryce Courtenay. I have read many of the books this author has written and they all come home to me as if I were in the story. Just watching all the going's on and enjoying the laughs when they laugh and the tears when they cry.
Yes. Haven't heard a thing from Bryce which didn't resonate with me. As a South African, Bryce's style of prose and terminology ring familiar to earlier times of my childhood.
Humphrey Bower is arguably the best narrator I have heard (and I have heard a lot!). Wonderful accents and emotive timing helps create an immersive listener experience which does justice to a great story by Bryce.
I am loving all of Bryce's books. As a fellow adman I am jealous and appreciative of his command of storytelling. Nice mix of moral, interest and, of course, all the wonderful Aussie and S. African turns of phrase and expressions. Makes me feel dumbs a box of hair :)
Humphrey Bower is the new king of narrators.
He rivals and surpasses in some ways Scott Brick and John Lee.
Amazing with accents, characters and emphasis
The Courtenay books are the best I have listened to in years! And I have 2 accounts listening to about 5 a month while super commuting.
You will love
J.F., CA. I am a voracious "bookaholic" who enjoys many different genres. I am often listening to/reading multiple books at the same time.
This author had me since the Power of One. His books are always a tour de force. The characters are ALWAYS well developed and generally complex (meaning they are worth having a story told about them). Courtenay's books teaches about history, social systems and cultures in a way that the reader does not mind at all. His books are always a fantastic ride. The stories are always interesting, the dialogue believable - never cliched, preachy or overly verbose unless necessary to the plot. The only thing I do not like with many of Courtenay's books are the details about war and/or boxing when those elements are a part of the story. That of course does not mean anything is wrong with those subjects, just that I do not particularly like endless details on these subjects. The pairing of narrator Humphrey Bower with Courtenay is a marriage made in heaven. Bower is exceptionally talented and is a master at different accents and dialects. It would be awkward for me to listen to Courtenay's work narrated by anyone else. Courtenay is the #1 author in his country, Australia. He is extremely prolific and has written many books. He has indicated in his interviews that he has many more books to write before he dies and he therefore maintains a very disciplined writing schedule. This tells you that this man oozes with writing gift and story ideas.
Another good Bryce Courtenay story, Four Fires is nonetheless a difficult story to listen to, especially the lengthy recapitulation of the horrors of his Borneo POW experiences as recounted by the protagonist's father. The tale's strength lies, however, in the complex, somewhat dysfunctional, but still powerful family relationships. Definitely a worthwhile read, which I found enriched by Humphrey Bower's performance and vocal characterizations (although he may be improving in this regard, I object to his accents for white Americans--nearly as bad as most BBC actors').
Report Inappropriate Content