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)
Absolutely, This is an amazing story about life in the mid 1900's for a family in Australia. I was captivated by the story and the narrator. He did a wonderful job portraying the characters in the novel.
Mole, Bozo, and Sarah. I could feel the struggles of each of the characters.
The story did drag along at some points but not enough for me to regret one minute of listening. I cannot wait to read and listen to another book by this author and narrator.
A great story engaging story that educated the listeners at the same time about fires, war and the tragic effects.
all the characters had their own stories that fitted well into a great novel the narrator Humphrey Bower does a powerful job of portraying each character
This books works wonderfully as an audio - probably better than reading. The narrator has just the right "Aussie" accent. I was initially concerned that it would be hard to understand as some of the British narrators are (for me), but instead, the whole story felt like a wonderful family tale handed down for others to hear.
I also put off buying this audio because it was so long and I wasn't sure I was that interested in Australian history. Instead, I was sad to get to the end of the audio and I learned so many interesting things about Australia; it was an amazing "read".
Occasionally, the story headed in a direction where I thought I would lose interest but that never happened. I stayed continually engaged. Also, the book, especially the narrators presentation, is very funny. His sharing of childhood interpretations of adult themes makes you laugh out loud. I didn't expect that from this book.
I've recommended this book to my sister who is an avid reader but refuses to try an audio book.
I love the stories of light supernatural tales with some romance, and giggles.
A new world of humor and the total story of a strugeling family
The good earth? I's a story for the movies. Of course the book would be better.
Nope! I'll certainly check into more books next credit I get.
They were all fasinating.
I was excited to have picked a great book, and it lasted me three whole blissfull days.
My first book by this author, about this subject, or with this reader - three enjoyable firsts. I laughed and cried. I learned about a people and an area full of culture and character.
There times when I fast forwarded a bit or didn't pay close attention for various reasons but overall the story and it's characters stayed with me long after I'd finished the book.
Yes, it brought the characters to life.
The story seemed to take for every, a shorter version may have been better, but it may also have changed the complete book.
It is hard to select, it has been some time since I listened to the story, amd may books have passed.
I am not able to nominate at this time.
A little slow at the beginning until you get to know the characters and fall in love with them, then I couldn't stop listening even though its long. Sometimes readers doing regional accents are so thick I can't understand them but this reader does a great job sounding authentic but clear. Great insights into a little written about period in Australian history.
I only recently heard of this author, alas, when he passed away. One thing that impresses me about him is that his writing career developed late in life, which can be an advantage, as an author then brings a lot of experience and wisdom to his work. Clearly he loves Australia, and has a deep understanding of how its people and environment "work" together.
Four Fires tells the story of the poor but extremely hardworking Malony's. It is told in the voice of Mole, the young son of Tommy, a war-damaged former POW of the Japanese, and Nancy, the plain-spoken and determined mother. The story is quite complex and follows the careers of all the Maloney children as a great Family Saga kind of story. What makes it of special interest to me was seeing how subtly the author showed how Mole grew to maturity, eventually coming to a greater understanding of his father's life and genuine good points, even though as a child he mostly thought of him as the village drunk and petty criminal. This is a story about love -- the kind that lasts through very hard times and bitter disappointment, not just for individuals but for communities. It's about people helping each other in surprising ways. It is, perhaps, about an era that is passing away as communities change so rapidly, but I am very, very glad that Bryce Courtenay caught that particular post-World War II moment.
A word about the reader: his Australian accent was not overwhelming and contributed to the story. If he had problems pronouncing the spattering of Yiddish words (one of the important characters is a Jewish refugee doctor) it is easily forgiven, for we are seeing life through the eyes of Mole, and he may well not have quite heard the words right, either.
This was a work that was hard to leave off until its end. It definitely encourages me to read other books by Courtenay.
The reading of this was excellent, and certainly enhanced the experience. I came to realize what people meant when they criticized the book for everything always working out just right. The characters were extremely likable, and they weren't without their share of sometimes intense problems, but I actually found myself a few times wishing the author didn't have to make everything so neat and sweet.
The range of experiences covered and the fact that everyone was indeed so likable made this a great read in itself, but also a good antidote to the experience I feel I often have where I'm like, "Does everything have to always NOT work out?"
The reader really gave life to each character and situation
How the character, stength and determination of the mother gave each child the courage to forge their own life
I would have trouble chosing between the mother and Mole. But as the narrator, Mole's special ability to empathize with the people in his life, creates a tale of real depth.
I hope other Bryce Courtenay books have been recorded and that Humphrey Bower is the reader.
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