©2000 Jane Smiley; (P)2001 Chivers Audio Books
I am usually very happy with the voice and reading style chosen to represent the narrator's voice, but in the case of Horse Heaven, I was not. I know this book well and love it, and perhaps that is why I was so disappointed with this reader, Shelley Thompson. Her accent, the rhythm of her speech, her obvious lack of knowledge about horses, all combined to make it impossible for me to listen to this book beyond the first half hour or so. She emphasizes the wrong things in phrases well-known by horse people and it is very jarring. I would not recommend this book to anyone, not to someone who knows this book, or someone who does not know this book. Go and read the book yourself. It is a masterpiece, in my opinion the best thing that Jane Smiley has written to date. Skip this audiobook. The lowest rating I could give was 1 star.
The book is very enjoyable -- and I'm only 1/2 finished. But the narrator can be quite distracting. Doesn't anyone "proof-listen" these? How can a professional narrator pronounce khaki "cocky" -- let alone the mangling of anything that's not strictly Anglo Saxon??? It took me a while to realize where/what "La Joe La" is. Despite this, I'm loving the book. In summary, 5 stars for the book and 2 stars for the narration, but the book outshines the puzzling pronunciation.
One more thing about reader Shelley Thompson! How does someone get to be an audiobook reader without knowing how to pronounce "pico de gallo," "La Jolla," or "Maryland"?
I thought this book was most exceptional. I keep wanting to listen to each part over and over for more intense visuals. This book is one of my favorite. Major kudos to Smiley as I feel she has given a wonderful gift to my imagination.
It is difficult to restrain the amount of praise this book deserves. This is, in my opinion, the finest of this award-winning author's novels. It is amusing, touching and engrossing. Not only for those who are intrigued by the world of thoroughbred racing, the character development is extraordinary and the individuals as well as the animals are finely drawn. The way the author makes you like and understand her characters is the more surprising as the cast is quite a large one. This is one of those tales you never want to end, and I can't recommend it enough.
I believe about 30% of the book could have been cut and kept the story moving in a much better and more realistic way. The haphazard insertion of the dog's point of view as well as the side step of an Irish shopping trip did nothing to maintain or evolve the story. It was as if the author merely had some extra material, and chose to stuff it in to fill pages.
Stick to 3-4 main characters and actually write about them rather than use them as a fulcrum to launch into shallow 'thoughts' about a few people with whom then come in contact.
When she wrote about the trainers, she did a good job. When she wrote about the fringe, she seemed to do it for her own amusement, rather than for the story.
The repeated mispronunciation of common words is completely unacceptable in a professional reading.
La Jolla... come on... she isn't in kindergarten.
The recording editor should be fired.
omg what a pile of manure. i see a book with a jock belly down and racing riding and the book i receive is a woman romanticizing about a foal and polite little stories. to be honest my only recollection of this book was I GOT RIPPED OFF. this is my first written review in 13 years on Audible. biggest stinker in my 300+ collection of audio books.
I will be more careful next time and not trust a cool cover.
Sappy little stories nothing to do with horse racing.
Anger cause i got ripped off for a book credit. False advertising.
The front cover of the book should be of a nice old woman with a foal and maybe a mare in a distant field. This book had nothing to do with horse racing.
I was put off by previous reviews where they stated that the narrator mispronounced a lot of the words. As I am not an America, I didn't know what the real pronunciation should be of various place names so it did not bother me. I found the narrator lively and easy to listen to.
I loved the story immensely, particularly how the animals were included as characters bit not overly anthropomorphised.
Really got into a real horse person's mind. Some misses on horse terminology, but only a few. Wonderful story line. Yes, I would and have recommended this book.
It made you laugh and cry. I own and love horses and it captured the feelings I have everyday.
This book was fantastic!! I thought it was one of the best reads I've had in a while. Shelley Thompson was very entertaining to listen to and she made each and every character come to life. There were a few mis-pronunciations, but all in all, she did a fantastic job. I, being a huge horse lover, was able to identify with and understand the contents of the different stories told for each character. One of my favorite characters was Joy Gorham and her horse Mr. T. I can totally relate to her story. A must read for any horse person who enjoys listening to the animals' point of view. Loved it!!
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