©2000 Jane Smiley; (P)2001 Chivers Audio Books
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.
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.
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 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!!
if you listen you will realize justabook is high praise. I wish I could give it six stars. This is the most enjoyable listen of any of the books I have listened to (at least 20). I actually began to look forward to my commute so that I could hear more of the story (seriously). This is the only audiobook where I feel compelled to buy the hard cover. I want to keep it and savor it again. Don't be intimidated by the length, there are very few minutes that are not a delight. There are some things you want to last.
A huge cast of characters including horses, a Jack Russell terrier named Eileen, and even a pig. Their must be at at least a twenty men, women and 2 precocious children, whose lives we follow and who are caught up in Jane Smiley's world of thoroughbred horse racing.
The woman is a wonder. She writes of this world with a kind of love, even as she casts her eye and ours on the highly unnatural and often cruel fate that has been been bred into and eventually creating these glorious animals.
I enjoyed it immensely and didn't want it to end. As the book neared its end I would relisten at random - didn't matter where - just to put off being goodbye to it. It's all good.
Shelley Thompson does a fine job in wending her way through the myriad characters. Each character has his or her own voice .. including the animals. She reads with both passion and compassion. She is a fine reader.
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