Born and raised in a poor, working-class family in Toronto, Jack Spayd is the son of an unhappy marriage. After being taken under the wing of "Miss Frostbite", the owner of a local jazz club, Jack becomes a gifted musician, playing piano and harmonica. Fame and the allure of gambling takes him to Vegas, and prospects of fortune take him to the Belgian Congo, where he's heard it's possible to earn big money working in the most dangerous parts of the local copper mines.
Jack of Diamonds is the story of a young, talented man, fighting to achieve his ambitions, and having to use his considerable talents to find his way in a perilous world.
©2012 Bryce Courtenay; 2013 Christine Courtenay (P)2012 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
I'm writing this before I've actually finished the book, but halfway through it's clear that thi is yet another masterpiece, apparently the last, from this marvelous author. Humphrey Bower, as usual, narrates superbly,changing his voice and his accent to suit the character who's speaking. As the father of a 17-year-old jazz musician, this book resonates deeply with me, but I can't imagine anyone not loving it.
overcoming great odds
I found that it was enjoyable with rarely a boring segment, but it was one I could put down and come back to later
This story, following a young boy from the depth of the economic depression of the 30's, virtually through his adult life was inspirational and read almost like a biography. It was, in a way, written in an old fashioned style of the 30's or 40's but modern in language and content. Its scope covered ground from Canada to Las Vegas, New York, England and Africa.
What a well written story. It flowed very well. I am so happy to have discovered this author.
I have never heard such an accomplished reader. How many accents can he do? Really entertaining!!
As with all of his novels, I have been thoroughly entertained by Bryce Courtenay listening to Jack of Diamonds. I am sorry that have only a couple of his novels left to read/listen to. This novel was in a different setting mostly in Canada and Las Vegas, and a little towards the end in a mining setting in Africa. It was set among the jazz world, high roller gamblers and Mafia connections with an interesting thread about the culture and times of pre and post world war 2. I love Courtenay's novels .... he has been a wonderful story teller and will be greatly missed.
A better story
Not as interesting as his other books which had more of a historical theme and truth to them.
Not at all
On a Sunday, I ride my motorcycle to Maracas Bay Beach while listen. When I get there up goes the hammock, and I then listen to my audiobook
I'm sure going to miss Bryce Courtenay yarns … and Humphrey Bower brings them to life
The reader was excellent. As for the book, I'm reluctant to be critical of a well-liked author who knew he dying of cancer, but I always felt that he didn't know where the story was going--so he just kept on going and going. First we have the "Jack learns to play the piano and escape blue collar Toronto story." Then we have the "Jack goes out west, becomes a poker player, and loses his virginity to a sweet hooker story before escaping from gangsters story." Then there is the "escaping from WWII by getting an early minor wound" story. Then the escaping gangsters in Las Vegas story. Then the escaping thugs in Africa story. Then the escaping his daughter's creditors in London story, which also results in saving Jack's talking parrot. One melodrama after the next. It all comes across like something written to be published in monthly installments in an old-fashioned magazine serial.
An awful and pompous use of words. I can't believe this got published! I had to persevere to finish.
It was slow and took a long time to really invest in the characters. He seemed to spend a lot of time on details that weren't significant to the overall plot.
Love him so much that I've found other audio books he's narrated, by other authors. He's a true master at narration, accents, characters (of both genders—without sounding condescending). But the story wasn't good so it was hard to get into his characters with this one. He seems to speak much slower when preforming with an American (or in this case Canadian) accent. It almost doesn't even sound like him.
I really enjoy Bryce Courtney's books—particularly Jessica, Power of One and Tandia. But it seems he's repeating/borrowing several concepts from his previous novels, i.e.
card player—similar to Tomo in The Australian Trilogy
copper miner/racial tensions—Peekay in Power of One
Obviously authors write what they know, but with 20+ books, I think he needs to expand what he writes about a little more. I still have some other books of his to listen to, which I will, but this was not his best.
I love all BC books there a great way to get though the day
Dj was awesome :)
He is great with them all
No it was a little slow in pasts
Loved it but was a lot like whitethorn in parts
Bryce Courtenay is the master of fiction as far as I'm concerned. I have yet to find a book I don't enjoy thoroughly! The brilliance of Humphrey Bower had me living in the story and feeling everything Jack felt. I laughed with him and cried with him, how many writers can say they inspire people to that extent? I wait with huge anticipation for each and every one of Bryce's new books. What a perfect pair they make.
"You just need to keep listening!"
I like to get value for money from my audio books and when I saw the length of this one I went for it - over 25 hours. Not my usual read - I'm a cloak and dagger reader. I was nicely surprised that this had a bit of everything. A rags to riches story with a bit of cloak and dagger thrown in and just the taste of a love story to bring a tear. Add to all that some travel from Canada to the UK in WW2, to Las Vegas and then through Africa where you lived the life at the time.
This was more value for money than I could have wished for and I've signed back in now to look for more of Bryce Courtenay.
"Really good book"
Story and narrating was a good combo, entertaining and it was a pleasure to continue hearing of the story after a break.
"A Really good listen, Excellent and lovely ending"
Yes, it was a magical story, really well read
He did really well with the accents and female voices, a great reader
No really, it was just a good listen
"Engaging story, superb story telling"
Yes. Well developed characters and interesting phases of life
Most of the Jeffrey Archer novels.
Jack. Humphrey Bower was new to me and his ability to cover accents and genders is quite fantastic.
Nothing strong but it did keep me interested.
Introduced me to a new author. I'd definitely read more from this author. Good solid entertainment with well developed characters.
"Self indulgent and rather dull"
Not wasting a credit on it !
not likely if this is whats in store
Anyone frankly - what was the accent he was trying for anyway?????!!!!!!
How long have you got ?!
Save yourself the trouble don't get this audio book
"Diamonds and Spades"
This was a great book, covering the life of Jack Spayde; an abused child who learns piano in the hope of escaping his brutal father and miserable domestic life.
We follow him through childhood and learning the basics of classical music before falling in love with blues and jazz. The writing reminded me of John Irving in that you are totally immersed in the story and believe you know the actors. Like Owen Meany, Spayde goes to war before hitting early Las Vegas and then South Africa. I can't say too much without giving away plot spoilers, but needless to say it's the best book I've listened to this year.
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