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
Say something about yourself!
I will so miss Mr. Courtenay though he was not at his best for this one. One can only attribute this to a sort of swan song. It was a roll up of many of his characters and a blurry rehash of a lot of his previous plots and much better stories.
Jack of Diamonds had a challenging background, but not anywhere near as challenging as it should have been. He had so many benefactors, most people would have been happy with just one!
It isn't a wasted credit if you love Bryce Courtenay. He was a sick man and yet came up with a story that is readable. You know after a while that nothing really bad is going to happen to this guy. You know he will land on his feet – sorry, possibly a spoiler allert. And don't we all want that? Especially when one knows that one is not going to 'land on his feet?'
If you want to read a "in his prime" Bryce Courtenay book read Power of One, Tandia, especially The Potato Factory trilogy - awesome books! Brother Fish, The Persimmon Tree, Four Fires... I will always honor and admire this man's contribution to books, fiction, and my life. RIP Bryce!
If you only want what his previous offerings gave – don’t bother. If you Love Bryce, it is okay. I probably won’t listen to this one again – sigh… It isn't even Humphrey Bower's best effort.
I love to listen or read books...I have always got one or two books on the go at any one time. I am happily married, and live a quiet life.
I started this book, loving that it had many hours of listening time and at first I didn't really care for the performance. As the story progressed, and the sound of his voice continued, I fell in love with his way of talking. Just when I thought I wasn't going to be impressed, the story grabbed me and it was taking me down different avenues of Jack's life. To come from such a hard background and through hard work to become what he had dreamed, a jazz pianist, to have his dreams slashed and his love lost, he moves on and makes dramatic changes always being true to himself. I was also impressed at how his life experiences went on to enhance his future endeavours.
As the book ended, I realized this is the author who wrote the "Power Of One", and so loved this book, I became an instant fan of this author. I have never been good at remembering names of authors, so it did not click who this author was, but now I have all the books he has wrote on my wish list.
My hat is off to Bryce Courtney who has such a great knack for story telling, and how he portrays his characters, it was like walking beside the main character in his trials and blunders, feeling his pain, rejoicing in his success, and carrying his self respect & beliefs with him throughout his life. I can hardly wait to read the next of his books on my list.
Retired to mountains of California. Sell on eBay as Prsilla. No TV. Volunteer in wildlife rehab. Knit, sew or embroider while listening.
I loved this book! It took me to times and places I could never go in my own life. For critics who think Courtenay was not at his best for this story, well, no, he wasn't! In fact I suspect we're (bloody) lucky to have this book. Actually we're getting the story for a second novel with a very happy ending. It looks to me like Bryce finished the book in June and died in November, so God bless him for this last great push!
Yes, Humphrey Bower doesn't do q-u-i-t-e so well as a Canadian, but hang in there and you'll get to hear him do many more voices including a personable parrot. He had to narrate this book in order to do the parrot at the end, OK? I could put this another way: I like him better as an Australian; I think a lot of actors could have done the Canadian main character, but Bower had to do this book!
The book is a love song for black people, for racial equality, and for fairness to women. Every time I felt bad about some fresh violence, I reminded myself that this is historical fiction. As a tiny child in the 1940's, I studied the sometimes gruesome pictures in Life magazine; I had some long thoughts about how it felt to die. The violence in the book is based on history and how things really are at many times and places. Anybody who bails before finishing is going to miss a lot of delicious fun and closing of circles. Yes, there's sex but it's sweet and the partners have been introduced. Indeed, some of the same scenes recur here from earlier books -- mining, poverty, prostitution, music, the cultivated older woman who helps the boy. The Las Vegas history seems to be new. I loved how Bryce used the names of his doctors for characters toward the end of the book. I wondered while listening if this story was based on any real people. Have not found out yet.
Wonderful story! Thank you, Bryce!
He is the master of seemingly all dialects, Australian, South African, German, Irish, Chicago, New York, Canadian, the list goes on.
Watching Jack grow from childhood to senior citizen and all of his adventures was spellbinding. I am truly sorry we are at the end of Courtenay's books. What a gifted storyteller.
Another Bryce Courtenay brilliant book and as always narrated by Humphrer Bower .. what an exciting book. A great read.
the places jack goes the things that happen sorry to get to the end. started it again
any thing Humphrey reads is great
Jacks mum was great . she had pretty hard time
[RIP] Bryce loved every book . Audible we now need a good story teller like Bryce keep a look out please
This was was my first audiobook with Bryce Courtenay. When it first started I asked myself why did I buy a book that starts out in the 1930's????? My doubts were quickly dispelled and it sure did help pass the time away on a long Uhaul trip across the country.... in fact sometimes I couldn't put it down
I haven't read the print version but will probably buy it as I have every one of Bryce Courtenay's books. He's the most amazing storyteller.
Jack of course! He's flawed, but brave, innocent but inquisitive, talented and kind, unbiased in any way (like all Bryce's hero and heroines), picks his causes and they are always good ones. Loves his family, is loyal to his friends, and they to him. Makes enemies becos of his actions and views, but always sticks to his beliefs, and stands up for both those, and for others too weak, helpless or bullied to stand up for themselves. But yet, even though he sounds like a super hero he's very real.
I haven't listened to any of Mr. Bower;s any other performances. His voice was perfect for this story.
Jack of course!
I am heartbroken that this is Bryce's last book, and I loved that he realized that we would all want to know what happened in the next book which was "in the writing" and would have flowed out of him in 2013 - so he told us briefly what happens. I am so sad that all his brilliance was condensed into just a few chapters - when it could have been chapters and chapters more - but I am so grateful that he told us the rest of the story. Thank you, Bryce for all your wonderful characters, amazing stories, incredible observations, respect for the truth and for goodness. I loved every flash of writing brilliance, and there were hundreds and hundreds of them in every book.
Bryce Courtenay put together one of the longest novels I can remember. 24 hours of listening pleasure that didn't drag out very often. It was fairly easy to pick back up where you left off using the rewind 30 seconds - excellent feature and resource when listening over a month. Voice of Humphrey Bower was great at the different characters during the novel. Overall flawless execution
The epilog introduction - stunning reality of Bryce's and your own mortality.
Live in Sydney, Australia. South African heritage. Love audio books. Constant company on my non-stop business travels.
His last book and so a truncated conclusion as you may expect given the rapidity of his decline. Have had many enjoyable hours of listening to Bryce's work over the years. Power of One was his first and best in my humble opinion. Vale.
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