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 had never before read anything by Bryce Courtenay, and downloaded Jack of Diamoinds based on Audible's recommendation. I found the story to be anodyne and predictable, but Humphrey Bower's fluid ability to navigate Canadian, American, South African and Australian accents, not to mention female voices and certain dialects made it a worthwhile read.
I listen to books all the time, When I am driving, cleaning, cooking or doing anything quiet. I am AUDOBSESSED!
This is a very unusual story of a guy who should have never had a chance at life, but got a great start and the adventures are endless.
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
I have enjoyed other Courtenay books more, but this is a very good story. For me, the difference was that in his other books, I have found a female character to empathize with/relate to; and found none in this one. Jack's mother, teachers, "girl friends" and others were just fleeting characters in the story.
Jack is bright but sure makes some crazy (aka stupid) decisions throughout the story. Nonetheless, he survives, even thrives and his life story takes the listener to interesting and exotic locales where he makes his way with music and/or gambling.
Humphey Bower as always, did a magnificent job narrating the story. I simply would have liked to "care" a little more about the characters, including Jack.
Great opportunity to get a feel for the birth of Las Vegas and the horrors of bigotry. It's a book with many layers and as it unfolds your interest never wanes.
I loved the Jack of Diamonds. There were so many interesting people. Learning about Canada and the music at the beginning of the story was all new for me and I really enjoyed it! This was one of the best audio books I've listened to.
Yes and know. I enjoyed the first 1/2 of the book, in particular, depicting Jack's hardscrabble existence in depression-era Toronto and his depth as a musician. As both a Canadian and a musician, I truly enjoyed this part of Jack of Diamonds. The second half was not nearly that strong, stretching credibility - how likely is it that a mob member will tell an outsider the whole story?
I honestly could not finish the book, due in no small part to the depiction of mob life and the repetition of many other elements of his books - notably Jack from "Brother Fish". I would recommend Four Fires, Matthew Flinders' Cat, and Brother Fish before this one.
Humphry Bower is always always splendid. It is a testament to his gift as a narrator to drop the Australian accent for 26 hours.
Like action, adventures, war stories, militay happenings, historical readings-fiction, & mysteries. Unabridged only! Reader IMPORT!
This was my first listening of a Bryce Courtenay book. It was hard for me to NOT listen to it even in to the late night. As the third volumn was drawning to a close --- I hoped for a sequel. However a person in their eighties (my age is79) learns that "gowing old is NOT for sissies!" And one runs into health problems that only supporting a team of doctors can help a person with...! Mr Bryce is in his 80's....
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.
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