©1999 Bruce Courtenay; (P)2000 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
"Narrator Humphrey Bower doesn't miss a nuance. His villains have a sharp, nasal nastiness, and his love scenes tickle the hairs at the nape of the neck. Bower's performance is spot-on." (Audiofile)
yes, It is filled with adventure, sadness, hope, love, and all the follies of human existence. You become involved with the characters and either love or hate them.
It moved at a natural pace and kept my attention
Ike, You have to have an opinion about him. The things he does take bravery, but he is cowardly and at times kind.
Just listen or read it, it won't take long to get involved with all of these people.
"Solomon's Song" is the third and final book of Courtnay's trilogy about the history of Australia as told through the lives of two semi-fictional families. As always, the story is compelling and I couldn't stop listening. Humphrey Bower's narration is spellbinding--as always.
However, the ending left me rather dissatisfied, which was a surprise. Courtnay is a skillful writer, but I guess endings are always difficult, especially when dealing with the huge cast of characters he created here. I won't say anything more about it because I don't want to spoil it for others, and I certainly would recommend the trilogy as an overall excellent and hefty read.
I think that the reader deserved a better ending than what was given. The trilogy of books were entertaining, interesting, motivational and informative. The books flowed beautifully but unfortunately I think the the reader is robbed by the ending of this book. It was out off character for Ben to behave in the way that he did and so too for Joshua for that matter. One can't paint characters to be strong and intelligent and then make them act like absolute morons. It just left a bitter taste in my mouth. I could have thought of at least 5 better endings which would not take away from the readers perception or intelligence. Anyways, having said my piece I will still highly recommend this book and the two previous as they are amazingly written. Bravo, Bryce Courtenay and thank you for putting pen to paper.
Solomon's Song, the third and final installment in the Australian Trilogy, tore my heart and had me in tears on a number of occasions.
The novel spans time from the late 19th century through to World War I.
Hawk is the unsung hero and the glue which holds the story and the entire family together. The biggest tragedy is that Hawk remains alone following the death of his beloved Maggie. Hawk becomes a surrogate father to Tommo's daughter, and helps raise her with Mary. Unfortunately, if Hawk has a fault, it's that he feels too much and is blinded by emotion.
Some of his decisions are questionable, and result in more difficulty. A case in point is his decision about how to deal with the other branch of Ikey Solomon's family as a way of atoning for having stolen the contents of Ikey and Hannah's safe without having passed any of it on to Hannah and David.
This book contains more description of the other half of the Solomon family. The entire branch of the family is tainted. Hannah was odious, and none of her offspring are any better. David Solomon is thoroughly nasty and unlikeable, and it's unfortunate that he didn't come to a nastier death about 40 years earlier. His son Abraham is less morally repugnant, but he is weak-willed and spineless and ultimately agrees with the decisions made by his irascible and nasty father. Abraham's son Joshua is merely a pawn of David's and he is also morally weak and repulsive. I wanted to slap him. In fact, I still do.
There is finally some interweaving of the two branches of the family and their fortunes. The Tommo / Hawk / Mary branch of the family is rounded out by Tommo's half-Maori daughter, Hinetitama, and her family.
Hinetitama unfortunately suffers from the same demons as Tommo, and all hope for her is lost when Mary stupidly arranges for Slabbert Tikkelman, Hinetitama's Dutch lover, abuser and enabler, to come to Hobart to marry HInetitama and work at the Potato Factory. Slabbert Tikkelman has no redeeming features, and it's unfortunate that he wasn't killed off earlier in the book. The ultimate downfall and degradation of Hinetitama is terribly sad and appalling. Bower's narration of Hinetitama in the hospice in her 50s when she is reunited with Hawk is superb. It's a complete tear-jerker. What a terrible waste of a life.
Hinetitama's children, Ben and Victoria, grow up under Hawk's care and are poised to take over the family business, but Ben is called away to war.
Many reviewers have criticized Solomon's Song as a piece of anti-war propaganda, but that's not a fair criticism. The horrors of trench war are brought to life with Courtenay's usual brilliant research and writing. But the focus is on more than just Gallipoli. The tedium and terror of training and travel are set out, as well as the futility of the landing at Gallipoli. Ben becomes a great leader on the front lines, and is wounded. He convalesces and recovers in London, becomes betrothed to his shipboard nurse, and then heads out to fight in the front lines of France. Meanwhile, the evil David has pulled strings so that Joshua is coccooned and protected from any hard duty. Joshua eventually feels shamed by the fact that he is sitting comfortably working in an administrative position, and gets himself sent out to fight on active duty in France.
Not surprisingly, the fates of Ben and Joshua are intertwined. As with Hawk, as soon as there is hope and light and laughter for Ben, it is snatched away by cruel fate. Joshua survives but is left with the curse of madness brought on by the war.Yes, the book ends suddenly, but not surprisingly.
There is just so much in this series to love. It's brilliant. It's also brilliantly narrated.
I will go back and listen from the very beginning, in order to catch all the references which I may have glossed over on first listen.
Solomon's Song is ultimately unsatisfying in that I wanted the series to continue, but all good things must come to an end.
Enjoy reading books, but no time so this is an amazing alternative.
I couldn't wait to start Book 3 and, although I'm not half way through it yet, I feel cheated. There is so much time spent repeating the story line from Books 1 and 2 that I feel bored. Let people read the first two books if the story won't be cohesive without that knowledge. Don't make me spend my time and money on a repeat. Disappointed....
This book captured me from the start. Only later did I realise it was the third book in the series. It didnt matter because it was a story in its own right.
Humphrey Bower is a great narrator. I never get sick of his voice, and he brings the story alive.
a great ending
David not getting his own way
Hawk confronting David
A really great read. A great ending to a long runjning saga
I would recommend this book because its keeps you wanting more.
Any of Bruce Courtenays book
All Bruce!s books are well worth listening to.
45 hours of listening to the trilogy with all of the ups and downs along the way to end so abruptly. It felt like the author ran out of ideas for these people and just ended the book. I don't get it. After 45 hours of following the lives in these books, it seems like a really mean joke to end the way it did. I don't think i'll be listening to anymore Bryce Courtenay books for a while. Mr Courtenay, I'm mad at you!
The story line is so revealing about human nature and what motivates us in our daily actions. His writing subtly reminds us of our human weaknesses and our strengths, and yet, he gives us a reason to have hope. And the narration absolutely makes it come alive. Love listening to Bower---one of the best I've heard.
You must read the entire trilogy starting with the Potato Factory---that makes the characters much more alive and the motivations better understood. Overall I've read all of the Michener books and would put Courtney close to his level of accomplishment.
Excellent as all the others have been. He adds so much in the manner which he presents the characters.
When Hawk would take the longer view and do the right things for the future benefit of his family and friends knowing that he would be criticized personally. That's such an uncommon characteristic in society---doing the right thing at personal cost.
I haven't read any of this---perhaps it might not be as good in the read as the listen. I will say that Bower has to add to the story in a significant manner.
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