Ebenezer Le Page, cantankerous, opinionated and charming, is one of the most compelling literary creations of the late 20th century. Eighty years old, Ebenezer has lived his whole life on the Channel Island of Guernsey, a stony speck of a place caught between England and France yet a world away from either. Ebenezer himself is fiercely independent, but as he reaches the end of his life he is determined to tell his own story and the story of those he has known. He writes of family secrets and feuds, unforgettable friendships and friendships betrayed, love glimpsed and lost.
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is a beautifully detailed chronicle of a life, but it is equally an oblique reckoning with the traumas of the 20th century, as Ebenezer recalls both the men lost to the Great War and the German Occupation of Guernsey during World War II, and looks with despair at the encroachments of commerce and tourism on his beloved island.
©1981 Edward P. de G. Chaney (P)2012 AudioGO Ltd
If you sample this book first, don't be put off by the "codger" voice. I have never listened to a more astonishingly beautiful narration. Roy Dotrice, who incidentally is from Guernsey, has performed an amazing feat in his narration this book and in "becoming" the main character of the story.
As Ebenezer talks about his family history and his life on the island of Guernsey, he draws you in to his story little by little. This is a book that continues to get better as it goes on until you start fretting about what you will do when it is over. Myself, I started it over immediately to clear up some information I didn't get clear in the beginning, when perhaps I wasn't listening as carefully as I could. I had no idea how much I would hang on every word as the book progressed. This book is warm and quite funny (many laugh out loud moments) and sometimes sad. This is a book that I full-heartedly recommend. Don't miss it by having preconceived notions.
Takes a while to get into this book. One fears at first this may become a sentimental or overly nostalgic view of a lost way of life. After a while you realize you're in good hands with this author. I highly recommend the book, in audio or print.
Roy Dotrice, the reader, performs a great service to the book, I think. I certainly don't know the subtleties of accent and intonation he's dealing with here. But he has made decisions about how he will read it and carries it out over a long span with perfect integrity. His reading turns the entire book into poetry, or even music. Here again you may feel at first that the voice will wear on you, but his skill is such that it carries the story along without fail.
A perfect match of reader and text.
Roy Dotrice is an amazing actor/narrator, as anyone who's listened to the Song of Ice and Fire books knows. I downloaded this book almost entirely because he read it, and it turns out I would have missed an amazing book if he hadn't. It's a fictional memoir of a real place I had never heard of, but I doubt I'll ever forget Guernsey.
Maybe not for everyone, but great writing + great narration + long book (when you have the other two...) is what I hunt for every month.
This is a very delightful book. It recounts the life story of Ebenezer le Page, a confirmed resident of the Guernsey Island. It follows Ebenezer from his early years through World War I and World War II, but those are mostly backdrops for a recounting of life on the Island and his relationships with his family and friends. The voice of the book is that of an old person telling their life story, if you have spent time with the very old and heard their stories the author gets this just right.
The discussion of the relationships of family and of men and men and women has a very good depth of thought and gives something to think about.
I enjoyed this book greatly and would highly recommend it.
The reader does an excellent job of giving voice to this old man and was a true delight.
I just downloaded this book an hour ago and haven't begun listening to it yet, but I cannot tell you how freaking excited I was to find it on Audible. Because it's the best book I have ever read, hands down, no competition.I rarely read a book more than once but I have read this one at least three times. And it's a book that cries out for an audio version because it's written in such an amazing distinctive voice. The only problem is that that voice, and the patois it speaks in, makes it a somewhat difficult read at first. A somewhat difficult listen too I gather from having read the other reviews here. But the difference is that it seems to be a lot easier to slog through a challenging listen than a challenging read. Especially when there are so many people assuring you that you just need to hang in there for a bit.I have given this book to, I think, four people. Two couldn't get past the first 20 or 30 pages and the other two absolutely loved it. If you haven't read it, consider yourself very lucky because you are about to be transported for the first time into the mind of an amazing person.I very much hope that this audio version includes the fantastic introduction by John Fowles. If it doesn't, take the time to try to find it and read it, if not before then after you listen to the book. It gives many insights into the time and place and most importantly the life of the author. I like to encourage people to read it first because otherwise they may become confused into thinking this is a genuine autobiography rather than an imagined one written by a man who left the little island when he was young and never returned.This is not a well known book, not nearly as well known as it should be, but it is a well loved book by those who have been introduced to it. If you don't believe me check the reviews of the print edition on Amazon. Only 46 reviews, but the average score is an almost unheard of 4.8 out of 5 stars.I will update this after I listen, and I apologize for the premature "Performance" review, but you can't leave it blank, apparently. If I don't care so much for it I will change that vote. The other two stand though.I feel like my team just won the Rose Bowl I am so excited about this. I can't wait to finish what I'm currently listening to. I'll have to double down on that. I called my brother and Dad right away to tell them that this book had finally been released--my brother because he loved it when he read it and is as excited as I am about the audio version, and my Dad because he couldn't make it into the book and now he'll have a chance to try again. Even though it may mean that I'll have to buy him his first MP3 player.
This book -- first published in 1981 -- is critically acclaimed and has overwhelmingly glowing reader reviews. There seems to be just one refrain from reviewers: Give it time, because it starts out slowly. Thus, I looked forward to this more than any book in quite some time.
It did indeed start off slowly for me. The story is a memoir written down in three books by crusty 80-something Ebenezer Le Page about his long life on the island of Guernsey, located in the English Channel. His life encompassed both world wars, including the Nazi occupation during WWII (the only British territory with that distinction). I wouldn't exactly call it stream-of-consciousness writing, but Ebenezer jumps around from story to story, and many were entirely dull.
And yet... we find all those anecdotes are necessary. Roughly three-quarters through, it finally became great for me. By the end, I loved this old fellow. His thoughts on old age and dying and "progress" on his beloved island are especially poignant.
I'd say if you like long reads and delayed gratification, you'd do well to consider letting old Ebenezer take you for a tour of his island.
Wine, food and travel writer, editor, and aspiring novelist.
Yes, though it is very slow, rather like a convoluted Dickens story.
Yes, because his characterizations are complex and real.
I have not, but here he brought the old man to life.
Yes. It's the story of a life remembered, and as such it isn't exactly linear. It begins slowly and I almost gave up on it, but by the end I didn't want it to end. And it might have benefitted from a coda.
Of the several hundred audio books I have listened to, this ranks among the very top. It's not that the story is so compelling; it's more that Roy Dotrice's performance brings his character so vividly to life. It happens gradually but completely, and when the book ended, I really felt I had lost a friend. If there was ever an example of what an audio edition can do for a book, this is it. Aay?That said, this book is memorable for its evocation of a rural place as it was pulled from the nineteenth into and through the twentieth centuries. It is an often-frank social history told through the voice of a plain-spoken, yet personally complex, rural man and a lifetime's host of characters. Perhaps not a book for the impatient, this book will reward those who let Ebenerzer in.
The story was perfect for an audiobook as it was recounted in the first person by a wonderful actor. As Ebenezer describes his life in Guersey the characters spring to life. I knew nothing about Guersey before listening to this book and loved learning about Ebenezer's community and the island's history.
Ebenezer le Page tells his story from the island of Guernsey. He shares the relationships he has throughout his life, his personal points of view and experiences. It's as if he is telling you the story himself. Starting before WWI and moving through the occupation of their island during WWII, he shares what his life is like as well as those of his family. A great listen for charm and interest. The reader does an excellent job, so much so, it's hard to believe it is not Ebenezer himself spinning the story just for your benefit.
"Wonderful warm story"
It created the world of Ebenezer in the way that folk remember.
It was beautifully observed and delicately handled
Oh, I haven't got a favourite. Roy Dotrice brought them all to life so beautifully.
Absolutely. I even took it to bed with me and listened half the night.
I would recommend this book to anyone. It is a beautiful story, very sensitively written and narrated. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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