©2004 Michael Dibdin;
Took a while for me to get into the story but it was a good mystery and had a perfect ending! I bought the book because of Michael Kitchen - he is a superb narrator. I have purchased the next in the series.
Michael Kitchen's subtle style is just right for the Aurelio Zen series, where the characters are never just good guys or bad guys but all the shades in between.
...because it didn't take me long to listen to the whole thing! I really like Dibdin's writing style and the ironic distance he uses with such subtlety. We readers are allowed to know more than the protagonist even when he is at his confident best. I also enjoyed the reader for the dry humour of his interpretation and for the way he handled the many different voices. While it was clear that this was written in English, for an English audience, Dibdin manages to set the scene very convincingly in Italy. Certain parts made me laugh out loud. Very enjoyable listen!
Old World Traveler
The rank is top 5%.
I am on my second run through of this story. Kitchen does a superb job of reading this story and the character voices are fantastic. This is a very enjoyable story that holds your attention at every turn. The story has numerous subplots as well so at times you gain these interesting insights into Dibdin's view of Italian life. This is a Five Star book and I highly recommend it.
Love having someone read me a story. Fires in the hearth, rain on the roof, sunny days and surf. Good friends, good food and J S Bach.
An enjoyable listen as Micharl Kitchen takes us through the cut and thrust of wine and truffles.
The elite Inspector of Rome is facing a most unwelcome promotion and is offered a deal if he can release a winemaker to get the season's crop into the vats for an anticipated superb vintage. Meanwhile....
An innocent is quickly released from the clutches of Justice and the crime still begs a solution.
It is a story that is likely to leave a smile and a fondness for Zen.
Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.
The use of accents are now becoming a little cliché. Michael Kitchen is his usual high standard and the author Michael Dibdin has really developed into a enjoyable writer. Pity he has died. The story is interesting and moves along nicely. There is no real confusion with characters or plot and watching Zen do his job even with the ills that hit him out of the dark so to speak is wonderful, although he does seem to be resting on his Loral's. I guess he is coming to the end of his career and now knows the score so why upset the system. Never the less he does an adequate job and learns a little about truffles and wine in this case. This book will not make you an expert in these subjects but perhaps appreciate them a little more, and the reason not to keep rats as pets.
Perhaps if the producer/actor dropped the literary/ audio deceit of a series of truly awful simulations of an Englishman's version of what a native speaker of Italian sounds like to a non Italian..when in fact the characters are meant to be authentic Italians, then this novel may have been bearable. The obstacles to any sense of aural reality for the poor listener are as convoluted and un satisfying as the sentence pronounced by me above. Why on earth was it done? I am familiar with Mr Kitchen's work and he can indubitably "do" characterisations but these accents are, well, insulting..or did someone think this style of mockery was in keeping with Mr Dibdin's overall tone whilst writing this story? I am also au fait with other novels by the author and his wit and insight into the Italian way of being are entertaining. However, this cruel takeover by " others" of the main character, Zen and all the others left me irritated and then even more irritated because I wanted to follow the storyline to its conclusion. Being presumptuous is part of being a reviewer, albeit a rank amateur, but this novel was not the author's finest hour.
No. Sadly not. I may be desperate now to find audiobooks that are well written and produced but I notice that most are read in the same style by Mr Kitchen. It would not do to have a reader expire from rage while listening to a novel.
For me, it was a maximum detraction. Not being acquainted with the late Mr Dibdin, I do not know if his personal style was as abrasive and peremptory and basically mocking of the Italian people as this narrator seems to attest. I am no longer able to read a text but the sentences I hear, quite apart from their delivery, are clever, rather than rude.By the way, I am not even remotely Italian.
This always strikes me as the most unreasonable of questions. To actually excise a character from someone else's writing is quite an astonishing concept. Not being convinced by the characterisation I might understand. To me, the novel almost completely is a void when it comes to any representation of a real life woman, Italian or otherwise. Without exception we are shown vague, insipid women-like wraiths who are often ugly, old and desperate. I would add a woman of substance!
Searching for a reasonable book to listen to seems like a long, fruitless journey sometimes. If a listener is hoping this title will be a worthy entertainment or challenge, this is not for you.
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