©2009 Donna Leon and Diogenes Verlag AG Zurich; (P)2009 BBC Audio
I liked this book, but take note that it doesn't move quickly and it's not just a detective mystery. Leon's detective Guido __ solves the case but along the way one is treated to a view of Italian life, specifically Venice. A good deal of time is spent on Guido's family with sharp dialogue with his wife, who is a gem, kids and in-laws. The narrator is top notch and his performance makes it a delight to listen to.
The pace of this book requires adjustment from readers who are used to the hectic rhythms of, say, Michael Connelly and other writers whose procedurals take place in L.A. or New York. So much time is given to the nuances of interaction between characters of differing social class, regional backgrounds and levels of intimacy that it begins to feel a little sleep-inducing. But the plot is gripping and the action, when it comes, is shocking and touching. And although the atmosphere abounds with leisure, books, and camomile tea, the view of life presented is as bleak and hard on the human spirit as anything in Harry Bosch's world.
I am happy to learn that this is part of a long series and I plan to listen at leisure.
2004 Audible listener
Listening to Donna Leon's books transports me from midwest Kansas to the Italy I have visited and vacationed in. The narration and narrative are both excellent. This is the fifth book I have listened to that David Colacci has read. I think he is a perfect match for the text.
This could have been a good story, but the author doesn't develop it, and the ending seems disjointed from the beginning. There are segues into tailoring, fashion sense, art, wine, food. It's only mildly interesting that Brunetti notices the cut of a jacket, or the stitching of a cuff. These segues interrupt the plot development to the point that parts of the plot just seem to drop and a new line picks up. The plot fails to hold together in a coherent narrative; it left me dissatisfied. I was just glad to finish the book.
Characters pop in and out of the storyline without development, and often without explanation of who they are. I was too often confused who was doing what to whom, and why.There are rather a lot of them too.
David Colacci is one of the worst narrators I've ever listened to. I don't know if he's really Italian and the accent he uses is natural to him, or if it's affected. Either way, it's distracting, and often confusing because of the way he pronounces the names of the rather large cast of characters. His tone of voice frequently makes a character's dialogue sound brutish, in a stereotyped manner. It was extremely off-putting, and I doubt I'll listen to another book he narrates.
I gather this is a series. I won't be reading any more of it, and probably won't buy anything from this author again.
Great story, and as usual, narrated very well by David Colacci. Lots of great visuals in this one: the woman with the strange face, the interior of a waste-holding metal structure, and the steps of the Venice casino. Very affecting ending, for me, totally unexpected.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
This is one of very few instances where I still prefer the book-reading to the book-listening experience. Donna Leon's series is wonderful, and "About Face" is a good example of it. But the narrator fails to convey the warmth of the characters and the constant essence of Venice that add so much to the mysteries.
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