©1959 by Richard Condon; (P)1995 by Blackstone Audiobooks
"A psychoanalytic horror tale...and an irate sociopolitical satire." (The New York Times)
"Filled with that 'un-put-downable' element which makes this sort of [listening] a great deal of fun indeed." (San Francisco Chronicle)
Both the author and the narrator of this book are truly skilled and make this title a genuine treat. The speed of both the plot and narration are perfectly excecuted and the characterization is superb. What is an excellent plot is made even better by this narration!
Forget Rosemary's baby, cousin Kevin and Norman Bates' mom, Raymond's mother makes them pale into insignificance! An excellent tale of mind manipulation and cold war hysteria. Not for those who want car chases and regular explosions, although action addicts are catered for in the final chapters.
The Manchurian Candidate, published in 1959 is as relevant as it was than as it is now. Dealing with political manipulation and spy thriller, Richard Condon weaves a tight human drama against the backdrop of political espionage and intrigue. The characters are developed in three dimensions, even Raymond’s mother, who is in competition as the worst mother of all time, has sympathetic moments. You also get the sense of Greek tragedy and a psychological study through Raymond’s 9 year ordeal during the political rise of his family. Condon also does something very smart and mentions no political affiliation of any character (although it is somewhat alluded to) and although his allusion to McCarthyism was a main focal point and quite apparent, it still has scary similarities to today’s world of talking heads in the media and political world. Like “1984” before it, “The Manchurian Candidate” will always serve as a warning about the trust we put in our elected officials and to whom their true motivation lies.
The narration is strong and keeps your interest throughout.
Highly recommended as one of the best political thrillers of the past 60 years.
Gripping, fantastic. Great narration, great story. Had me hooked from the start, with its twisted mind games and slowly unraveling power struggles.
If you like your books with espionage, politics, military manipulation, and mind control, this will not disappoint.
Condon's novel is a classic that will surely stand the test of time and enter the annals of American Literature as one of the definitive examples that reflects the culture of the United States during the epoch of technological advance and sociopolitical unrest known as the Cold War. On top of that, Christopher Hurt's expressive and engaging narration style only adds to this magnificent production.
On a personal note, I found myself sneaking off with my iPod, unable to limit myself to listening only during my commute. My only complaint is that I wish the novel had been longer so that I could have drawn out the pleasure of the experience a bit longer. I'm already looking forward to revisiting The Manchurian Candidate, and with so many audio books at my disposal, I rarely listen to any more than once.
There wasn't much of the story in the book. I waited patiently for the story to pick up the pace and things to happen, but it just ended without any high points in between. The plot wasn't developed fully, and the I felt the story jumped around a lot and missed the continuity. If you are expecting a thriller or a spy-story - this isn't one. I liked the narration though - and that's what made me survive the 10-hours and finish the book.
This is a story that may have been interesting at one time, but I'm afraid that it has not aged gracefully. The storyline, the technology, the characters... all are very dated. The politics are dated enough to be far less interesting. The part that I found most iritating was the fact that almost 10 hours of book contains (at most) a solid 2 hours worth of actual story. The pace is dreadful, and the prose so overdone that it makes "It was a dark and stormy night..." seem like a rough first draft. I've listened to dozens of Audible books at this point, and I'm serious when I say that this is the first one that I've ever finished simply out of a sense of guilt for having already paid for it. I'd recommend a pass on this one.
"An entertaining read"
A couple of Richard Condon's books (this one (original version not the rather lame recent re-make) and "Prizzi's Honour" with Jack Nicholson) have been turned into excellent films, and you can see why. Tight and intriguing plots, a well balanced mix of thrills, satire and humour, likeable characters and splendid villains and tremendous momentum. I particularly enjoyed the mix of satire and thriller in the Manchurian Candidate - puts you in mind of present day political shenanigans!
I've docked a star because of the variability in the narration. The narration itself is really excellent - the satire is splendidly brought out, for example - but the way in which the narrative has been edited together is sometimes a bit disjointed, with overlong gaps between paragraphs and sentences, which I found mildly off-putting.
Overall, though warmly recommended.
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