LISTENER

Robin

Kew, Australia
  • 15
  • reviews
  • 14
  • helpful votes
  • 30
  • ratings
The Civilization of the Middle Ages audiobook cover art

Excellent overview, excellently read

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-19-19

I don’t pretend to have any knowledge of the subject-matter of this book, but that’s why I bought it. It’s very long, but my interest never flagged. Norman Cantor takes a very high overview of the Middle Ages, which he defines as extending from the conversion of Constantine to the end of the 15th century — an extremely long period to cover. I found it immensely informative, beautifully written, and equally beautifully read by Frederick Davidson, who seems to be able to read virtually anything well.

Milkman audiobook cover art

Brilliantly read

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-05-18

I approached this book warily, having found most previous Booker winners unreadable, and I’m pretty sure I would find this unreadable too in text form. It’s written from deep inside the narrator’s head, with many lengthy stream-of-consciousness passages of a type that I usually find impenetrable.

What saves it is the absolutely brilliant reading by Brid Brennan. She brings an enormous intelligence to the reading, and has obviously done an enormous amount of work to understand the rhythms and complexity of the prose, and as a result the attentive listener will have little difficulty following the narrative and the flow of events.

Others have written about the subject matter more or less informatively. For me what stands out is the powerlessness of the 18-year-old narrator to resist the restrictions that surround her and the constraints that are put upon her by the overwhelmingly oppressive society and circumstances into which she was born and in which she lives. The sense of foreboding is so intense that at times I was reluctant to read further for fear of what might happen next.

This is a highly rewarding book, and I cannot speak highly enough of Brid Brennan’s reading.

Transcription audiobook cover art

Terrible ending

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-17-18

This novel left a bad taste in my mouth. It was pretty good until the last chapter, when the story changed completely with a twist that was really a cheat. Kate Atkinson is a good writer but this novel pulled a cheap trick that really she should have passed over.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Lucky Jim audiobook cover art

Favourite book beautifully read

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-24-18

I’ve read this book many times and I love it. Paul Shelley reads it perfectly. I wish there were more of Amis’ early novels on Audible.

Girl on a Train audiobook cover art

Poor

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-15-16

I've listened to a lot of audiobooks, including a lot of mystery thrillers. And I've read a lot of mystery thrillers. In my opinion this is a very poor one. Poorly written, poorly plotted and a drippy and silly heroine. At times I thought it was like a kids' book.

I know a lot of people like this book but I think it's rubbish.

Down Cemetery Road audiobook cover art

Not his best

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-21-16

This is a fairly typical Mick Herron. The basic premise is that the British Secret Service is basically totally immoral and its principal activity is murdering people to cover up appalling crimes by the military and government. The body count is enormous and the plot is far-fetched to the point of being completely incredible. But it's fast paced and there are unexpected twists every few pages and it's diverting enough.

Anna Bentinck is serviceable as the reader but I don't think her voice is really suited to this stuff.

The best Mick Herrons are the Slow Horses trilogy read by Sean Barrett.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

Real Tigers audiobook cover art

Splendid

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-03-16

This is the third of the Slough House trilogy and I was sorry to get to the end. I had grown fond of all the Slough House inhabitants, even the appalling Jackson Lamb, who gets most of the best lines, and the nerdy Roderick Ho. All three books are wildly implausible, but terrific fun and beautifully written. The narrator, Sean Barrett, does all the characters justice. The Slow Horses have all had a good outing, but I hope another trilogy with different characters is in the pipeline.

Far From the Madding Crowd audiobook cover art

Pretty good

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-02-15

I listen to this recording about 40 years after reading the book and shortly after seeing the second filmed version. I almost always get a lot out of the recording that I missed in the reading, and this was no exception. Hardy's love of the rural life shines through every word, and the story is good and strong. Jill Masters reads well, if a little too carefully. Well worth getting.

How to Be Both audiobook cover art

Annoying

Overall
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-18-15

This book did not meet my expectations. It's the first I've read by Ali Smith and was highly recommended, but I was very disappointed. I found the schoolgirl Georgia tedious and of very little interest and all the stuff about present tense and past tense and the death of her mother just annoying. The things presented as insightful - the girl on the porn video - were trite.

The Francesco part of the story was worse. All the gender-bending stuff was pointless.

I thought the whole thing was a waste of time and I was glad when it finished.

The Book Thief audiobook cover art

Ruined by appalling narration

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-14

I could not finish this audiobook, in fact I endured only about an hour of it. I put up with that much hoping that it might better, but it didn't, so I gave up.

Denis Olsen is a famous Australian actor and much loved for his Gilbert and Sullivan performances. But he utterly ruins this book. He seems to think that we, the listeners, want to hear him ham it up, using ridiculous vocal modulations and even an echo chamber.

Good reading is an art. The narrator must first of all understand what he or she is reading, and then he or she must read the author's words in a way that simply conveys that meaning.

The only reader I have heard in 20 years of regular listening to audiobooks is an AAAmerican called Charlton Griffin. I have learnt necer to buy anything read by him . Denis Olsen has joined that illustrious company.

This book should be re-recorded by a narrator who can read properly.