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Emrys

Alfred, NY, United States
  • 93
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  • 313
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  • 151
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  • Tess of the d'Urbervilles

  • By: Thomas Hardy
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 14 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 266
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 233
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 233

Young Tess Durbeyfield attempts to restore her family's fortunes by claiming their connection with the aristocratic d'Urbervilles. But Alec d'Urberville is a rich wastrel who seduces her and makes her life miserable. When Tess meets Angel Clare, she is offered true love and happiness, but her past catches up with her and she faces an agonizing moral choice.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful and Heartbreaking

  • By Ilana on 11-04-12

A literary masterpiece

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

Reviewed: 08-21-18

This is a truly great novel. Listening to it many years after first reading it, I'm even more impressed by it now. The story is powerful, the characters interesting and believable. And the portrayal of rural life during depressed times is quite brilliant. The narration is very good. It seemed to me that at times the rural accents of the characters were a bit unstable, shifting between Wessex, something close to Welsh, and sometimes something close to Irish. But this didn't detract unduly from the listening.

  • Jude the Obscure

  • By: Thomas Hardy
  • Narrated by: Neville Jason
  • Length: 17 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 91
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 79
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 80

Sexually innocent Jude Fawley is trapped into marriage by seductive Arabella Donn, but their union is an unhappy one and Arabella leaves him. Jude's welcome freedom allows him to pursue his obsession with his pretty cousin Sue Bridehead, a brilliant, charismatic free-thinker who would be his ideal soul-mate if not for her aversion to physical love. When Jude and Sue decide to lead their lives outside marriage they bring down on themselves all the force of a repressive society.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Left reeling

  • By Tad Davis on 03-03-14

Hardy at his best--and at his worst

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

Reviewed: 08-21-18

I found the first three quarters of this novel excellent. Hardy is a great novelist, a wonderful observer of nature and and people, and full of profound reflection. He also constructs great stories. I have to say, though, that I found the last quarter of the book a bit disappointing. Sue and Jude behave so foolishly, especially Sue, and they become downright annoying. Also, when the gloom descends in a Hardy novel, it blots put any light; so things become very grim indeed. For all that, I'm glad I re-read the book. It was better than I remember it. The narrator is excellent.

  • Netherland

  • By: Joseph O'Neill
  • Narrated by: Jefferson Mays
  • Length: 8 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 292
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 112
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 113

Alone and un-tethered, feeling lost in the country he had come to regard as home, Hans stumbles upon the vibrant New York subculture of cricket, where he revisits his lost childhood and, thanks to a friendship with a charismatic and charming Trinidadian named Chuck Ramkissoon, begins to reconnect with his life and his adopted country. Ramkissoon, a Gatsby-like figure who is part idealist and part operator, introduces Hans to an "other" New York populated by immigrants and strivers of every race and nationality.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Get Your Post-Colonial Gatsby ON!

  • By Darwin8u on 04-13-12

Enjoyable and interesting

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

Reviewed: 07-30-18

I enjoyed this novel and the narration was fine. To me it was interesting rather than brilliant.

  • Mary Barton

  • A Tale of Manchester Life
  • By: Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 16 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 332
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 292
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 289

When her father assassinates Henry Carson, his employer's son and Mary's admirer, suspicion falls on Mary's second admirer, Jem, a fellow worker. Mary has to prove her lover's innocence without incriminating her own father.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Narration as Brilliant Performance Art

  • By Amazon Customer on 09-14-10

A great 19th century novel

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

Reviewed: 07-30-18

This is a classic British 19th century novel, somewhere between Dickens and Eliot. Gaskell has Dickens' social conscience and sympathy for the poor; but her style is not so melodramatic or lyrical; it is more sober and philosophical. It was a best seller in its day and its easy to see why; the portrait of working class life is brilliantly executed, and the story is compelling. Juliet Stevenson's narration is superb. She does the Manchester accent wonderfully well. ( I have one tiny criticism; when the action moves to Liverpool, she doesn't give the locals there a different accent.)

  • The Known World

  • By: Edward P. Jones
  • Narrated by: Kevin Free
  • Length: 14 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 657
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 257
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 256

Henry Townsend, a black farmer, bootmaker, and former slave, has a fondness for Paradise Lost and an unusual mentor, William Robbins, perhaps the most powerful white man in antebellum Virginia's Manchester County. Under Robbins's tutelage, Henry becomes proprietor of his own plantation, as well as of his own slaves. When he dies, his widow Caldonia succumbs to profound grief, and things begin to fall apart.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • wonderful and highly recommended

  • By Rachel on 09-06-04

Boring style; confusing narrative

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

Reviewed: 06-12-18

I hate giving up on books and rarely do it. But I just found The Known World boring. In the first few chapters a confusing number of characters are introduced, and the narrative moves pointlessly backwards and forwards in time. I found especially annoying the regular digressions along the lines of, "fifty years later she would die at the age of 87 of heart failure.' I also found the author's style quite pedestrian, and the narrator didn't do much to enliven it.

  • The Sympathizer

  • A Novel
  • By: Viet Thanh Nguyen
  • Narrated by: Francois Chau
  • Length: 13 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,536
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,161
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,137

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2016. It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Great Vietnamese Novel(Port)Nguyen's Complaint

  • By Joe Kraus on 03-31-16

Interesting and sophisticated

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

Reviewed: 06-04-18

This is a fine novel overall. The "Captain" who is telling his story is a complex character. The basic premise of the story--that he is a committed communist who is embedded as a spy with the anti-communists, provides and leads to a lot of moral complexity. Two slight criticisms: the cultural criticism of the US relies on cliched stereotypes; and the last section of the book seems to me rather implausible–in fact it almost seems as if the genre of the book has been switched. The narrator is decent.

  • The Sellout

  • A Novel
  • By: Paul Beatty
  • Narrated by: Prentice Onayemi
  • Length: 9 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,726
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,531
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,523

A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty's The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality: the black Chinese restaurant.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Just OK - a few funny sections

  • By kurdis teed on 10-19-17

Witty but rambling

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

Reviewed: 05-30-18

The great strength of the book is in the absurdist humor and the wit contained in the dialogue and in the narrator's entertainer observations. It's main weakness is that the plot is not very well developed. Also, the high energy profane cynicism, while amusing at first, eventually becomes a bit tiresome. The narrator is excellent.

  • The Nix

  • A Novel
  • By: Nathan Hill
  • Narrated by: Ari Fliakos
  • Length: 21 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,910
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,337
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,313

It's 2011, and Samuel Andresen-Anderson - college professor, stalled writer - has a Nix of his own: his mother, Faye. He hasn't seen her in decades, not since she abandoned the family when he was a boy. Now she's reappeared, having committed an absurd crime that electrifies the nightly news, beguiles the Internet, and inflames a politically divided country. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high school sweetheart.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Nathan Hill is an exceptional storyteller.

  • By Bonny on 09-13-16

Very entertaining novel; superb narration

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

Reviewed: 05-28-18

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. The structure is fairly complex, but it's not difficult to follow. I especially liked the author's many acute perceptions and observations about people and contemporary culture. The narration is brilliant.

  • Possession

  • By: A. S. Byatt
  • Narrated by: Virginia Leishman
  • Length: 22 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 564
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 394
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 395

As a pair of young scholars research the lives of two Victorian poets, they uncover their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire - from spiritualist seances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany. What emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passion and ideas.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely Excellent

  • By Loujujoe on 05-12-09

Clever story and good writing but a little cold

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

Reviewed: 04-24-18

This is a fine book in many ways. The double plot (the story of the researchers, and the story of their subjects) is nicely managed. And the imitation of 19th century styles in prose and poetry is very well done. But even though I'm steeped in the 19th century and British literature, I still found the book a little unexciting, clever, but a bit cold. I found I enjoyed the slightly humorous 21st century more interesting than the very serious 19th century story. The narrator is fine. And throughout, there are some very nice touches in the writing.

  • Roots

  • The Saga of an American Family
  • By: Alex Haley
  • Narrated by: Avery Brooks
  • Length: 30 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,201
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,126
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,152

Why we think it’s a great listen: A masterpiece like none other, Brooks’ powerful performance of Haley’s words has been known to leave listeners in tears. It begins with a birth in an African village in 1750, and ends two centuries later at a funeral in Arkansas. And in that time span, an unforgettable cast of men, women, and children come to life, many of them based on the people from Alex Haley's own family tree.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Impressive! DO NOT WIKI THIS BOOK!

  • By avoidthelloyd on 09-17-14

A real epic that vividly depicts slavery

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

Reviewed: 03-28-18

This is a tremendous book. Apparently Haley made considerable use of another novel, "The African" in his account of Kunta Kinte's experience. But it wasn't as if he lifted passages directly. Haley is a very good writer, and he succeeds in bringing to life in words the subjective experience of what it must have been like to be enslaved. Apparently, his historical research was also badly flawed. It doesn't matter. This is a novel and should be judged as such. One weakness is that it Peters out somewhat. Once the family are liberated and move from Virginia, Haley seems to lose some of his interests and the narrative becomes a bit cursory. He also feels the need to include a homage to his father. But it would have been better if the novel ended with his own birth. The narration is excellent.