LISTENER

Lee Chemel

  • 23
  • reviews
  • 233
  • helpful votes
  • 370
  • ratings
  • A Little Life

  • A Novel
  • By: Hanya Yanagihara
  • Narrated by: Oliver Wyman
  • Length: 32 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,854
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,229
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8,237

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I had to call in SAD to work

  • By Angela on 10-17-15

Cloying

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

Reviewed: 12-01-15

What begins as a promising examination of the lives of four friends in their 20s, spirals into unremitting bathos as the dark life of one of them is revealed and then poured over for several hundred pages. Where was the editor?

24 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • True History of the Kelly Gang

  • By: Peter Carey
  • Narrated by: Gianfranco Negroponte
  • Length: 13 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 349
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 161
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 161

Ned Kelly's name resonates in Australia the same way the name Jesse James does in America. Was he a crusading folk hero or murderous horse thief and bank robber? Who was the real Ned Kelly? As the impoverished son of an Irish convict, Kelly was cheated, lied to, and abused by the English. Committed to fighting back against oppression, Kelly and his gang of outlaws eluded police for nearly two years.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant and Poetic

  • By Margaret on 02-11-08

beautiful writing, great story

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

Reviewed: 11-18-15

Peter Carey read a letter that was written by the real 19th century outlaw, Ned Kelly (known as the Jesse James of Australia) and then fashioned an imagined biography from that voice and that time. It is a wonderful story, a wonderful piece of writing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Blue Lightning: A Thriller

  • By: Ann Cleeves
  • Narrated by: Gordon Griffin
  • Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 674
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 613
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 612

Inspector Jimmy Perez takes his fiance home to Fair Isle, the tiny island he comes from, to meet his parents. The island is a magnet for bird watchers, who congregate at the local inn and lighthouse. When a local married celebrity who had an eye for the lads is murdered, Perez discovers that the suspects are very close to him indeed.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Totally unput-down-able! More please!

  • By Amazon Customer on 04-07-15

If Ambien isn't working, listen to this book.

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

Reviewed: 06-21-15

Main character has nothing going for him -- neither intellect nor any kind of charisma. The story is shamefully mundane. The narrator reads so slowly that you forget what is being discussed. A soporific.

3 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North

  • By: Richard Flanagan
  • Narrated by: David Atlas
  • Length: 14 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,362
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,222
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,221

>In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thailand - Burma Death Railway in 1943, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle's young wife two years earlier. His life is a daily struggle to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from pitiless beatings - until he receives a letter that will change him forever.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Exquisite

  • By Lee Chemel on 10-25-14

Exquisite

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

Reviewed: 10-25-14

This beautiful novel justly received the Man Booker Prize this year. A Guardian reviewer said that to call it a rich tapestry gives too much credit to tapestries. Indeed it does. It is, on a simple level, the story of Dorrigo Evans, a Tasmanian surgeon whose horrific experience with his diseased, crippled and dying Australian POWS, slaves of the Japanese intent on building the Burma Railroad for the Emperor, informs the rest of his life.
It is everything I admire in a piece of writing: chilling, deeply moving, brutal and poetic. But so much more.
Toward the end of the novel, perhaps the last hour, I couldn't move. I found myself standing spellbound in my kitchen, grasping a dripping sponge.

84 of 87 people found this review helpful

  • Revolution 1989

  • The Fall of the Soviet Empire
  • By: Victor Sebestyen
  • Narrated by: Paul Hecht
  • Length: 18 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 232
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 177
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 174

For more than 40 years, communism held eight European nations in its iron fist. Yet by the end of 1989, all of these nations had thrown off communism, declared independence, and embarked on the road to democracy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Unsurpassed

  • By Mike From Mesa on 06-28-12

Compelling, downright entertaining

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

Reviewed: 09-14-14

An excellently researched and composed account of the tide and eventual tsunami of events that led to the fall of communism. The internecine machinations and conflicts among the corrupt leaders in the satellite countries of Eastern Europe, especially the GDR, are particularly fascinating and revealing. The portrait of Gorbachev is also surprising.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • I Am Pilgrim

  • A Thriller
  • By: Terry Hayes
  • Narrated by: Christopher Ragland
  • Length: 22 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,268
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,695
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,695

An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid. A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square. A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard. Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan. A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Just finished... Sorry... Could listen to more.

  • By Ted on 12-14-17

bad narration, bad story

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

Reviewed: 06-04-14

wow the narrator sounds like he is doing a Zoolander imitation. The story is absolutely one-dimensional. The hero is obnoxious. Otherwise it's great.

5 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • The Son: A Novel

  • By: Jo Nesbø
  • Narrated by: Gildart Jackson
  • Length: 17 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,458
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,313
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,306

Sonny Lofthus is a strangely charismatic and complacent young man. Sonny’s been in prison for a dozen years, nearly half his life. The inmates who seek out his uncanny abilities to soothe leave his cell feeling absolved. They don’t know or care that Sonny has a serious heroin habit - or where or how he gets his uninterrupted supply of the drug. Or that he’s serving time for other peoples’ crimes. Sonny took the first steps toward addiction when his father took his own life rather than face exposure as a corrupt cop. Now Sonny is the seemingly malleable center of a whole infrastructure of corruption....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Break From The Harry Hole Series Is a Hit

  • By Russell on 09-04-14

Best since The Snowman

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

Reviewed: 05-21-14

The story is intricate and the characters finely drawn ... tension is not contrived. A really sublime crime thriller. This is Jo Nesbø at his best. I don't even miss Harry Hole.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Raphael Affair

  • Art History Mysteries, Book 1
  • By: Iain Pears
  • Narrated by: Ralph Cosham
  • Length: 5 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 109
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 96
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 98

When Jonathan Argyll is arrested for breaking into an obscure church in Rome, he claims that it contains a long-lost Raphael hidden under a painting by Mantini. The painting disappears - then reappears in the hands of the top British art dealer, Edward Byrnes. How has Byrnes found out about the hidden masterpiece, and whom is he acting for? There is also the curious matter of the safe deposit box full of sketches closely resembling features of the newly discovered painting.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful art, elegant wit and amusing writing

  • By Marina on 05-04-12

Expository and tedius

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

Reviewed: 08-04-13

What disappointed you about The Raphael Affair?

The lack of strong story and characters. The endless exposition.

Would you ever listen to anything by Iain Pears again?

I have but not sure I will again.

How could the performance have been better?

The performance was not the problem

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Raphael Affair?

If I were an editor I would not call them scenes; this isn't a screenplay. But if I were going to edit this novel, I would take out most of the expository passages and ask the author to convert to dialogue and more important, STORY ... action and choices ... and ask that the stakes be raised, that a stronger sense of jeopardy be imposed onto the main characters.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • A Delicate Truth

  • A Novel
  • By: John le Carré
  • Narrated by: John le Carré
  • Length: 10 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 621
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 546
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 545

A Delicate Truth opens in 2008. A counter-terrorist operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted on the British crown colony of Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture and abduct a high-value jihadist arms buyer. Its authors: an ambitious Foreign Office Minister, a private defense contractor who is also his bosom friend, and a shady American CIA operative of the evangelical far right. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister’s personal private secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A latter-day Jeremiah of espionage & statecraft.

  • By Darwin8u on 05-15-13

Breathtaking and beautifully written and read

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

Reviewed: 05-11-13

The best Le Carre yet, revealing the impenetrable moral equivocations of the corporate ascendancy in politics and war. The author reads with such simplicity and depth.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Life After Life

  • A Novel
  • By: Kate Atkinson
  • Narrated by: Fenella Woolgar
  • Length: 15 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 3,793
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,417
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3,426

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Exhilarating, breathtaking book

  • By Kareol on 08-13-15

Unexpectedly enthralling

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

Reviewed: 04-21-13

In a beautifully narrated presentation, Atkinson's novel unfolds to us, layer upon layer, a story of great depth and character. A thriller, a saga, a deep well of richness in which to immerse yourself.

3 of 6 people found this review helpful