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Crow-Conspirator

Southern Illinois
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Good, but Left Out Some Stuff

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

Reviewed: 02-10-19

Of course, it is “Jung: a Very Short Introduction,” so that’s okay.

First, Tim Piggot-Smith does a wonderful job reading: crisp, confident and with that English air of authority we Americans find reassuring. Despite leaving some stuff out, the author did a great job acquainting the reader with the highlights of Jung’s thought and life. I’ve read a decent amount of Jung and Marie-Louise von Franz, but it is nice to be able to zoom out to see much of it in a single glance. Many times I’d say to myself, “Oh, yeah, I remember this one.” I think this would be a good introduction for someone who wanted to dip a toe into the turbulent waters of the Jungian unconscious, too.

Wonderful Story Beautifully Read

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

Reviewed: 05-17-18

The dancing partnership between Fred and older sister Adele is, naturally, under appreciated today. We can only imagine the stir they created from looking at the old photographs, usually with Adele’s startlingly frank gaze meeting ours while Fred looks adoringly at her.

Their personalities come alive in this audiobook and each is given their share of attention. Adele, especially, comes across as the more fascinating of the two: bold, comic and sparkling, while Fred was more serious, but the better dancer. At times, I felt an ache that I would never see the numbers described, such as The Whichness of the Whatness from Stop Flirtin’.

Their stories are continued past Adele’s retirement to a largely tragic life punctuated by lost children and tried by two alcoholic husbands, while Fred overcame initial doubts as to his future without her to go on to the more famous partnership with Ginger Rogers and his well-known detestation of it. (And their mother was a formidable offstage presence of what was really a trio both professionally and personally.)

The crisp and energetic reading by Barbara Edelman is a performance, with her adopting a distinct voice for every quote, right down to Fred’s first wife’s pronunciation of “r’s” like Spaceball’s imposing cleric who opens his mouth and utters “mawwiage.” This might not appeal to some. Even her normal reading voice is very expressive, with slightly ear-catching idiosyncrasies. The only slight complaint is that the contrast between her normal reading voice at times and the sudden, louder brashness of her other voices did not always make for even volume.

However, I confess I found it extremely charming, and did not at all feel it detracted from the material. I could listen to it again, having just finished it, for the pleasure of Edelman’s voice, which is at turns velvety and slightly quirky even when not quoting. (My wife overheard it and commented that she liked it, too.) It seemed particularly suited to the material.

Both the “Dark” and “Genius:” Unflinching but Respectful

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

Reviewed: 05-16-18

This is an exhaustive and scholarly study of Hitchcock’s career that includes a psychological portrait of a film genius informed by many sources, but always returning to the recurring themes that became increasingly revelatory and dark in its later years. It lives up to its title, especially with Hitchcock’s famous obsession with a succession of cool blonds that culminated in the disastrous relationship with Tippi Hedren in The Birds and Marnie. However, while unflinching, it never descends to gossip and Soto remains respectful of his subject. Indeed, the “dark side” is balanced by the “genius” and one learns much of Hitchcock’s approach to filmmaking. Actors were usually ignored and occasionally mistreated, and writers were driven to distraction, while the master technician delighted primarily in elaborate scenes and camera work plotted in detail long before shooting began. The reader is top notch: pleasant to listen to with a note of authority who never distracts from the material.

Short

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

Reviewed: 02-14-18

Interesting from the perspective of the person satisfactions, intellectual and emotional, that Spurgeon found in his “doctrine of grace.” However, readers will not find a well-reasoned defense, and Spurgeon is vague on why he does not consider himself a hyper-Calvinist, whatever that is.

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