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  • 106
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  • The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter

  • By: Carson McCullers
  • Narrated by: Cherry Jones
  • Length: 12 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,271
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 795
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 797

Carson McCullers was all of 23 when she published her first novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. She became an overnight literary sensation, and soon such authors as Tennessee Williams were calling her "the greatest prose writer that the South [has] produced." The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter tells an unforgettable tale of moral isolation in a small southern mill town in the 1930s.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful Prose and Perfect Narration

  • By Michael on 03-15-15

Sure it's a work of art, BUT...

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

Reviewed: 02-24-18

There is a hell of a lot of communist diatribe mixed in with the artistry. Admittedly, there are brilliant sections, for example one about Mick falling in love with a Beethoven Symphony. It is really a masterly piece of writing, capturing more vividly the feeling of being consumed and overwhelmed by a piece of music that I would have dreamt possible-- There is also a great story featuring a child wielding a loaded gun. There is no doubt that McCullers is an amazingly gifted writer, but I am bored and frustrated-- the characters are so terribly unhappy that one could really be inspired to a serious depression. I've been listening to it on and off for a week now, each time more and more reluctant to return to it--and now I have to admit I've got to give up on it as it is clearly going nowhere.

  • After the Fire

  • By: Henning Mankell, Marlaine Delargy - translator
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 11 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 105
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 89
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 90

Fredrik Welin is a former surgeon who retired in disgrace decades earlier to a tiny island on which he is the only resident. He has a daughter he rarely sees, and his mailman, Jansson, is the closest thing he has to a friend and to an adversary. He is perfectly content to live out his days in quiet solitude. One autumn evening, he is startled awake by a blinding light - only to discover that his house is on fire. With the help of Jansson, he escapes the flames just in time wearing two left boots.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Most boring book this year

  • By David on 11-16-17

Most boring book this year

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

Reviewed: 11-16-17

The description of the book is far more interesting than the book itself. It is hard to believe that the story of the after math of an old man having his house burn down could possibly be such slow going. This man has three relationships: one with his daughter, one with a neighbor, and one with a new female acquaintance. He manages to have a non-relationship with all of them. The narrator is a liar and a snoop, and a thoroughly unlikable reprobate.
This book has only one saving grace. If you suffer from insomnia an use listening to books as a way to relax at bedtime, this book is guaranteed to bore you to sleep.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Anything Is Possible

  • A Novel
  • By: Elizabeth Strout
  • Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
  • Length: 8 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,608
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,471
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,469

Here are two sisters: One trades self-respect for a wealthy husband while the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. The janitor at the local school has his faith tested in an encounter with an isolated man he has come to help; a grown daughter longs for mother love even as she comes to accept her mother's happiness in a foreign country; and the adult Lucy Barton (the heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton, the author's celebrated New York Times best seller) returns to visit her siblings after 17 years of absence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Powerful & Disturbing

  • By Sara on 06-08-17

Not up to Strout's usual standard

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

Reviewed: 06-24-17

Would you try another book from Elizabeth Strout and/or Kimberly Farr?

Yes. I have read several other books by her and she is an excellent author.

Would you ever listen to anything by Elizabeth Strout again?

Yes.

Which scene was your favorite?

I did not care for any of it.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

no.

Any additional comments?

This book should not be billed as a novel. Yes, there are characters that appear in more than one story and all the people originally are from the same town, but that is not enough to warrant calling this a novel. There is no single plot that runs through the whole. At times, the explanations of the characters' feelings and motivations and what you are to understand from the story are too overtly spelled out, and at times the stories have unsatisfying endings that are hard to interpret. I am thinking of returning this, because I was really disappointed by it.

  • The Prince of Midnight

  • By: Laura Kinsale
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Boulton
  • Length: 15 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,127
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,051
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,052

He was once a legendary highwayman. Now he's a recluse in a ruined French castle, with only a half-wild wolf for a companion. When Lady Leigh Strachan comes looking for a man to aid in her revenge, she's disillusioned to find that the famed Prince of Midnight couldn't help even if he cared to - which he doesn't. S. T. Maitland wants nothing to do with his legend, or with this fierce, beautiful, broken woman... until the old thrill of living on the cutting edge of danger begins to rise in his blood again.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Imagine My Joy!

  • By Anonymous User on 05-26-13

Face it. This is trash.

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

Reviewed: 11-14-16

Would you try another book from Laura Kinsale and/or Nicholas Boulton?

No. The characters have way too many about faces. All the time you know how it is going to turn out, but they just can't seem to get on with it. The plot is also in-credible. Yes, I put a hyphen into a word that isn't normally spelled with hyphen. Why? Because it is important to make it clear that this word is not intended as a compliment. I'm as willing as the next person to suspend disbelief, but this plot strains my ability to do so.

What could Laura Kinsale have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

She drew both characters in the same way. They were fully conscious of their true feelings but unwilling to share them honestly with each other. She overdid this annoying quality for so many chapters that it became really wearing. Maybe if only one character had done this it would have been better. Otherwise, perhaps she could have had them become more forthcoming earlier on, so that they would seem to be growing to trust each other.

What about Nicholas Boulton’s performance did you like?

Everything. He is a really good reader. One stops being conscious of him after a while. He can even deliver lines that are the same word repeated four or five times without sounding at all stagey. That was pretty impressive, especially since this text is mind-bogglingly melodramatic.

Was The Prince of Midnight worth the listening time?

Well, no. I feel embarrassed to have read it and hope that my more intelligent friends don't find out about it. It is possible that this genre is just not for me.

Any additional comments?

After the fire (I don't want to say too much, because someone might actually want to read this) it is unbelievable that the two characters could go back to their former stupid ways of relating to each other. One would think that an event so momentous would have helped the characters to present their best selves, but alas, this author was married to additional twists and turns, so that if they had come to their senses too soon the plan would have been disarranged. aargh.

  • A Gentleman in Moscow

  • A Novel
  • By: Amor Towles
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Guy Smith
  • Length: 17 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21,135
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 19,595
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19,522

A Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in an elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel's doors.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant, heartfelt, inspiring

  • By Jon K. Rust on 07-24-17

Best Book This Year

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

Reviewed: 09-16-16

If you could sum up A Gentleman in Moscow in three words, what would they be?

Masterful, Charming, Engrossing

What other book might you compare A Gentleman in Moscow to and why?

I can't think of any. Having said that, one of the best things in this book is the way that the characterization, which is rich, drives an excellent plot. I loved the characters and I miss them now that the book is behind me. This book makes excellent points about Soviet Russia, without preaching anything at all.

Which scene was your favorite?

There are so many terrific scenes that this is impossible to say, especially if one does not wish to give anything important away. The ending is magnificent, but how terrible to describe it and ruin the book for others! The Count's relationship with his young friend yields some real amusement in several scenes, in particular the one in which she comes up to him in the hotel restaurant and asks him what became of his mustaches. This is the beginning of a beautifully drawn relationship. A scene in which the child is testing Newton's theory of gravity remains in the mind's eye. There are many scenes that are visually appealing, in addition to being clever and spinning the plot along nicely. If this isn't made into a movie, I cannot imagine why. There is so much in this that is tailor made for cinematic treatment.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Impossible. It is much too long, BUT yes I wanted to just keep listening rather than attending to things...

Any additional comments?

Loved it. At the end, I went back and listened to the beginning and found myself thinking, "Ah!!" I really could have listened to the whole thing again! There were so many nuances and there was such depth of detail that revealed itself when I listened again. What a great book!

54 of 63 people found this review helpful

  • Excellent Women

  • By: Barbara Pym
  • Narrated by: Jayne Entwistle
  • Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,093
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 997
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 997

Mildred Lathbury is a clergyman's daughter and a mild-mannered spinster in 1950s England. She is one of those excellent women - the smart, supportive, repressed women whom men take for granted. As Mildred gets embroiled in the lives of her new neighbors - anthropologist Helena Napier; Helen's handsome, dashing husband, Rocky; and Julian Malory, the vicar next door - the novel presents a series of snapshots of human life as actually, and pluckily, lived.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • At long last...Barbara Pym!

  • By Holly on 05-07-16

At first charming but finally a bit depressing

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

Reviewed: 09-16-16

Where does Excellent Women rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This was passably entertaining. I didn't expect it to be profound or eloquent, nor was it.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The ending is prosaic, which is perfectly in keeping with how the story has progressed from the beginning. If you are looking for something uplifting, don't even start. Without risk of giving anything away, the reader should consider the title and the comment that "Excellent women" are those one "esteems and respects," but not those we would wish to invite to dinner! The main character is one who considers herself to belong in the company of excellent women. Is it necessary to say more?

What about Jayne Entwistle’s performance did you like?

She sounds just as this character should.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

no

  • Cousin Kate

  • By: Georgette Heyer
  • Narrated by: Jilly Bond
  • Length: 11 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 316
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 283
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 285

When young and beautiful governess Kate Malvern finds herself unemployed, she is taken in by Minerva Broome, the aunt she has never met, and whisked away to the majestic country home of Staplewood. However, things are not as they seem: strange things start to happen in the manor and Staplewood soon turns from an inviting stately house to a cold and gloomy mansion with a dreadful secret!

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Horrible narrator

  • By Patricia on 11-01-14

Terrible through and through

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

Reviewed: 06-22-16

What would have made Cousin Kate better?

Almost anything would have been better. This book is overwrought and predictable.

Has Cousin Kate turned you off from other books in this genre?

No.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jilly Bond?

Anyone whose voice was less whiny. All of the characters sound like cartoons.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Cousin Kate?

Most scenes needed to be cut by at least half. The author doesn't trust the reader to catch on, so keeps hammering away at the same points. This story is unbelievably repetitive.

Any additional comments?

This is the first Heyer book I have not thoroughly enjoyed. I still can't believe how awful this was. Pure torture.

  • The Silence of Trees

  • By: Valya Dudycz Lupescu
  • Narrated by: Xe Sands
  • Length: 10 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 29
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 26

In Chicago's Ukrainian Village, Nadya Lysenko has built her life on a foundation of secrets. When she was 16, Nadya snuck out of her house in Western Ukraine to meet a fortuneteller in the woods. She never expected it to be the last time she would see her family. Decades later, Nadya continues to be haunted by the death of her parents and sisters. The myths and magic of her childhood are still a part of her reality: Dreams unite friends across time and space, house spirits misplace keys and glasses, and a fortuneteller's cards predict the future.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Oh so bad.

  • By David on 06-30-15

Oh so bad.

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

Reviewed: 06-30-15

Would you try another book from Valya Dudycz Lupescu and/or Xe Sands?

Probably not...Maybe if I were paid extra credits for wasting hours of my life I would consider it.

What could Valya Dudycz Lupescu have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

The main character, Nadia, is incredibly annoying. Over and over her "guides" have to tell her things that any moron could figure out. She and the narration keep saying how important it is to tell one's stories, but she takes forever to tell her family her own. She thinks things to herself and can never seem to just spit it out. It gets to the point where you wish the writer would put her out of her misery-- Save yourself the trouble of reading this. The story is predictable and unless you are interested in Ukrainian folklore and traditions there is nothing worthwhile to this.

How could the performance have been better?

Maybe if the narrator didn't whisper in an insipid fashion it would be better.

What character would you cut from The Silence of Trees?

Nadia.

Any additional comments?

Don't ever listen to anything read by this narrator. I have never written a review criticizing a narrator. Normally, I can adjust to anything, but this woman is truly awful.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Blame

  • A Novel
  • By: Michelle Huneven
  • Narrated by: Hillary Huber
  • Length: 10 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 112
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 52
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 55

Patsy MacLemoore, a history professor in her late 20s, has a brand-new Ph.D. from Berkeley and a wild streak. She wakes up in jail after an epic alcoholic blackout. "Okay, what'd I do?" she asks her lawyer and jailers. In fact, two Jehovah's Witnesses, a mother and daughter, are dead, run over in Patsy's driveway, and Patsy will spend the rest of her life trying to atone. She goes to prison, gets sober, and upon her release finds a new community (and a husband) in AA.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing character study!

  • By Rex on 11-01-09

Worst ending

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

Reviewed: 04-22-15

Any additional comments?

Normally, I don't write reviews, but am making an exception in this case to say that after investing many an hour in this book, but ending is a terrible disappointment. The main character, Patsy, behaves like a doormat, though the author sets the reader up to expect more and better. What a let down.

  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

  • By: Jonas Jonasson
  • Narrated by: Steven Crossley
  • Length: 12 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 7,471
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,803
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6,834

After a long and eventful life, Allan Karlsson ends up in a nursing home, believing it to be his last stop. The only problem is that he's still in good health, and in one day, he turns 100. A big celebration is in the works, but Allan really isn't interested (and he'd like a bit more control over his vodka consumption). So he decides to escape. He climbs out the window in his slippers and embarks on a hilarious and entirely unexpected journey, involving, among other surprises, a suitcase stuffed with cash.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Ages Well

  • By Dennis on 10-21-12

Silly story

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

Reviewed: 02-13-15

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

no

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Um. Well, it mentions a lot of historical figures, but I'm not sure that is interesting

What does Steven Crossley bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narration is definitely entertaining. The tone shifts with the characters. Easy to listen to.

Was The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared worth the listening time?

Absolutely not.

Any additional comments?

Even though it was ridiculous, it was also humorous, especially toward the end. You invest a lot of time in a silly story, but the author does cleverly spin out the ending so that you finally see why so much effort was exerted to put all the pieces in place.