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JBB32

Rolling Hills, CA, United States
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  • Ordinary Thunderstorms

  • A Novel
  • By: William Boyd
  • Narrated by: Gideon Emery
  • Length: 12 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 189
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 111
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 111

One May evening in London, Adam Kindred, a young climatologist in town for a job interview, is feeling good about the future as he sits down for a meal at a little Italian bistro. He strikes up a conversation with a solitary diner at the next table, who leaves soon afterward. With horrifying speed, this chance encounter leads to a series of malign accidents, through which Adam loses everything—home, family, friends, job, reputation, passport, credit cards, cell phone—never to get them back.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Extra-ordinary Exploration of Identity

  • By Pamela Harvey on 03-20-10

Modern Novel by Boyd

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

Reviewed: 01-06-16

Unlike previous novels like the Powellesque 'Any Human Heart' or the female-narrated 'Restless' and 'Sweet Caress,' (these last two surely making Boyd the Caitlyn Jenner of English or perhaps Scottish letters) 'Ordinary Thunderstorms' is a thoroughly modern novel. Although at times it reads like a erie amalgamation of the style Boyd's countryman John Buchan and his English contemporary, Martin Amis, it is thoroughly entertaining as a thriller and with a sense of humor not as conspicuous in the other novels by this author. Female characters are few but, for once, original, quirky and well-developed. The story line is strong and there is no doubt that a screen adaptation would be successful with a good director. Most issues are resolved by the end of the book except one. Spoiler alert: John Jo is still out there and with an ax to grind!

  • The Citadel

  • By: A J Cronin
  • Narrated by: Franklin Engelmann
  • Length: 15 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 46
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36

New doctor Andrew Manson looks forward to his post in a Welsh mining community, but he finds practicing medicine in such primitive conditions very different from his training. He makes friends, but also enemies. First published in 1937, this book was groundbreaking in its treatment of the contentious theme of medical ethics. It is credited with laying the foundation in Great Britain for the introduction of the Nation Health Service a decade later.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Incredibly bad recording

  • By Achlasaba on 10-24-10

A must-read for physicians

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

Reviewed: 11-18-12

This story highlights ethics in Medicine and is as true and valid now as it was in 1937. Many reviewers have criticised the recording and it is certainly dated both from a technical as well as a linguistics viewpoint. The narrator can be heard to cough, shuffel papers and make mistakes, which he corrects openly. However, in his defence, I would say that Mr. Engleman speaks the Standard English spoken widely (especially on the BBC) in the mid twentieth century and at the time the book came out. He masters the accents of the Welsh miners, the Scottish hero, Andrew, his Yorkshire wife, an American scientist and his West End coleagues. The only accent that grates somewhat is his own. Modern UK English has changed considerably and his would seem archaic to most British listeners not to mention those on this side of the pond.
However, these considerations should not prevent anyone from listening to one of the best novels on health care delivery for the past 100 years.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Gulag Archipelago

  • Volume III: Katorga, Exile, Stalin Is No More
  • By: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
  • Length: 21 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 400
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 330
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 330

In this final volume of a towering work that is both literary masterpiece and living memorial to the untold millions of Soviet martyrs, Solzhenitsyn's epic narrative moves to its astounding and unforseen climax. We now see that this great cathedral of a book not only commemorates those massed victims but celebrates the unquenched spirit of resistance that flickered and then burst into flame even in Stalin's "special camps."

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • If the whole series is too daunting, read this one

  • By Howie on 08-01-13

Great Art smashes Tyranny

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

Reviewed: 09-19-12

Reading or listening to this book is a massive undertaking, but well worth it. The translation is brilliant, the chapters sounding like they were written primarily in English by a master wordsmith such as Gibbon or Thackeray. It is indeed fortunate that the English language has more words than any other: nothing is lost, and the translator, if good, can actually amplify meaning - as he does here.

The authenticity of Solzhenitsyn's experience is clearly beyond question. It is even acknowledged by the present Putin regime, and the work is obligatory reading in Russian schools today. Listening to this detailed chronical of suffering, torture, starvation, depersonalization and arbitary murder - on a mind-boggling scale - there can be no doubt of the moral, social, economic and intellectual bankruptcy of the communist system.

But wait! When was the book first published in the West? It was as long ago as 1973. Did those left wing sympathizers of the seventies and eighties, those 'useful idiots,' those protesters, those hippies, those Bertrand Russels not read this book? If they did, their understanding must have been clouded by the fumes of a forbidden substance.

Yet, within this massive work of oppression and slavery, we occasionally glimpse the human spirit flaring up in a few brave, doomed souls striking out for justice, and dignity. Those short bright flares inspire us to cheer and shout 'Freedom!' from the rooftops. Long may communism be relagated to its rightful place in the dustbin of history!

29 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • London Fields

  • By: Martin Amis
  • Narrated by: Steven Pacey
  • Length: 21 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 123
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 104
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 104

The murderee is Nicola Six, a "black hole" of sex and self-loathing who is intent on orchestrating her own extinction. The murderer may be Keith Talent, a violent lowlife whose only passions are pornography and darts; or the rich, honorable, and dimly romantic Guy Clinch. As Nicola leads her suitors towards the precipice, London--and, indeed, the whole world--seems to shamble after them in a corrosively funny novel of complexity and morality.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant

  • By Gary Regan on 06-30-13

Brilliant book, brilliantly narrated!

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

Reviewed: 09-18-12

This is an astonising novel in which the modern English idiom is used with extreme hyperbole at once to amuse, to titilate, to shock to sadden and to horrify. It is a sweeping, lyrical and philosophical story with its characters persisting in one's memory like long absent dear friends. It is laugh-out-loud funny, highly literate and, at the end, a tear-jerker. If there is a Hell down there, I'm sure old Kingsley Amis' suffererings are compounded by the degree his considerable literary talent is surpassed by his own son (DNA check?).
Steven Pacey is the best narrator I have so far heard on Audible. I assume he is English, but he recites in a faultless and lively Mid-Western drawl, and masters several other voices and accents perfectly. He is such a pleasure to listen to that I would advise people NOT to read the book but to listen to it on Audible. It is a far richer experience.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • True at First Light

  • A Fictional Memoir
  • By: Ernest Hemingway
  • Narrated by: Brian Dennehy
  • Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 77
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 54
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 52

A blend of autobiography and fiction, the book opens on the day his close friend, Pop, a celebrated hunter, leaves Ernest in charge of the safari camp and news arrives of a potential attack from a hostile tribe. Drama continues to build as his wife, Mary, pursues the great black-maned lion that has become her obsession. Spicing his depictions of human longings with sharp humor, Hemingway captures the excitement of big-game hunting and the unparalleled beauty of the scenery.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Not good for audible

  • By Tamrya Nash on 07-08-12

Sad last book

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

Reviewed: 08-21-12

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Maybe if Hemingway had written it when he was younger, before booze and adulation had addled his brain. Or perhaps if he had time to edit and rewrite it himself.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I would never presume to 'change' Hemingway.

What about Brian Dennehy’s performance did you like?

Mellow, precise, deep voice. As you would imagine Hemingway to speak.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Poor old Papa's reputation would have done better without the publication of this book. When you take yourself this seriously, it is really hard to be humerous. Hem's 'kitten talk' with Miss Mary (also full of herself) is pathetic. His 'snappy repartie' with GC is devoid of wit. The hunting scenes are good but he has done them many times before and they have a recycled feel. The best of the book comes when he reads a critical letter and a newspaper clipping from one of his readers and shortly afterwards reflects on an old flame who became rich. The critic hit the nail on the head better than I can: Hemingway's subsequent tirade, I suspect, comes from the heart and therefore has at least some validity.
For those grieving that Ernest's death robbed us of some great unwritten literature, do not (don't?) worry: his best had long passed, and he knew it. Hemingway is better read than listened to, but Dennehy does the best possible job with the material. I like him as an actor and I shall now search him out as a narrator.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful