LISTENER

Aliza

Rural New Hampshire
  • 15
  • reviews
  • 32
  • helpful votes
  • 145
  • ratings
  • Days Without End

  • A Novel
  • By: Sebastian Barry
  • Narrated by: Aidan Kelly
  • Length: 7 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,205
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,108
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,109

Thomas McNulty, having fled the Great Famine in Ireland and now barely 17 years old, signs up for the US Army in the 1850s and with his brother in arms, John Cole, goes to fight in the Indian Wars - against the Sioux and the Yurok - and, ultimately, in the Civil War. Orphans of terrible hardships themselves, they find these days to be vivid and alive, despite the horrors they see and are complicit in. Moving from the plains of Wyoming to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry's latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Stunning, disturbing, amazing

  • By Donna Deal on 07-28-17

A harrowing yet love filled story, beautifully told

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

Reviewed: 08-19-18

I’m delighted to have listened to my first audiobook by Sebastian Barry.

It was dynamically narrated, and even the most difficult passages were illuminated by Barry’s beautiful writing.

I am sure to listen to many more of Barry’s magnificent books.

  • The Dead

  • By: James Joyce
  • Narrated by: Tadhg Hynes
  • Length: 1 hr and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

James Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet. His short story "The Dead", the concluding story in Dubliners, often considered as one of the best works of short fiction, concerns a Christmas-time gathering in Dublin. With a beautiful use of language and the epiphany common to all the stories in Dubliners, this book will remain in your thoughts long after the final emotional passages.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hauntingly beautiful tale, masterfully narrated!

  • By Aliza on 12-20-16

Hauntingly beautiful tale, masterfully narrated!

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

Reviewed: 12-20-16

When James Joyce invites us to this intimate gathering, he also lets us into his heart. And Dubliner Tadhg Hynes enlivens each character with tenderness and wit.

In fact, the story hardly seems narrated at all. It's as if an old friend is confiding a treasured memory in Joyce's own cadences. Each character is illuminated. Every droll comment shines. Most important, the warmth of the reading awakens profound empathy and a sense of wonder.

Just listen to the sample of the narration.. I believe that you, too, will feel the magic!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Silas Marner

  • By: George Eliot
  • Narrated by: Tadhg Hynes
  • Length: 6 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22

Reputed as Eliot’s favourite novel Silas Marner is set in the early years of the 19th century. Marner, a weaver, is a member of a small congregation in Lantern Yard. Falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he leaves his home and lives a solitary life near the village of Raveloe. Dedicating his life to weaving and hoarding gold for the next 15 years, circumstances beyond his control shape his destiny and when his gold is stolen, he is rescued from despair by the arrival on his lonely hearth of a beautiful little girl, whom he adopts.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A little child will lead him

  • By Janice on 07-21-16

A heartwarming classic, superbly narrated

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

Reviewed: 12-02-15

A man betrayed and condemned is restored to his humanity. By reaching out in compassion to someone in need of protection, he regenerates his capacity to love others. His emergence from his hermetic shell takes place amongst a lively intermingling of village folk. Each character is many-faceted and deftly portrayed by Tadgh Hynes. He possesses an exceptional gift to bring forth the rich colors in this tapestry of village life. There's much wit in the observations, deftly handled. Highly recommended!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

  • By: James Joyce
  • Narrated by: Tadhg Hynes
  • Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 20

"A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" is Joyce's semi-autobiographical first novel. It traces the early life of Stephen Dedalus and his inner struggle with the oppression of Irish society and the Catholic church, ending with his awakening as a poet and writer and self-imposed exile from Ireland.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Soulful Exploration Exquisitely Narrated

  • By Aliza on 11-03-15

Soulful Exploration Exquisitely Narrated

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

Reviewed: 11-03-15

Although I've heard James Joyce described as inaccessible, Tadhg Hynes' narration brings "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" fully to life for me. This compatriot clearly revels in the joy of James Joyce's stream of consciousness. As Stephen Dedalus grows from a sensitive boy to an impassioned artist, his depth of vision is conveyed through the shifting colors of his words. The young child pushed into the cesspool by bullies becomes a strong and independent thinker, disenchanted with the rigidity of religion and politics: "Ireland is the old sow that eats her farrow."

I highly recommend this book and this narrator - a perfect marriage and a true joy.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Far from the Madding Crowd

  • By: Thomas Hardy
  • Narrated by: Tadhg Hynes
  • Length: 13 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 34

Far from the Madding Crowd is Thomas Hardy's fourth novel. It centers on the lives of five characters: Gabriel Oak, Bathsheba Everdene, Mr. Boldwood, Sgt. Troy, and Fanny Robin. The plot involves love, loyalty, death, and betrayal, and all this is delivered to us in Hardy's most eloquent prose. The images of character and nature are painted for our mind's eye with sublime style.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Evocative rendition of a classic

  • By David Bogosian on 10-18-15

Droll, dynamic and deeply heartfelt.

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

Reviewed: 06-03-15

Where does Far from the Madding Crowd rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Far from the Madding Crowd ranks as one of my favorite audiobooks. I'm won over by Thomas Hardy's humor, accessibility and wisdom. Tadhg Hynes' delivery is an unalloyed pleasure as he portrays the good (and not so good) town folk of Weatherbury.

What did you like best about this story?

I love the wit and exuberance of Hardy's writing. It lends warmth to his compassionate critique of the constraints placed upon women.

Which character – as performed by Tadhg Hynes – was your favorite?

Gabriel Oak's steadfastness and unassuming self-respect is a healing force to those in his circle. Tadhg Hynes imbues each character with special cadence and color.

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

I found the concluding chapters deeply satisfying. In addition, the "Greek Chorus" of the townspeople weaves throughout the book, giving great pleasure throughout.

Any additional comments?

I'm deeply grateful that Audible.com made this recording available. The combined artistry of Thomas Hardy and Tadhg Hynes brings rural life of Southwest England in the late 1800's to glowing life. I look forward to listening to this fine book many times, and will seek out more books narrated by Tadhg Hynes.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Life and Times of Chaucer

  • By: John Gardner
  • Narrated by: Graeme Malcolm
  • Length: 15 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 82
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 72
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 71

In this exquisite biography, John Gardner brings to life Geoffrey Chaucer, illuminating his writings and their inspiration like never before. Through exhaustive research and expert storytelling, Gardner takes readers through Chaucer’s varied career - from writing The Canterbury Tales to performing diplomatic work at the Parliament - and creates a fully realized portrait of an author whose work would remake the English language forever. Written with passion and insight, this a must-listen for those interested in Chaucer and the medieval time period.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good book, but quoted passages are in Old English

  • By Kathi on 02-26-14

Fascinating and imaginative

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

Reviewed: 05-19-15

What did you love best about The Life and Times of Chaucer?

I loved the author's capacity to make an ancient time come to life. The vividness of each character and the adroitness of interactions in this volatile time felt fully comprehensible, although conditions and circumstances differ from ours.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I find it inspiring to read about someone who was humane, capable and able to reshape his work to critique any regime while still remaining in court favor.

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

His final chapter about Chaucer's last thoughts was deeply moving… truly masterful. It will stay with me for a long time, as a lovely meditation on a great poet and a great biographer who's no longer with us.

Any additional comments?

I remember reading a review complaining about the length of the sentences. Just wanted to report that this in no way interfered with the pleasure of hearing the book narrated. The narrator 'holds' the meaning of each thought and conveys it admirably.

  • Thirty-Three Teeth

  • The Dr. Siri Investigations, Book 2
  • By: Colin Cotterill
  • Narrated by: Clive Chafer
  • Length: 6 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 450
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 399
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 395

Feisty Dr. Siri Paiboun is no respecter of persons or party; at his age he feels he can afford to be independent. In this, the second novel in the series, he travels to Luang Prabang, where he communes with the deposed king who is resigned to his fate: it was predicted long ago. And he attends a conference of shamans called by the Communist Party to deliver an ultimatum to the spirits: obey party orders or get out.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Healthy Addictive Pleasure

  • By Aliza on 09-26-14

Healthy Addictive Pleasure

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

Reviewed: 09-26-14

What did you love best about Thirty-Three Teeth?

Thoroughly likable main characters develop individually and interpersonally from one book to the next.

What other book might you compare Thirty-Three Teeth to and why?

It brings to mind the Ladies #1 Detective Agency series in that it provides a warm and vivid introduction to another culture. Both series possess a dry British wit. As the Dr. Siri Investigations explore the spirit world as well, they provide a fascinating intersection of the traditional beliefs with the political realities of the mid-70's.

Which character – as performed by Clive Chafer – was your favorite?

Initially, I thought Clive Chafer's reading style monotonous. But the more I listen to these, the more I hear the humor and depth in this understated delivery. I find myself listening to each book twice, starting again as soon as I complete one to savor it more fully. And then I immediately download the next!

Any additional comments?

I remember the pleasure with which I discovered Michael Connelly's detective series, but over time the darkness of Bosch's world view and the alienation of the major characters induced me to back off. This series, in contrast, has some evil and genuinely negative characters, but the overall impression is one of great warmth, respect and even joy. In places it's laugh out loud funny. I'm grateful that one reviewer's related that his Laotian wife found the series presented an accurate physical and cultural portrait of her homeland. I was apprehensive that Thirty-Three Teeth might not live up to the freshness and originality of The Coroner's Lunch. Happily, this second book in the series deepened my appreciation of the culture, the characters and the nature of their growing intimacy.

If you go onto the author's web site, you'll see he's quite an accomplished cartoonist, too.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Under Magnolia

  • A Southern Memoir
  • By: Frances Mayes
  • Narrated by: Frances Mayes
  • Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 37
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 33
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 33

The author of three beloved tales about her life in Italy, including Under the Tuscan Sun and Every Day in Tuscany, Frances Mayes revisits the turning points that defined her early years in Fitzgerald, Georgia. With her signature style and grace, Mayes explores the power of landscape, the idea of home, and the lasting force of a chaotic and loving family. Under Magnolia is a searingly honest, humorous, and moving ode to family and place, and a thoughtful meditation on the ways they define us, or cause us to define ourselves.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Writing deserves a professional narrator

  • By Aliza on 07-31-14

Writing deserves a professional narrator

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

Reviewed: 07-31-14

What made the experience of listening to Under Magnolia the most enjoyable?

The beauty of Frances Mayes writing is sensual, searching and compelling.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Under Magnolia?

The most memorable moments were the charged interactions with her father, who was alternately doting and abusive. I also enjoyed the spontaneous scenes. For example, as a teen-ager, she went swimming with a boyfriend, pulled off her suit while submerged and tied it to her foot as she swam to the next shoreline before tugging it back on. Such passages pull one in!

How could the performance have been better?

Frances Maye's writing reveals a passionate and spunky girl coming of age, and her eloquence is delightful. I would have liked to heard this narrated by a skilled voice talent who could have imbued the words with their inherent spark. I found the author's voice to be rather flat and plaintive, belying the verve of her true character.

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

Sadly, there was little heart in her family. Frances Mayes takes risks and writes of herself and her family members frankly. But the dynamics of despair and blaming cast a pall of inertness, despite the drama of hurtful fights.

Any additional comments?

I'd imagine those who grew up in a family stressed by alcoholism might well appreciate the author's insightfulness. Furthermore, her vivid descriptions evoke the South with warmth, subtlety and spice. Personally, I did not complete the book. My sense was that the author fled the family rather than outgrew it, and her risks are those of impulsivity rather than a process of evolving commitment. That said, she clearly is a disciplined and highly talented writer who grows through exploring her charged back history. If others' endorsement of this book speak to you, I recommend you check it out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Suicide Run

  • Three Harry Bosch Stories
  • By: Michael Connelly
  • Narrated by: Len Cariou
  • Length: 3 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,449
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,263
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,262

Here is LAPD Detective Harry Bosch as we've never seen him before, in three never-before-collected stories. In "Suicide Run", the apparent suicide of a beautiful young starlet turns out to be much more sinister than it seems. In "Cielo Azul", Bosch is haunted by a long-ago closed case: the murder of a teenage girl who was never identified. In "One Dollar Jackpot", Bosch works the murder of a professional poker player whose skills have made her more than one enemy.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Very Good Short Stories

  • By Daniel McAfee on 12-20-11

Compact, compelling and well-constructed.

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

Reviewed: 01-15-14

If you could sum up Suicide Run in three words, what would they be?

Succinct, satisfying and solid.

What other book might you compare Suicide Run to and why?

This feels consistent in quality to Connelly's other crime novels. For some reason, Bosch seemed more accessible in this… perhaps because his energies were directed productively, not in locking horns with his coworkers.

Have you listened to any of Len Cariou’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes. I find his gravelly voice somewhat distracting - find myself somewhat short of breath hearing the effort forcing the voice beyond his chest. At the same time, I think he gives a good characterization of Bosch.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Actually, as these were short stories, I engaged more on an intellectual level than a visceral one. Connelly tends to build mood over time. Nevertheless, these moved quickly and concluded cleanly. I love how the care with which the author builds his narratives.

Any additional comments?

I felt this was well worth my time… I recommend it to anyone who wants hour-long entertainment - 3 of them, in fact.

  • The Goldfinch

  • By: Donna Tartt
  • Narrated by: David Pittu
  • Length: 32 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 25,091
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22,786
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 22,811

The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wow

  • By kurdis teed on 05-28-17

Luxuriant (if wordy) odyssey of the spirit

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

Reviewed: 12-29-13

If you could sum up The Goldfinch in three words, what would they be?

Spectacular. Moving. Universal yet deeply personal.

What did you like best about this story?

What I liked the best was the author's profound empathy and rich portrayal of the characters.

Which character – as performed by David Pittu – was your favorite?

Hobart won my heart - his humanity anchors the tale, and his friendship provides essential solace for storm-damaged souls. Hobie is the one who eloquently describes the path from psychic dislocation to some form of wholeness.

If you could rename The Goldfinch, what would you call it?

I would not think of renaming The Goldfinch.

Any additional comments?

I see that others' comments range from ecstatic to resentful. Some object to the wordiness and the philosophizing at the end. Although I felt it was dense and long, I trusted the author, Donna Tartt to navigate through the smoke, cinders, wastrel nights and haunted regrets. And I feel she more than came through. I have just re-listened to the last 45 minutes or so 3 or 4 times. I feel immensely moved by the sentiments expressed. To my way of thinking, the novel is a study of trauma. It expresses the profound disorientation and subsequent miscues that send people reeling in directions incomprehensible to onlookers. Three characters in particular - Theo, Borys and Pippa reveal just what different courses might be taken in the aftermath of unspeakable damage. That the moral compasses are skewed in two cases is the entire point. The book is written, I believe, for those who wrestle with alienation borne of early betrayal. Whether some readers judge the weaknesses of the protagonist and dismiss the book is besides the point. For those whom this book is written for, it's a treasure for a lifetime of reflection.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful