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Zu-Zu

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  • reviews
  • 36
  • helpful votes
  • 178
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  • The Second Life of Samuel Tyne

  • By: Esi Edugyan
  • Narrated by: Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah
  • Length: 10 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

A young man of astonishing promise when he emigrated from Ghana in 1955, Samuel Tyne was determined to accomplish great things. Fifteen long years later, he’s an insignificant government employee who hates his job when he unexpectedly inherits his uncle’s crumbling mansion in Aster, Alberta. Despite his wife’s resistance and the sullen complaints of his 13-year-old twin daughters, Samuel quits his job and moves his family to the town. For here, he believes, is that fabled second chance, and he is determined not to fail again. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great sweep of characters

  • By Zu-Zu on 03-12-19

Great sweep of characters

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

Reviewed: 03-12-19

Esi Edugyan’s great talent is evident here with memorable characters and individual scenes so carefully “painted” that I wlll never forget them.

The author’s ability to create tension and drive the reader forward almost edges up to the genre of horror.

Roberts-Abdullah’s voice was perfect, steady as the narrator and in a higher register just scary enough as the twins. this is an ideal audible book.

This book deserves rereading. I’m not ready to let go of the characters and would love a spinoff novel told by Amma, the girl who visits and adds stability to members of the family as it teeters on a precipice.

If you like this book, you must read Washington Black.

  • Washington Black

  • A Novel
  • By: Esi Edugyan
  • Narrated by: Dion Graham
  • Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 891
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 838
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 831

George Washington Black, or "Wash", an 11-year-old field slave on a Barbados sugar plantation, is terrified to be chosen by his master's brother as his manservant. To his surprise, the eccentric Christopher Wilde turns out to be a naturalist, explorer, inventor, and abolitionist. Soon Wash is initiated into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky, where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning - and where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human. But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash's head, Christopher and Wash must abandon everything.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Now what do I do?

  • By Mary L. Doyle on 10-04-18

Artful As An Epic Poem

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

Reviewed: 02-26-19

If you crave listening to a grand epic, I cannot recommend Washington Black read by Dion Graham highly enough. Esi Edugyan's writing is meant to be read aloud.

I imagine this book becoming a classic, worthy of study and rereading. There are many great books appearing on the subject of slavery and post-slavery, but the subject matter here is unique in many ways. The sensibility of young Washington Black, our narrator, is artistic and analytic from an early age. It is through him that we see the world with its hierarchies of power, of some characters who want to hold on to power at any cost and disregard the lives of others. But he must be free to develop his potential and receive the recognition that every human deserves.

Meanwhile we experience all the elements of nature in beautiful or harsh intensity--earth, wind, fire, water. We journey with Washington Black from his birthplace as a slave in steamy Barbados in the early 1800s up the coast to frigid North America and eventually to Europe and North Africa.

Ultimately this is a story of the deep bonds of relationships that every human being craves. The human characters are as unique and amazingly complex as the species that Washington Black collects, draws, and prepares for exhibition. Without giving away the plot, I will mention only the Nova Scotia octopus and the Moroccan camel as two memorable minor "characters," which echo characters and themes in the human world.

I look forward to recommending this book to my Book Group and thinking deeply about the ending.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Unsheltered

  • A Novel
  • By: Barbara Kingsolver
  • Narrated by: Barbara Kingsolver
  • Length: 16 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,024
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,855
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,852

Brilliantly executed and compulsively listenable, Unsheltered is the story of two families, in two centuries, who live at the corner of Sixth and Plum, as they navigate the challenges of surviving a world in the throes of major cultural shifts. In this mesmerizing story told in alternating chapters, Willa and Thatcher come to realize that though the future is uncertain, even unnerving, shelter can be found in the bonds of kindred - whether family or friends - and in the strength of the human spirit. 

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Spring for a professional narrator, please!

  • By Gail Dragon on 11-05-18

Kingsolver’s most endearing characters

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

Reviewed: 11-17-18

I enjoyed everything about this book. The ending is completely satisfying except for separating from these wonderfully colorful vivid characters.

I usually don’t like books read by the author but Barbara Kingsolver was perfect.

Highly recommended as literature. Much serious material to discuss in a book group.

  • The Great Fire

  • A Novel
  • By: Shirley Hazzard
  • Narrated by: Virginia Leishman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 114
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 34
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 36

This mesmerizing, poetic novel won the 2003 National Book Award for fiction and has earned universal acclaim. Set against the beautiful but tragic landscape of post-World War II Asia, The Great Fire tells a sweeping tale of the search for new beginnings in a world ravaged by tragedy.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Always found something else to do

  • By Margarita on 02-11-04

Brilliant

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

Reviewed: 10-05-18

The author rewards the efforts of the reader with quiet memorable images and a surge of emotion in the powerful ending.

For me, both the exquisitely performed audible version and ultimately the text were required so that I could more easily mark and quickly reread favorite passages and emerging themes. Like an impressionist painting, The Great Fire needs inspection from a distance and from very close (to appreciate the loving brush strokes).

I had trouble reading Transit of Venus, but I might try that book again under different conditions where I could devote more attention.




  • And After Many Days

  • A Novel
  • By: Jowhor Ile
  • Narrated by: Chukwudi Iwuji
  • Length: 7 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7

During the rainy season of 1995, in the bustling town of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, one family's life is disrupted by the sudden disappearance of 17-year-old Paul Utu, beloved brother and son. As they grapple with the sudden loss of their darling boy, they embark on a painful and moving journey of immense power that changes their lives forever and shatters the fragile ecosystem of their once ordered family. Ajie, the youngest sibling, is burdened with the guilt of having seen Paul last and convinced that his vanished brother was betrayed long ago.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stunning

  • By Zu-Zu on 09-24-18

Stunning

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

Reviewed: 09-24-18

Deceptively simple and accessible from the start, this book develops into a deeply moving and memorable experience.

The characters and descriptions of the family dynamics become nearly as dear as the listener’s own lived experience.

We must thank Chukwudi Iwuji for a magnificent performance.

  • The Map of Salt and Stars

  • By: Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar
  • Narrated by: Lara Sawalha
  • Length: 12 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 424
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 396
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 393

It is the summer of 2011, and Nour has just lost her father to cancer. Her mother, a cartographer who creates unusual, hand-painted maps, decides to move Nour and her sisters from New York City back to Syria to be closer to their family. But the country Nour's mother once knew is changing, and it isn't long before protests and shelling threaten their quiet Homs neighborhood. More than 800 years earlier, Rawiya, 16 and a widow's daughter, knows she must do something to help her impoverished mother. Restless and longing to see the world, she leaves home to seek her fortune.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Amazing Audible Experience

  • By Zu-Zu on 08-12-18

An Amazing Audible Experience

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

Reviewed: 08-12-18

This beauty of the author’s writing was fully realized in the mellifluous reading by the performer. This is a rare combination.

The only way the experience could be improved is a view of Al-Idrisi’s original map. If you purchase the hardcover book in addition, the map is printed (unrotated) with some English labels of essential towns on the journeys (both ancient and modern) around the Medierranean Sea from Syria to Ceuta. This is a book worth rereading and giving as a gift so both the Audible and hardcover versions are worthy of purchase.

Al-Idrisi’s 1154 geographical map, however, is a multifaceted symbol of different ways of reading and discussing this book. This is an accessible book for a Western reader with a fascinating narrative and belived characters. Meanwhile the reader can learn about the history of this region and even the history of cities with a Greco-Roman past.

The universal message for humanity is the essential reason that I will recommend it to my Book Group and want to lead the discussion. It deserves to be a classic with themes such as journeys, the importance of family, bravery overcoming obstacles, hospitality to strangers, and coming home.

The Map of Salt and Stars is a significant book to potentially help unite our hearts in these troubled times.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • The Witches of New York

  • A Novel
  • By: Ami McKay
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 14 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,050
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,908
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,904

New York in the spring of 1880 is a place alive with wonder and curiosity. Determined to learn the truth about the world, its residents enthusiastically engage in both scientific experimentation and spiritualist pursuits. Séances are the entertainment of choice in exclusive social circles, and many enterprising women - some possessed of true intuitive powers and some gifted with the art of performance - find work as mediums.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Kind of weird

  • By Ameleh on 11-05-17

Captovating

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

Reviewed: 07-25-18

One of my favorite audible experiences in a long time!

Great visual details and setting. Reminded me of what I loved best about Wilkie Collins The Moonstone and A. S. Byatt’s Angels and Insects or Possession.

Julia Whelan was a masterful performer. Please offer more books on Audible by Ami McKay.

  • Magpie Murders

  • A Novel
  • By: Anthony Horowitz
  • Narrated by: Samantha Bond, Allan Corduner
  • Length: 15 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,347
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,765
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,738

When editor Susan Ryeland is given the manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has no reason to think it will be much different from any of his others. After working with the best-selling crime writer for years, she's intimately familiar with his detective, Atticus Pünd, who solves mysteries disturbing sleepy English villages. An homage to queens of classic British crime such as Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers, Alan's traditional formula has proved hugely successful.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • A British Whodunit

  • By Sara on 07-24-17

Great Vacation Read

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

Reviewed: 08-03-17

What did you love best about Magpie Murders?

I thoroughly enjoyed the clever visual details and descriptions of characters. It works perfectly as an Audible read. Outstanding voices by the performers.The anagrams, the mystery within the mystery plus the meta-details such as references to Agatha Christie's plotting (obviously studied) and Anthony Horowitz's other work such as the PBS Midsommer Mysteries were great fun.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Magpie Murders?

There are many, but they can't be written without spoiling the fun. Therefore, I will start with the opening scene, which was the description of a book-lover's ideal weekend.

Which scene was your favorite?

Actually I appreciated that sex and violence were off stage or so staged that there was no feeling of gratuitous violence.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

This will certainly be a film. The title is perfect.

Any additional comments?

I started reading Magpie Mysteries at the end of a vacation on Crete and almost didn't want the flight home to end!! Take this Audible book on a long trip. You will love the ending.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Homegoing

  • A Novel
  • By: Yaa Gyasi
  • Narrated by: Dominic Hoffman
  • Length: 13 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,008
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,542
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,553

Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into different villages in 18th-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and will live in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising children who will be sent abroad to be educated before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the empire. Esi, imprisoned beneath Effia in the castle's women's dungeon and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, will be sold into slavery.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • An important story but terribly disjointed

  • By Joy on 12-07-17

A Rare Treasure

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

Reviewed: 07-05-16

I just finished and am ready to listen a second time.

The juxtaposition of narratives was remarkable--worth listening to doublet chapers twice to appeeciate the brilliant repeating motifs.

The story has much pain and suffering on both sides of the Atlantic but ust one inspiring or brave mentor/teacher/grandparent made a real difference in the life of a young person now and then. Despite all the terrible obstacles imposed by society, I am left with a great feeling of hope in the end.

The performer was excellent and added much to the power of the individual stories, the grand sweep of history, and the many memorable characters.

This book certainly should become required reading, one of those books that can "enter your heart" and change you.

  • East of Eden

  • By: John Steinbeck
  • Narrated by: Richard Poe
  • Length: 25 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,072
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 7,288
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,302

This sprawling and often brutal novel, set in the rich farmlands of California's Salinas Valley, follows the intertwined destinies of two families - the Trasks and the Hamiltons - whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Why have I avoided this Beautiful Book???

  • By Kelly on 03-25-17

The best of the best

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

Reviewed: 04-29-16

Dazzling performance.

Epic characters.

Am moved to stand up and applaud.

A triumph of the human spirit.