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Thomas M. Brod, MD

Los Angeles, CA USA
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  • reviews
  • 1
  • helpful vote
  • 43
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  • The House of Broken Angels

  • By: Luis Alberto Urrea
  • Narrated by: Luis Alberto Urrea
  • Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 578
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 545
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 543

In his final days, beloved and ailing patriarch Miguel Angel de La Cruz, affectionately called Big Angel, has summoned his entire clan for one last legendary birthday party. But as the party approaches, his mother, nearly 100, dies herself, leading to a farewell doubleheader in a single weekend. Among the guests is Big Angel's half-brother, known as Little Angel, who must reckon with the truth that although he shares a father with his siblings, he has not, as a half gringo, shared a life. Across two bittersweet days in their San Diego neighborhood, the revelers mingle.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Not death, and Not borders

  • By Clodhopper on 05-01-18

Inspired...like Phillip Roth...essentially Urrea

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

Reviewed: 10-22-18

The Hummingbird's Daughter has stayed in my mind for years as a favorite. House of Broken Angels is a great work by a writer, now much more consistent and confident in his stylistic acrobatics. Lots of mature human truth here and I often broke out lol. It was essentially Urrea with juicy Southern California Mexican idiom, across several generations, but the pleasure of "reading" House of Broken Angels--with the author flawlessly reading his own work--kept reminding me of the pleasure of reading Phillip Roth.

  • The Golden House

  • A Novel
  • By: Salman Rushdie
  • Narrated by: Vikas Adam
  • Length: 14 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 366
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 336
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 335

Our guide to the Goldens' world is their neighbor René, an ambitious young filmmaker. Researching a movie about the Goldens, he ingratiates himself into their household. Seduced by their mystique, he is inevitably implicated in their quarrels, their infidelities, and, indeed, their crimes. Meanwhile, like a bad joke, a certain comic-book villain embarks upon a crass presidential run that turns New York upside-down.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing.

  • By Garrett on 10-13-17

Rushdie Delights, Penetrates, and Horrifies..Again

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

Reviewed: 10-30-17

With THE GOLDEN HOUSE, Salman Rushdie holds his place as my personal favorite novelist. Rushdie builds intricately stacked fables (morality tales that capture attention) that unfold within each other until we are held in a web of horrible truth about ourselves and our time. While this book does not drag the reader as immediately into social evil as his greatest, SHALIMAR THE CLOWN, it comes close --with it's layout of the Indian mafia and corruption in the film industry and beyond (I am being careful with my reveals here).

The novel is a little slow to get going as Rushdie sets up the 5 central figures of the Golden household and establishes the reliably human narrator. It's hugely worth staying with.

I felt similarly about the Audiobook narrator, Vikas Adam. It took a while to tolerate the characterization--not sure if it is due to the book's self-conscously callow narrator or Mr. Adam's voicing of it. But it developed a kind of organic familiarity. And Adam's Russian accents, and ESPECIALLY his various Indian accents are priceless!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Here I Am

  • A Novel
  • By: Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Narrated by: Ari Fliakos
  • Length: 16 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,206
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,101
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,103

Unfolding over four tumultuous weeks in present-day Washington, DC, Here I Am is the story of a fracturing family in a moment of crisis. As Jacob and Julia Bloch and their three sons are forced to confront the distances between the lives they think they want and the lives they are living, a catastrophic earthquake sets in motion a quickly escalating conflict in the Middle East. At stake is the meaning of home - and the fundamental question of how much aliveness one can bear.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful novel marred by imperfect narration

  • By Sara23 on 09-30-16

Great Book: Funny, Intricate, Moving, & Memorable

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

Reviewed: 05-13-17

If you could sum up Here I Am in three words, what would they be?

Damned serious, Funny

What did you like best about this story?

Carefully plotted tapestry of linear events, with forward looking and backward looking scenes clearly delineated, moving interest (and caring for the people) along.

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

Ari Fliakos' rendition gives distinct voice of each of the many distinct characters of this book.

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

Many moving moments, including sermon at grandfather Isaac's funeral. Jonathan Safron Foer does a remarkable job of presenting one person's individual masturbation experience and also two people's conversation during marijuana high--the underlying universal experience wrapped in the specifics.

Any additional comments?

This is a great book. Intricately plotted, densely populated with diverse characters, psychologically True, emotionally activating, thought (and memory) provoking, and uproariously funny. I would have never expected to be drawn to a book about divorce, nor Israel, nor (moreso) to one involving the destruction of Israel.