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  • A Terrible Country

  • A Novel
  • By: Keith Gessen
  • Narrated by: Ari Fliakos
  • Length: 11 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 184
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 167
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 167

When Andrei Kaplan’s older brother, Dima, insists that Andrei return to Moscow to care for their ailing grandmother, Andrei must take stock of his life in New York. His girlfriend has stopped returning his text messages. His dissertation adviser is dubious about his job prospects. It’s the summer of 2008, and his bank account is running dangerously low. Perhaps a few months in Moscow are just what he needs. So Andrei sublets his room in Brooklyn and moves into the apartment that Stalin himself had given his grandmother, a woman who has outlived her husband and most of her friends.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Interested in Russia?

  • By Jon Appleton on 07-18-18

that terrible country

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

Reviewed: 01-04-19

This audiobook takes awhile to get going. Ari Fliako's narration keeps the story engaging despite its slow start, and after a few hours, I really liked it. I didn't realize how much I liked it until it was almost over. Gessen paints a picture of everyday life in modern day Russia, and while this doesn't sound all that appealing, it is well worth a credit. I found myself finishing this one fairly quickly, and it was a good audiobook to begin 2019.

Overall rating: 4.26 stars

  • The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

  • A Novel
  • By: Dominic Smith
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,410
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,283
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,280

In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke's in Holland, the first woman to be so recognized. Three hundred years later, only one work attributed to de Vos is known to remain - a haunting winter scene, At the Edge of a Wood, which hangs over the bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner. An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • This Story Definitely NOT a Forgery!

  • By KarKinz on 05-13-16

the goldfinch-lite

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

Reviewed: 01-02-19

Stories about art forgeries and stolen paintings make some of the best novels. These types of novels could be classified as a sub-genre of fiction. Any time I read or listen to a novel about stolen art I’m reminded of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. While The Last Painting of Sara De Vos isn’t that caliber of an audiobook (very few, if any, are), it’s still quite good. The narrator of this audiobook is one of the best.

Overall rating: 4.24 stars

  • The Incendiaries

  • A Novel
  • By: R. O. Kwon
  • Narrated by: Keong Sim
  • Length: 5 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 154
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 141
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 140

Phoebe Lin and Will Kendall meet in their first month at prestigious Edwards University. Phoebe is a glamorous girl who doesn't tell anyone she blames herself for her mother's recent death. Will is a misfit scholarship boy who transfers to Edwards from Bible college, waiting tables to get by. What he knows for sure is that he loves Phoebe. Grieving and guilt-ridden, Phoebe is drawn into a secretive cult founded by a charismatic former student with an enigmatic past.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A beautiful story that sticks with you

  • By Diana on 08-01-18

average ...........

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

Reviewed: 12-21-18

The Incendiaries is an average audiobook. The story is somewhat difficult to follow in the beginning, but it becomes easier as the story progresses. There's a lot of colorful language in this one, and some of it fits, though there's a few cases where it misses the mark. In the Audible description, People Magazine compares this novel to Donna Tartt's The Secret History, which is one of my favorites. The Incendiaries is not of the same caliber. The narrator of this recording does a respectable job.

Overall rating: 3.72 stars

  • The Parking Lot Attendant

  • A Novel
  • By: Nafkote Tamirat
  • Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
  • Length: 6 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 9

A haunting story of fatherhood, national identity, and what it means to be an immigrant in America today, Nafkote Tamirat's The Parking Lot Attendant explores how who we love, the choices we make, and the places we’re from combine to make us who we are. The story begins on an undisclosed island where the unnamed narrator and her father are the two newest and least-liked members of a commune that has taken up residence there. This detached existence only makes Ayale’s arrival on the scene more intoxicating. The unofficial king of Boston’s Ethiopian community, Ayale is a born hustler.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • underwhelming

  • By kurdis teed on 12-18-18

underwhelming

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

Reviewed: 12-18-18

The Parking Lot Attendant takes quite awhile to get going, and it never really takes off. This novel is on the Tournament of Books Long List for 2019, and that and the description of the novel is what made me decide to try it. I can't see it beating out any of the other novels, though I've only read a few on The List. The narrator, Bahni Turpin, is fantastic as always.

Overall rating: 3.12 stars

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Commune

  • Commune, Book 1
  • By: Joshua Gayou
  • Narrated by: R.C. Bray
  • Length: 9 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,244
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4,030
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,015

For dinosaurs, it was a big rock. For humans: Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). When the Earth is hit by the greatest CME in recorded history (several times larger than the Carrington Event of 1859), the combined societies of the planet's most developed nations struggle to adapt to a life thrust back into the Dark Ages. In the United States, the military scrambles to speed the nation's recovery on multiple fronts including putting down riots, establishing relief camps, delivering medical aid, and bringing communication and travel back on line. Just as a real foothold is established in retaking the skies (utilizing existing commercial aircraft supplemented by military resources and ground control systems), a mysterious virus takes hold of the population, spreading globally over the very flight routes that the survivors fought so hard to rebuild.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • RC Bray as Hispanic Woman - Just Wow!

  • By Kurt Schwoppe on 05-03-18

decent beginning to a trilogy

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

Reviewed: 12-17-18

I don't have a lot to say about Gayou's Commune (Book 1). It's not bad. It's not great. The story is decent, and the narrator is pretty good. I'm assuming the story is just getting started because most of Book 1 covers background on the characters. I may give the second book a listen at some point, though I'm in no rush to do so.

Overall rating: 3.47 stars

  • My Year of Rest and Relaxation

  • By: Ottessa Moshfegh
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 7 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 873
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 820
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 819

Our narrator should be happy, shouldn't she? She's young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate; she works an easy job at a hip art gallery and lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there is a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn't just the loss of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. It's the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong? 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I love it...

  • By Claudia Gallegos on 07-12-18

her year of sedation and anxiety

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

Reviewed: 12-12-18

There's rumors that Moshfegh's My Year of Rest and Relaxation could win the Pulitzer Prize, or at least be on The List. It is really good and probably should be considered for the Pulitzer. It is, at least to me, better than last year's winner, Less by Andrew Sean Greer.. As usual, Julia Whelan narrates the story to perfection. Moshfegh's writing and Whelan's narration kept me engaged for the entire story. The characters are really well developed and interesting, and there's just enough comic relief to keep the story from becoming bleak or depressing. All things considered, My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a high quality audiobook.

Overall rating: 4.58 stars

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Slaughterhouse-Five

  • By: Kurt Vonnegut
  • Narrated by: James Franco
  • Length: 5 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,589
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,844
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 8,826

Traumatized by the bombing of Dresden at the time he had been imprisoned, Pilgrim drifts through all events and history, sometimes deeply implicated, sometimes a witness. He is surrounded by Vonnegut's usual large cast of continuing characters (notably here the hack science fiction writer Kilgore Trout and the alien Tralfamadorians, who oversee his life and remind him constantly that there is no causation, no order, no motive to existence).

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Horrible narration.

  • By Walter W. Quinn on 07-05-18

mediocre.....and so it goes

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

Reviewed: 12-11-18

James Franco narrates Vonnegut’s classic, a tale that takes the listener inside the time traveling mind of Billy Pilgrim, a war vet suffering from PTSD. Franco isn’t a terrible narrator, but he should stick to acting. A good narrator makes all the difference. Vonnegut is a beloved author, and this post-war classic is considered great by many. Unfortunately, I’m in the minority....and so it goes.

Overall rating: 3.45 stars

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Friend

  • A Novel
  • By: Sigrid Nunez
  • Narrated by: Hillary Huber
  • Length: 5 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 232
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 218
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 220

When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog, a huge Great Dane traumatized by the inexplicable disappearance of its master, and by the threat of eviction: Dogs are prohibited in her apartment building. While others worry that grief has made her a victim of magical thinking, the woman refuses to be separated from the dog except for brief periods of time.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Could not stop listening

  • By Ellen on 11-07-18

dogs, suicides, ideas, and The NBA

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

Reviewed: 12-09-18

This year’s National Book Award winner is fiction that reads like memoir. I suspect at least some of this novel is based on the author’s life, though I know nothing about Sigrid Nunez and have no grounds for saying this. The Friend is about love and loss, but more specifically it’s about suicide and writers and dogs. I like this author’s writing style, and I like the narrator of this audiobook. It’s a book of ideas, not a novel in the traditional sense. There’s so many literary prizes these days, and I don’t know the criteria for each. I won’t say The Friend isn’t deserving of The NBA, but I will say I’ve listened to better audiobooks that were released this year. Overall rating: 3.82

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Severance

  • A Novel
  • By: Ling Ma
  • Narrated by: Nancy Wu
  • Length: 9 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 158
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 141
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 140

Candace Chen, a millennial drone self-sequestered in a Manhattan office tower, is devoted to routine. With the recent passing of her Chinese immigrant parents, she’s had her fill of uncertainty. She’s content just to carry on: She goes to work, troubleshoots the teen-targeted Gemstone Bible, watches movies in a Greenpoint basement with her boyfriend. So Candace barely notices when a plague of biblical proportions sweeps New York.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • entirely original, beautifully crafted

  • By Zoe on 08-24-18

examine your routine........

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

Reviewed: 12-06-18

This year's Kirkus Prize for fiction winner is a somewhat original take on the post-apocalyptic genre. Ling Ma's Severance is referred to as "deadpan satire," and Audible classifies this novel as Fiction/Humor. The latter isn't quite accurate, mainly because the story isn't funny. It is, however, clever at times. The story is slow at first, especially for a post-apocalyptic novel, and it never really turns into a page turner. Ma's literary dystopia deals in loneliness, routine, loyalty (to a fault), and documentation.

The narrator of this audiobook, Nancy Wu, sounds a lot like Siri or Alexa. This was annoying at first, but I didn't notice it as much after an hour or two. I'm pretty certain it was not intentional, but her droning, robotic speech patterns somewhat match the tone of this audiobook. I've got mixed feelings about Severance. It's one of those books you don't necessarily love while reading/listening to it, but you like it more after you're finished with it. With all the great performances I've heard this year, I find it hard to believe this performance worthy of the AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award Winner. It's not terrible, but it's not on the level of some of the better audio performances. If you liked Station Eleven, this book is probably one you will like as well.

Overall rating: 3.86 stars

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • 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 449
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 420
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 414

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

solid effort by author and narrator

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

Reviewed: 11-30-18

Washington Black is the story of a young boy born into slavery and his everlasting struggle to escape. The novel was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and it’s good, though I enjoyed a couple others on the list maybe a little more. Regardless, it’s deserving of its recognition. Wash, the protagonist, takes the listener all across the globe in his perilous journeys. It’s a bit like an English version of the Underground Railroad. This was my third audiobook narrated by Dion Graham, and another excellent performance, though I thought his portrayal of crying was a bit over the top. All in all, it’s a solid audiobook.

Overall rating: 4.18 stars

4 of 4 people found this review helpful