LISTENER

DFK

  • 74
  • reviews
  • 75
  • helpful votes
  • 76
  • ratings
  • Murder on the Orient Express

  • By: Agatha Christie
  • Narrated by: David Suchet
  • Length: 6 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 99
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 82
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 81

Just after midnight, a snowdrift stopped the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train was surprisingly full for the time of the year. But by the morning there was one passenger fewer. An American lay dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The only real Poirot David Suchet

  • By juho kojima on 12-03-17

Perhaps knowing the story made me biased

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

Reviewed: 08-05-18

It's really hard to know if I would have liked the book more (and given it 5 stars all around) had I not known the end (I've seen an old movie version and the latest one). It is not identical to the movie, but close enough. I think it moved a bit slow, but it is a good mystery. The performance is superb. There are a number of versions and I selected this one by listening to the sample of each. I was most pleased with my choice. Suchet did a great job of different voices and accents, including the female voices.

  • Devils

  • By: Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 28 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 187
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 174
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 174

Exiled to four years in Siberia, but hailed by the end of his life as a saint, prophet, and genius, Fyodor Dostoevsky holds an exalted place among the best of the great Russian authors. One of Dostoevsky’s five major novels, Devils follows the travails of a small provincial town beset by a band of modish radicals - and in so doing presents a devastating depiction of life and politics in late 19th-century Imperial Russia.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent translation and narration

  • By Lawrence on 09-06-13

I’m disappointed

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

Reviewed: 07-30-18

I tremendously enjoyed two of Dostoevsky’s works: Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. Though I did not particularly like The Idiot, I was impressed enough by the other two that considering that some people say that Devils is one of Dostoevsky’s master works, along with Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov (and The Idiot) I was hoping for something totally engaging. This was not. The story drags with some violence thrown in, more and more as we get to the end. I didn’t see any depth to why the psychopathic characters are the way they are. One could venture some hypotheses about how they became so violent and amoral, regardless of whatever cause they think they are acting for. But Dostoevsky doesn’t really give a clue. So as not to spoil it for those who might want to listen to this book, nevertheless (or considering that some people seem to like it), I won’t say more about what these characters do. The performance was good - I’ve enjoyed this narrator more for some of Umberto Eco’s books, but maybe because those books were so good. Here I felt that the different characters were not always distinctive enough.

  • Oil!

  • By: Upton Sinclair
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 19 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 565
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 381
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 389

As he did so masterfully in The Jungle, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Upton Sinclair interweaves social criticism with human tragedy to create an unforgettable portrait of Southern California's early oil industry. Enraged by the oil scandals of the Harding administration in the 1920s, Sinclair tells a gripping tale of avarice, corruption, and class warfare, featuring a cavalcade of characters, including senators, oil magnates, Hollywood film starlets, and a crusading evangelist.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • an outstanding book

  • By Gregory on 05-18-08

A lot is really relevant today, sadly

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

Reviewed: 07-05-18

Think the Koch brothers and think about Citizens United and big political contributions. Think about Occupy Wall Street and the big banks who got away with everything. Think about Fox News and “Fox & Friends” and all the “fake news” that is distributed via social media, conspiracy theories, how so much of the public is duped, and so many other ailments of our current society. This story takes place 100 years ago (and a bit more), yet we see it all happening today. The description of the lifestyles of the rich and their hangouts - well, other than the fact that there is no Prohibition, Sinclair could be describing Mara Lago today. Of course there are differences. The direction the Soviet Union took caused even the most socialist-oriented Americans to become disenchanted with Communism. But we certainly can see how the “social democrats” of the book are the forebears of the social democrats of today. Eli of the Third Revelation (meant to be like Aimee McPherson) is so like so many televangelists and faith healers around today. In other words, this is barely fiction, it tells the story of much of what ails the US, and it tells it well, with wit, insight, and cleverness. I loved the book, and Gardner does a great job reading it to us.

  • Terra Incognita

  • A Novel of the Roman Empire
  • By: Ruth Downie
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 11 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,087
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 838
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 839

The edge of the Roman Empire is a volatile place; the tribes of the North dwell near its borders. These hinterlands are the homeland of Gaius Petreius Ruso's slave, Tilla, who has scores of her own to settle there: Her tribespeople, under the leadership of the mysterious Stag Man, are fomenting a rebellion, and her former lover is implicated in the murder of a soldier. Ruso, once again pulled into a murder investigation, is appalled to find that Tilla is still spending time with the prime suspect.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book, fabulous reader

  • By Lucy on 05-10-08

This is a great series

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

Reviewed: 06-24-18

I know I wrote a review for this book when I finished it, but for some reason the post did not work. So I am only getting around to it now that I finished the next book in the series. By writing a review, even delayed, I make a record for myself and I can also add to all the great reviews for this book, I'll just say that I enjoyed the book immensely and am definitely hooked on the series. Simon Vance is a great performer. He brings these characters to life.

  • Persona Non Grata

  • A Novel of the Roman Empire
  • By: Ruth Downie
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Length: 10 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 856
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 659
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 658

At long last, Gaius Petreius Ruso and his companion, Tilla, are headed home - to Gaul. Having received a note consisting only of the words "COME HOME!" Ruso has (reluctantly, of course) pulled up stakes and brought Tilla to meet his family. But the reception there is not what Ruso has hoped for: no one will admit to sending for him, and his brother Lucius is hoping he'll leave.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Scriptor est Notus.

  • By Bruce Nesset on 12-10-09

loved it! loved it! loved it!

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

Reviewed: 06-24-18

I started this series with the first book and now completed the third (I intersperse with other books). I enjoyed the first two, but I think this one surpasses those. I love the characters. Ruso and Tilla are a great pair, in every sense, but in this book you get to meet Ruso's wacky family (and ex-family, too). A dysfunctional family like everyone's! (C'mon, admit that family relations are a challenge!) And the mystery, adventure, and action are all great, so that you will want to listen to this without stop, if you could (I have those nasty interruptions called real life, but what a great escape this is). Only because you know that Ruso and Tilla have to survive to the next book in the series can you stop at night and not worry about them. Did I say I loved it? I'm looking forward to the next installment.
Simon Vance, as always, is a superb performer - great accents, great voices.

  • Cry, the Beloved Country

  • By: Alan Paton
  • Narrated by: Michael York
  • Length: 9 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,408
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,010
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,006

This is the most distinguished novel that has come out of South Africa in the 20th century, and it is one of the most important novels of the modern era. Cry, the Beloved Country is in some ways a sad book; it is an indictment of a social system that drives native races into resentment and crime; it is a story of Fate, as inevitable, as relentless, as anything of Thomas Hardy's. Beautifully wrought with high poetic compassion, Cry, the Beloved Country is more than just a story, it is a profound experience of the human spirit.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A word painting: gripping, breathtaking & moving

  • By Jacobus on 10-04-12

Beautiful and moving

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

Reviewed: 06-19-18

This story is beautifully written, moving to tears, and touches on many important matters. It is a story of apartheid, an important theme in itself, especially because South Africa is still suffering the damages of the apartheid society and colonialism. But it is also a story of the impact of industrialization - forces that can’t be stopped - on society. Industrialization - and now digitalization - has had severe impact on societies everywhere, regardless of whether they have the problems of a caste society in addition. How do you balance progress and economic development with concern for those people whose way of life is totally upset by these changes? How do we have certain types of economic development without exploitation of a worker class? These problems, too, are considered, in this case where the exploited worker class is the black people of South Africa, but there is universal relevance. Then there is the matter of generational gaps, the types of gaps that arise between parents and children, often due to how changes in the surrounding society affect each generation. The story speaks to parents who have tried to educate their children only to feel they have failed, when many forces and influences are beyond the ability of most parents to control or counter-influence. Lastly, questions of the value of religion are a thread - how much does religion serve as a “comfort” to the point of sedating people into submission to what is inherently wrong? The hypocrisy of religion, in this case Christianity, in its ability to justify or be silent on apartheid (likewise, slavery) also has a thread.
All of these threads are woven into a touching and poignant story. The narration is excellent, but slow. It is only the second time in my Audible-listening experience (several years now) that I sped up the narration to 1.25 and found that I enjoyed it more (though there are a few other times I should have done that and didn’t).

  • The Last Cavalier

  • Being the Adventures of Count Sainte-Hermine in the Age of Napoleon
  • By: Alexandre Dumas
  • Narrated by: Simon Prebble
  • Length: 35 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 108
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 82
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 83

The story of France from the Renaissance to the 19th century, as Dumas vibrantly retold it in his numerous enormously popular novels, has long been absent one vital, richly historical era: the Age of Napoleon. But no longer. Now dynamically, in a tale of family honor and undying vengeance, of high adventure and heroic derring-do, The Last Cavalier fills that gap.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Dumas' uncompleted novel

  • By Peter Lees Pearson on 12-06-09

Rather mediocre for Dumas

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

Reviewed: 06-13-18

I loved many of Dumas’ books, but have found that some of them don’t measure up to what I’ve come to expect. This one is like that, and the fact that a big deal is made (a long introduction) about how this was never published as a book at the time he wrote it and it was recovered made me hope for something much better than it was. The story kind of drags for parts, especially the whole beginning until any of the adventure gets going. The “history lessons” are a bit too much of the novel. But the worst aspect is that the Count is too perfect a hero. He’s handsome, so well-mannered, sings beautifully, is a perfect shot, duals better than anyone, plays music, is rich and generous (to the point of being too much so - how does it feel to all the people that he is tossing them a gold coin so easily?; you’d think they resent such wealth), hunts animals (ugh!, but that’s a 19th century thing), is daring, and charms everyone. He’s too perfect. No flaws. That doesn’t make for an interesting character. Interesting characters are like the Count of Monte Cristo, or d'Artagnan who are flawed and have human weaknesses that give you food for thought. He meets two sisters and I won’t spoil the plot for you, but let’s just say that what befalls one of them is overexaggerated. Simon Prebble’s performance is OK, but not outstanding. Too many of his characters’ voices were similar. He does not do women’s voices at all as well as some of the male narrators do. This book is awfully long for how the plot develops (and the introduction pretty much sums it all up).

  • To the Lighthouse

  • By: Virginia Woolf
  • Narrated by: Nicole Kidman
  • Length: 6 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 45
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 41
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 40

To the Lighthouse is Virginia Woolf’s arresting analysis of domestic family life, centering on the Ramseys and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland in the early 1900s. Nicole Kidman ( Moulin Rouge, Eyes Wide Shut), who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Woolf in the film adaptation of Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Hours, brings the impressionistic prose of this classic to vibrant life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Stream of consciousness interpreted differently

  • By ESK on 11-12-12

Great Literature? No story!

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

Reviewed: 04-27-18

I know this is considered great literature. I could appreciate a lovely use of language, but nothing more. There was no story or plot to speak of, nothing to make me want to keep listening (other than my desire to be aware of what this book is for when people refer to it). I was aware that there is no plot, from what I’ve read about this book, but I wanted to see for myself why this is considered a great book. I didn’t see the emperor’s clothes. The performance was adequate, but I don’t think she had much to work with. I know that Kidman is an award-winning actress, but she didn’t shine here.

  • The Curse of the Pharaohs

  • The Amelia Peabody Series, Book 2
  • By: Elizabeth Peters
  • Narrated by: Barbara Rosenblat
  • Length: 11 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,517
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,842
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,833

The sun rides high over the British Empire and the light still sparkles brightly in Amelia Peabody's eye as she returns for her second adventure in archaeology and romantic mystery as recounted in her lively journal, The Curse of the Pharaohs.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Wonderful!

  • By Leanna on 04-20-11

Fun, but I enjoyed the first one much more

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

Reviewed: 04-19-18

First of all, Barbara Rosenblat is a fantastic reader, and she does the male voices very credibly, which is rare and difficult for a woman to do. I enjoyed the first book in the series (which I decided to listen to because The NY Times book review had a very good review of the latest book, and I figured I’d start from the beginning). This one was entertaining, but without a good narrator I think the story would have been kind of thin. Peters tries too hard to repeat the formula from the first book, and it seems kind of worn already. I might try one more in the series and see if I like it better. The banter between Emerson and Peabody gets to be overdone. We get the point about their relationship, but it seems to dominate the story itself too much. Their child seems quite exaggerated and it’s not clear what the point of adding him to the story is - he takes up too much of the opening of the story, and it seems like padding. The characters thrown into the mix, perhaps to offer more possible suspects - well, most of them don’t really measure up for that purpose. I’m wondering for how many more books Peters will have the mummy fears and other types of strangely appearing people (dressed as a mummy in the first one and dressed in white gauzy fabric in this one). So, to sum up, I was entertained, but not “wowed”.

  • Jane Eyre

  • By: Charlotte Bronte
  • Narrated by: Thandie Newton
  • Length: 19 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4,303
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3,997
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,997

Following Jane from her childhood as an orphan in Northern England through her experience as a governess at Thornfield Hall, Charlotte Brontë's Gothic classic is an early exploration of women's independence in the mid-19th century and the pervasive societal challenges women had to endure. At Thornfield, Jane meets the complex and mysterious Mr. Rochester, with whom she shares a complicated relationship that ultimately forces her to reconcile the conflicting passions of romantic love and religious piety.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfect!!

  • By Amazon Customer on 04-21-16

Definitely worth the time to listen to this

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

Reviewed: 04-10-18

I had a recollection that I read this in high school (or was assigned it?), but like many such books - we’re talking decades ago - I had little recollection of the story, and am sure that I did not appreciate it then. Jane Eyre, the character, is complex and Bronte did an excellent job of creating a complex character who clearly was a product of her upbringing in a home without love, or actually, with disdain. There are times that I felt her choices, behavior, and emotions could be understood much better when considering that. There are times that, even so, she could have made some better thought out decisions - but I won’t give away the story. Let’s say that the hasty decisions led to a chunk of the plot, though the plot could have followed a similar path with a little less distress. Like just about every book of the period, there are some absurd coincidences. Mr. Rochester, too, was an interesting character. This book is definitely worth your time. The narrator was quite good, but her male voices were not great, and Jane was a bit more whiney or pathetic sounding than was needed at times. I know that it is not easy for female narrators to do convincing male voices, but I have heard better. I certainly would still prefer a woman to narrate this book than a man!