LISTENER

L. Berlyne-Kovler

  • 16
  • reviews
  • 154
  • helpful votes
  • 254
  • ratings
  • The Story of a New Name

  • The Neapolitan Novels, Book 2
  • By: Elena Ferrante
  • Narrated by: Hillary Huber
  • Length: 19 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,657
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,389
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,383

The Story of a New Name follows Elena Ferrante's critically acclaimed My Brilliant Friend, featuring Lila and Elena. The two protagonists are now in their 20s, and marriage appears to have imprisoned Lila. Meanwhile Elena continues her journey of self-discovery.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Still hooked

  • By HWL on 07-07-15

Beautiful

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

Reviewed: 04-27-18

Without ever having known me, the writer expresses what have been my feelings, my doubts, my unrequited love, my regrets, my insecurities, my wretchedness. She touches the suffering and joys that we think are so unique to ourselves and by doing so we realise that they are universal.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Rabbit Is Rich

  • By: John Updike
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 19 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 204
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 142
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 144

The time is 1979: Skylab is falling, gas lines are lengthening, the president collapses while running in a marathon, and double-digit inflation coincides with a deflation of national confidence. Nevertheless, Harry Angstrom feels in good shape, ready to enjoy life at last - until his son, Nelson, returns from the West, and the image of an old love pays a visit to his lot. New characters and old populate these scenes from Rabbit's middle age, as he continues to pursue, in his erratic fashion, the rainbow of happiness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant Writing

  • By L. Berlyne-Kovler on 02-27-09

Brilliant Writing

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

Reviewed: 02-27-09

I loved this book dearly. We find Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom a decade later in 1980, having settled down again with his wife Janice,and now running his father in law's business Springer Motors. Rabbit is enjoying his middle class life - he has finally made it! The only thorn in his side is his son Nelson...
Don't expect an exciting storyline to this book; it's more like a snapshot of middle class, middle age life for the American 'Everyman'. But it's a picture created in fine prose with vivid metaphors, explicit almost clinical sexual descriptions and rich language that is a feast to the senses. Add to this Updike's great insights into interpersonal relationships, middle age and the complexities of parenting, and there you have it, a modern day classic.
You can listen to this book even if you haven't read the previous two in the series. Just close your eyes, sit back and slide into the world of Harry Angstrom and friends...

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Slumdog Millionaire (a.k.a. Q&A)

  • By: Vikas Swarup
  • Narrated by: Kerry Shale
  • Length: 6 hrs and 7 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 738
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 255
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 259

A small prison cell in India holds an 18-year-old penniless waiter from a Mumbai slum. But Ram Mohammad Thomas isn't a criminal. He is under arrest for correctly answering 12 tricky trivia questions on the show Who Will Win a Billion? Reluctant to part with the jackpot of one billion rupees, the show directors bribe the police to arrest Ram, accusing him of cheating.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Highly Recommended

  • By Ella on 08-12-06

Delightful storytelling

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-23-09

Delightful storytelling. It's about a simple Indian man who explains by a series of amazing true life stories how he won the jackpot prize on a TV quiz show. The narration in this audiobook was superb with the reader's wide range of different voices and accents that added immensely to the enjoyment of this novel. I listened to this a long time before I knew it was coming out as a movie and after hearing this version the pictures in my mind are so vivid that I don't think I need to go see the film version. If you enjoy a good audiobook no less than a movie then I advise you to try this first - you won't be disappointed!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • A Partisan's Daughter

  • By: Louis de Bernières
  • Narrated by: Sian Thomas, Jeff Rawle
  • Length: 5 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 7

He's Chris: bored, lonely, trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage. In his 40s, he's a stranger inside the youth culture of London in the late 1970s, a stranger to himself on the night he invites a hooker into his car. She's Roza: recently moved to London, the daughter of one of Tito's partisans. She's in her 20s but has already lived a life filled with danger, misadventure, romance, and tragedy. And although she's not a hooker, when she sees Chris, she gets into his car anyway.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A Tale of Love and Loneliness

  • By L. Berlyne-Kovler on 02-17-09

A Tale of Love and Loneliness

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-17-09

This book tells the tale of Christian, a middle aged salesman who's stuck in a loveless marriage to a woman who barely notices him. He finds companionship in the form of Roza, a young Serbian woman living in a run down London building. She seems to represent to him everything that he is not: worldly, daring, reckless and exotic. As Chris falls in love, their friendship grows by Roza telling him stories that become more and more wild and unbelievable. Sadly, Chris in his naivety fails to realize that Roza is as lonely as him and that their need is mutual.
It is not a tragic novel that will leave you devastated; but it is one to make you think about missed opportunities in life, and about desires that may never fade.
The book lends itself particularly well to audio as it's written in two voices of Chris and Roza (read by two narrators) and the language is simple. I liked it and would recommend it for people who enjoy a thought provoking drama.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Rabbit Redux

  • By: John Updike
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey 
  • Length: 15 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 214
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 144
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 143

The assumptions and obsessions that control our daily lives are explored in tantalizing detail by master novelist John Updike in this wise, witty, sexy story. Harry Angstrom - known to all as Rabbit, one of America's most famous literary characters - finds his dreary life shattered by the infidelity of his wife. How he resolves - or further complicates - his problems makes a compelling read.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Bring on more Rabbit!

  • By L. Berlyne-Kovler on 02-16-09

Bring on more Rabbit!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-16-09

I became totally engrossed in this wonderful book.
It tells the story of Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom who's now in his late thirties and has long since stopped running away from his marriage and other responsibilities. He shirks responsibility in another kind of way by being passive about everything around him. When Rabbit's wife has an affair she challenges him to make a stand and fight to get her back. Not only does he fail her in this but he then gets mixed up in what turns out to be a disastrous chain of events. With his wife gone he agrees to take in a young run away who becomes his lover, and she in turn brings in Skeeter, her black radical, dope shooting friend. Rabbit finds himself in the middle of a chaotic world that collapses around him. But despite the sad turn of events, Rabbit is somewhat transformed by his experiences with Skeeter, hence the Latin title word "redux" meaning restored,and life for Rabbit goes on.
The characters (with the exception perhaps of the too political Skeeter) are very convincing, and Rabbit himself is such an ordinary man who could well be our own neighbor. Another part of Updike's brilliance lies in his perceptive analysis of emotional interactions and in the language that is so rich in astute detail.
The narrator also enriched the whole Rabbit experience by acting out the different characters with distinct voices and he really brought this audiobook to life in my mind's eye.
It's probably best to listen to this Rabbit series in the correct order starting with 'Rabbit, Run' if you want to understand the characters and their backgrounds fully. But it's not an absolute must - so if you fancy this one first, go for it. I just can't get enough of Rabbit and don't want the series to end!



8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • The Poisonwood Bible

  • By: Barbara Kingsolver
  • Narrated by: Dean Robertson
  • Length: 15 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,059
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,409
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,446

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them all they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it - from garden seeds to Scripture - is calamitously transformed on African soil.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I'd give it ten stars if I could

  • By Johnna on 06-10-11

Compelling

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-25-09

This is a compelling, multi-layered novel. It tells the story of Nathan Price, a bigoted Baptist minister who takes his wife and four daughters away from the comfort of their American home to the diseased and famine ridden Congo. This move eventually leads to tragedy and to the break-up of the family. Although sad in parts it's not a heavy listen - it's hard to put down as it's written with great humor, particularly the passages relating to the eldest daughter Rachel. Be warned - the narrator had a Southern drawl that I found pretty hard to get used to even though it was appropriate for the content - but I'm from the UK so maybe if you're "born in the USA" you'll find that easier.
My only criticism is that the author spent far too long expounding her political views in the last quarter of the book. Those views of the ignorance of imperialism speak for themselves through the story and I don't think she need to elaborate on them. Aside from that, well worth the read, thought provoking and interesting from the historical perspective.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Rabbit, Run

  • By: John Updike
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 12 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 606
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 407
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 409

Harry Angstrom was a star basketball player in high school and that was the best time of his life. Now in his mid-20s, his work is unfulfilling, his marriage is moribund, and he tries to find happiness with another woman. But happiness is more elusive than a medal, and Harry must continue to run--from his wife, his life, and from himself, until he reaches the end of the road and has to turn back....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great, but gritty and depressing

  • By Peregrine on 01-22-09

A Thinking Man's Novel

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-12-09

This book centers on Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, ex high school football star who feels trapped in a mediocre marriage. He refuses to grow up or accept any responsibility and runs away from his pregnant wife in search of some meaning...with disastrous results to all those around him. Rabbit is a selfish coward in all that he does. And yet I (and the other characters in the book) couldn't help liking this amoral anti-hero. However, I'm not sure how much I actually "enjoyed" this novel as it portayed a disturbing picture of man and life and provided no solutions: so beware this is not a happy, "feel good" story. But I did appreciate the excellent writing with its vivid metaphors, explicit descriptions and convincing characters. I became engrossed in the tragic story as it unfolded and found it hard to put down. The narration was perfecly paced and clear. All in all, I think it's well worth listening to and am now wondering whether to wait for the audioversion of the sequel 'Rabbit Redux' or just to read the printed version.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

  • A Novel
  • By: Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
  • Narrated by: Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerden, Rosalyn Landor, and others
  • Length: 8 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 8,990
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 6,765
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 6,748

London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb.... As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends – and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • MUCH better than I ever expected! Give it a try!

  • By Kent on 10-19-09

Charming

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-01-09

This is a charming work that lends itself perfectly to audio books. The story centers on Juliette, a writer who builds up a friendship after WWII with the members of the "Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society". The storyline is rather predictable but it doesn't really matter as it's so enjoyable in other ways. It's all about friendship and love and with characters that are both believable and amusing - you just can't help smiling. The book's written in the form of letters to and from Juliette. As the different narrators read out their characters' letters, their quaint accents and diverse voices really bring the book to life. This may not be "great" literature but it's certainly good entertainment and made me want to sail off to Guernsey right now!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Revolutionary Road

  • By: Richard Yates
  • Narrated by: Mark Bramhall
  • Length: 11 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 710
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 374
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 368

From the moment of its publication in 1961, Revolutionary Road was hailed as a masterpiece of realistic fiction and as the most evocative portrayal of the opulent desolation of the American suburbs. It's the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a bright, beautiful, and talented couple who have lived on the assumption that greatness is only just around the corner.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Movie vs Book

  • By Sara on 01-29-14

A Literary Tour de Force

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-01-09

This is a poignant, intense novel. Yates's characterizations are spot-on and his prose immaculate.
He tells the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a young couple who long to be special but who are trapped in the conventions of their middle class, middle of the road and mediocre marital existence.
Yates has created a harsh but perceptive criticism of the superficial American society of the time that rings true to the present day. The narrator does a fine job with the clearly distinguishable voices.
This is certainly not a light listen but it is a devastating one that you shouldn't miss.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • The Heart of the Five Love Languages

  • By: Gary Chapman
  • Narrated by: Chris Fabry
  • Length: 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 324
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 249
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 252

We all know that the greatest commandment is to love. However, relatively few of us know how to express our love in the heart language of our family and friends. Fortunately, in The Five Love Languages Gary Chapman identifies the five primary love languages and teaches us how to use these languages to express our love.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Good insights but little depth

  • By L. Berlyne-Kovler on 01-01-09

Good insights but little depth

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-01-09

This is a short guide to understanding your partner's primary "love language" in order to improve communication with them. I listened to it whilst sitting next to my husband in the car and since then we've been joking around with each other about our different love languages - so that in itself has been positive. It contained some good insights and tips that can make you more attentive to your partner. The narration was clear and easy on the ear. However, at only 44 minutes long it couldn't go into any depth. So I'd say get it if you're in a fairly succesful relationship and feel like hearing some useful tips; but don't expect it to help you much if you have serious communication problems with your partner.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful