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  • The Current

  • A Novel
  • By: Tim Johnston
  • Narrated by: Sarah Mollo-Christensen
  • Length: 14 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 175
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 164
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 162

In the dead of winter, outside a small Minnesota town, state troopers pull two young women and their car from the icy Black Root River. One is found downriver, drowned, while the other is found at the scene - half-frozen but alive. What happened was no accident, and news of the crime awakens the community's memories of another young woman who lost her life in the same river 10 years earlier and whose killer may still live among them.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Exceeded my expectations in every way

  • By Melissa Scully on 02-03-19

Fulfills need 4 bloody good criminal suspense read

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

Reviewed: 04-18-19

A cadaverously cryogenic, criminal suspense novel, deftly structured. One might have difficulty catching the flow for the first 100 pages as the book switches between 6/7 characters because the shifts happen mainly from ruminations of one character to those of another. The first half contains sparse dialogue. I suspect most readers have or will hit high gear by a third of the way through. Once I got there, I found it hard to put the novel aside, for the comfort of sleep or otherwise.

Grade A 4.4 star sustenance for a twice-to-thrice-yearly need for a bloody good crime read.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Light Years

  • By: James Salter
  • Narrated by: Mark Boyett
  • Length: 10 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 80
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 68
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 73

This exquisite, resonant novel by PEN/Faulkner winner James Salter is a brilliant portrait of a marriage by a contemporary American master. It is the story of Nedra and Viri, whose favored life is centered around dinners, ingenious games with their children, enviable friends, and near-perfect days passed skating on a frozen river or sunning on the beach.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Elegant and elusive

  • By Music Man on 09-01-15

Unfathomable Font of Blue: Life's Serial Goodbyes

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

Reviewed: 04-18-19

This one hit home hard. I identified closely with the core of the male character, but I loved it most for its gorgeous profundity. The novel brims with such eloquence on both feeling life's emptiness of meaning and in appealing to life's abundance.

Salter does his damnedest (likely the best I've read) in beautifully depicting the depths of sadness that spring from life's fountain of serial goodbyes, in their many variations: from parents, from loves, from marriage, from children leaving the nest, from friends, from a time and a place and a family in years full of light, and, finally, from life.

Such poignance:

he was **reaching that age, at the edge of it, when the world suddenly becomes more beautiful, when it reveals itself in a special way, in every detail, roof and wall, in the leaves of trees fluttering faintly before a rain, the world was opening itself, as if to allow, now that life was shortening, one long passionate look, and all that had been withheld would finally be given.**

  • Little Boy

  • A Novel
  • By: Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  • Narrated by: Peter Coyote
  • Length: 5 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7

In this unapologetically unclassifiable work, Lawrence Ferlinghetti lets loose an exhilarating rush of language to craft what might be termed a closing statement about his highly significant and productive 99 years on this planet.  

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • What a powerful experience!

  • By Tom on 03-27-19

Centenarian Sentinels His Century

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

Reviewed: 04-18-19

A centenarian's turbocharged trippin' through the past 100 years. A prose poem for and from the ages; autobiography freestyle. A hot potato one last time in an old artiste's pocket. Rock it!

What a life! I loved the trip through the Great Depression, WWII, living as an artist in Paris in the late 1940s, then forward up to a heyday in publishing the biggest of the Beat poets, to now, then back again.

The man, it should be noted, worships the vulva. And women; in particular, one woman. And life! If this doth offend thee, flee.

Quite fun, if you don't mind whitewaters of consciousness from a fascinating and witty 100-year-old. Me, whenever I get the chance, I take the pleasure of listening to an octagenarian (and older) as he/she waxes on. It is always a story worth savoring. This was no different.

  • Outer Dark

  • By: Cormac McCarthy
  • Narrated by: Ed Sala
  • Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 306
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 281
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 280

Outer Dark is a novel at once fabular and starkly evocative, set is an unspecified place in Appalachia, sometime around the turn of the century. A woman bears her brother's child, a boy; he leaves the baby in the woods and tells her he died of natural causes. Discovering her brother's lie, she sets forth alone to find her son. Both brother and sister wander separately through a countryside being scourged by three terrifying and elusive strangers, headlong toward an eerie, apocalyptic resolution.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Throwing chert boulders at the dark center

  • By Darwin8u on 04-22-13

Definitionally Southern Gothic

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

Reviewed: 04-18-19

This novel should top the list in any Google search for, or be featured in any dictionary's definition of, "Southern gothic fiction." What we have here, friends, is two odysseys through a few circles like Dante's, full of nihilistic brutality, edentulous elderly, incest, cannibalism, grim reapers and angels of death, liquor, piety, grotesquery, apocalyptic ambiguities, and Biblical allegories.

You'd best wear boots when you start to readin' cuz yore fixin' to enter a world of sh*t.

  • An Orchestra of Minorities

  • By: Chigozie Obioma
  • Narrated by: Chukwudi Iwuji
  • Length: 18 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 19
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 16

Set on the outskirts of Umuahia, Nigeria, and narrated by a chi, or guardian spirit, An Orchestra of Minorities tells the story of Chinonso, a young poultry farmer whose soul is ignited when he sees a woman attempting to jump from a highway bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, Chinonso joins her on the roadside and hurls two of his prized chickens into the water below to express the severity of such a fall. The woman, Ndali, is stopped her in her tracks. Bonded by this night on the bridge, Chinonso and Ndali fall in love. 

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Deep, fascinating, brilliant, frustrating.

  • By barbara on 02-08-19

Symphony of thousand natural shocks flesh inherits

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

Reviewed: 04-17-19


This is a superbly written, expertly structured, often captivating, One Hundred Eighty Proof Tragedy, through and through, for which it may well suffer in ratings. Which is too bad, because it is an intelligent and particularly unique, heart-bruising novel.

Describing the story in much detail may well trash the tragedian effects, but, if I may use a crutch for description in two 70s song lyrics: *the things we do for love* and *My body's aching and my time is at hand / I won't make it any other way*

Also, from the Book of Common Prayer, *The iron entered into his soul.*

Finally, see The Book of Job.

  • The Old Drift

  • A Novel
  • By: Namwali Serpell
  • Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh, Richard E. Grant, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
  • Length: 24 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 21
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 21
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 21

On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there was once a colonial settlement called The Old Drift. Here begins the epic story of a small African nation, told by a mysterious swarm-like chorus that calls itself man’s greatest nemesis. The tale? A playful panorama of history, fairytale, romance, and science fiction. The moral? To err is human.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Full Five Star Vivid, Affecting Saga

  • By W Perry Hall on 04-17-19

Full Five Star Vivid, Affecting Saga

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

Reviewed: 04-17-19


A superb saga surveying 3 generations of intertwining families as they migrate or marry the indigenous and assimilate into Zambia. Highly affecting (almost to shock and awe with its denouement) and brimming with vibrant characters, without an ounce of romanticizing or sentimentalities.

I cannot imagine 10 fiction or nonfiction books will be published this year that are better. A must for literati: it will most certainly be a finalist or be short-listed later this year for the Man Booker, the Natl Book Award, etc.

  • The Wolf and the Watchman

  • A Novel
  • By: Niklas Natt och Dag
  • Narrated by: Matt Addis, Caspar Rundegren, Clara Andersson
  • Length: 13 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 33
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 33

It is 1793. When Mickel Cardell, a crippled ex-soldier and former night watchman, finds a mutilated body floating in the Stockholm’s malodorous lake, he feels compelled to give the unidentifiable man a proper burial. For Cecil Winge, a brilliant lawyer turned consulting detective to the Stockholm police, a body with no arms, legs, or eyes is a formidable puzzle and one last chance to set things right before he loses his battle to consumption. Together, Winge and Cardell scour Stockholm to discover the body’s identity, encountering the sordid underbelly of the city’s elite.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent Literature

  • By Kevin on 03-28-19

Really good crime/mystery novel

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

Reviewed: 04-17-19

This newly-translated-to-English Swedish crime/mystery novel is well drawn in setting the gloomy, dingy 1793 Stockholm atmosphere, and excellent in both pacing and crafting of an intriguing mystery. I found it a bit uneven in how it was split from four points of view. In any case, I must save five star ratings in the crime/mystery genre for the truly stellar, which I can't define, but I know it when I see it. Novels like Crime and Punishment or novellas such as The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This story does not measure up to those.

Nor to the masterful The Girl on the Train. Jk. LOL.

Guess what I'm saying is, this Swedish novel was really, really good (maybe a 4.4). I surely recommend it for those who like historical mysteries, such as The Alienist. Yet, despite all the hype, do not get your hopes up that it rises to the same level in crime/mystery as Rebecca, The Name of the Rose or perhaps The Secret History.

  • An American Marriage (Oprah’s Book Club)

  • A Novel
  • By: Tayari Jones
  • Narrated by: Sean Crisden, Eisa Davis
  • Length: 8 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 13,630
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,403
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 12,364

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to 12 years for a crime Celestial knows he didn't commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Loved the Story, but...

  • By Lisa N. Haynes on 03-01-18

Tragic tale, w/moral: just look out 4 numero uno

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

Reviewed: 04-17-19

Self-centered pity party diva considers no one but herself while cuckolding husband with the best man at their wedding as hubby sits in a Louisiana prison for crime she knows first-hand he did not commit.
The Moral: to hell with loyalty, love, friendship, marriage, kids. Just...

Screw the "American dream,"
Oh you, can you really not see
that it's all about no one but ME,
and will always and ever be.

  • Lost Children Archive

  • A Novel
  • By: Valeria Luiselli
  • Narrated by: Valeria Luiselli, Kivlighan de Montebello, William DeMeritt, and others
  • Length: 11 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 56
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52

A mother and father set out with their two children, a boy and a girl, driving from New York to Arizona in the heat of summer. Their destination: Apacheria, the place the Apaches once called home. Why Apaches? asks the 10-year-old son. Because they were the last of something,answers his father. In their car, they play games and sing along to music. But on the radio, there is news about an "immigration crisis": thousands of kids trying to cross the Southwestern border into the US but getting detained - or lost in the desert along the way.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • ECHO...O...O...

  • By Ray Stewart on 03-04-19

Novela digna de inmigrantes y apaches

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

Reviewed: 04-17-19

Excellently written, thought-provoking tale about deported (and lost) children. The narrative goes between a 30-something woman and her 10-year-old stepson as they and her husband and her 5-year-old daughter (husband's stepdaughter) travel from NY to AZ. The novel is interspersed with stories about deported children and the Apache tribe of native Americans, and is, unsurprisingly, peppered with scathing commentary on past and current U.S. immigration policies.

Unfortunately, the book seems plagued by the familiar MFA-grad malady: the novel's pristine sentences travel well in the clever construction of an *admirable to really good* novel... but appears to ail from a deficiency in real ambition---avoiding risk-taking ensures a novel proofed to ridicule by peers--and a seeming shortage of existential authenticity.

By the end, I found this novel edifying but thought it lacked the primary colors and subtle shading that transform fiction into transcendent art.

  • No Country for Old Men

  • By: Cormac McCarthy
  • Narrated by: Tom Stechschulte
  • Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,322
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,625
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,636

Cormac McCarthy, best-selling author of National Book Award winner All the Pretty Horses, delivers his first new novel in seven years. Written in muscular prose, No Country for Old Men is a powerful tale of the West that moves at a blistering pace.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Typical McCarthy: SUPERB

  • By David on 02-21-08

Good v. Evil; Choice v. Chance

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

Reviewed: 01-26-19


Highly recommended not only to those who have seen the Academy Award-winning film version but especially to those who haven't.

In this American treasure set in 1980 southwestern Texas, I've not come across a more profound meditation on the ongoing war between good and evil (as blood-marinated as it may be), nor many better manifestations of how choice and chance blend to shape fate.