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Michael Jones

NW of New York City
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  • A Disorder Peculiar to the Country

  • A Novel
  • By: Ken Kalfus
  • Narrated by: James Boles
  • Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    2.5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars 5

Joyce and Marshall Harriman are in the midst of a contentious divorce. On the morning of September 11, Joyce departs for Newark to catch a flight to San Francisco, and Marshall heads for his office in the World Trade Center. She misses her flight and he's late for work, but on that grim day each thinks the other is dead, and each is secretly, shamefully, gloriously happy. In this astonishing black comedy, Kalfus suggests how our nation's public calamities have encroached upon our most private illusions.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Divorce: 9/11 Style

  • By Michael Jones on 05-31-07

Divorce: 9/11 Style

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-31-07

Kalfus weaves a darkly hilarious tale of a dying marriage set post 9/11 against the backdrop of Ground Zero. I enjoyed the deliberate reading by James Boles, which sometimes added to the author's wry humor. The story of Marshall and Joyce's divorce strives for analogy, to depict a microcosm of the paranoid, intolerant, inept, and violent new order of the reawoken world. In many ways it succeeds, and in one scene in which a loosey-goosey house party morphs into an eerily creepy parody evocative of the terrible high jinks uncovered at Abu Graib Prison, it is jarringly affective. I recommend this audio book to any fans of say George Saunders, T. C. Boyle, et. al., who enjoy a hearty laugh at the expense of some serious material.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Rising Tide

  • A Novel of World War II
  • By: Jeff Shaara
  • Narrated by: Paul Michael
  • Length: 22 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 917
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 679
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 677

A modern master of the historical novel, Jeff Shaara has painted brilliant depictions of the Civil War, the Revolutionary War, and World War I. Now he embarks upon his most ambitious epic, a trilogy about the military conflict that defined the 20th century. The Rising Tide begins a staggering work of fiction bound to be a new generation's most poignant chronicle of World War II.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • You Are There

  • By Michael Jones on 01-12-07

You Are There

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-12-07

In the Rising Tide, Jeff Shaara continues to chronicle the spectacle of American war. This time it’s WWII, from the front lines in North Africa through the invasion of Sicily to the buildup in England before Operation Overlord. He drops you right in the middle of the action, whether it’s through the eyes of a paratrooper, Sgt. Jesse Adams, or the future Supreme Allied Commander, Dwight D. Eisenhower, you are there. The superb actor/reader, Larry Pine, does a phenomenal job with the many varied voices and accents. He is able to transport the listener through time, adding immeasurably to the ultimately satisfying listening experience. I eagerly await the next volume from Shaara. 5 stars.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Thunderstruck

  • By: Erik Larson
  • Narrated by: Bob Balaban
  • Length: 11 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,495
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,055
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,057

In Thunderstruck, Erik Larson tells the interwoven stories of two men: Hawley Crippen, a very unlikely murderer, and Guglielmo Marconi, the obsessive creator of a seemingly supernatural means of communication. Their lives intersect during one of the greatest criminal chases of all time.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Marconi, murder, mix well

  • By Michael Jones on 11-14-06

Marconi, murder, mix well

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-14-06

I have enjoyed the unabridged audio book version of Thunderstruck read by the actor Bob Balaban, although I couldn't honestly say if it would hold my interest as much in print. Balaban has a pleasant yet oddly flat delivery that does not distract from the narrative. This, the author's second book in which he utilizes the formula of juxtaposition - where two seemingly unrelated bits of history, one sensational, the other pivotal in scientific advancement, find a unifying thread - might just cement Larson into writing solely in this sub-genre of his own device. Since, for me, pure dry facts of history or science tend not to hold my attention for long, I sincerely hope this style blossoms, not only from Larson but from other history scholars hoping to actually make some serious somolians from their long hours of difficult research by squeezing just a tincture of creative pulp into their work. Who says history can't drop a dose of the good stuff and shake its booty once in a while?

19 of 21 people found this review helpful