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Nancy Bauer

Newton Highlands, MA USA
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  • A Dark Matter

  • By: Peter Straub
  • Narrated by: Robertson Dean
  • Length: 14 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 142
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 73
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 71

The charismatic and cunning Spenser Mallon is a campus guru in the 1960s, attracting the devotion and demanding sexual favors of his young acolytes. After he invites his most fervent followers to attend a secret ritual in a local meadow, the only thing that remains is a gruesomely dismembered body and the shattered souls of all who were present.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Incomprehensible hype

  • By Nancy Bauer on 02-24-10

Incomprehensible hype

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-24-10

One wonders why the likes of Lorrie Moore and Michael Chabon are championing this book, which Chabon goes so far as to call a masterpiece. I'm guessing that Moore and Straub are colleagues at UW-Madison; and, as a college professor myself, I can imagine that Moore might have felt she had no other choice.

The characters are poorly developed; one doesn't believe in any of them, let alone care about what happens to them. The plot, such as it is, is propelled along by the author's magical intervention. We learn what each middle-aged character saw "in the meadow" 40 years ago, and the answer is: different kinds of meaningless, even embarrassing, hocus-pocus. Nothing that we learn is even remotely scary, though much of it is laughable (e.g., the devil who shows up dressed in preppy clothes and speaking in a "New York" accent -- an especially painful stretch of poor Robertson Dean's somniferous narration -- whose name is "Doity Thoid" (get it? 33rd? hahaha!)).

What propelled me to the end was curiosity about how Straub might get himself out of the boring mess he was creating. The answer is: he doesn't. Ouch.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • 2666

  • By: Roberto Bolaño
  • Narrated by: John Lee, Armando Durán, G. Valmont Thomas, and others
  • Length: 39 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 741
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 534
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 539

Composed in the last years of Roberto Bolaño's life, 2666 was greeted across Europe and Latin America as his highest achievement, surpassing even his previous work in its strangeness, beauty, and scope. Its throng of unforgettable characters includes academics and convicts, an American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage student and her widowed, mentally unstable father. Their lives intersect in the urban sprawl of Santa Teresa - a fictional Juárez - on the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The Best Book I Read or Listened to in 2009

  • By William on 01-05-10

Brilliant

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-06-09

Bola?o's ambition in this book is matched only by the breadth and depth of his achievement: he makes us think as seriously as a human being can about how much, and which, details of our experience matter to us, and ought to matter. (The figure of the detective appears in many guises throughout the book, as does the question of what's worth looking for, and how.) If what *you* look for in a novel is a relentlessly forward-moving plot, then you are likely to find 2666 frustrating and boring. But if you are willing to follow Bola?o blindly (and the question of what it is to have and use eyes is also a motif throughout the narrative), you may find your sense of the world, in both its vertiginous vastness and its banality, transformed.

Each narrator handles one of the five "parts" of the book, and each has a singular reading style. All but the one who does Part III -- a man who seems not to have figured out how to convey the tone of Bola?o's writing -- are wonderful.

40 of 42 people found this review helpful

  • David Copperfield

  • By: Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Martin Jarvis
  • Length: 34 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 549
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 325
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 322

When David Copperfield escapes from the cruelty of his childhood home, he embarks on a journey to adulthood which leads him through comedy and tragedy, love and heartbreak, and friendship and betrayal.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfect narrator for one of the best classics.

  • By 9S on 10-30-09

Absolutely magical

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-27-09

I imagine that if Dickens were alive he would be just as enthralled by Martin Jarvis as the Audible audience will be. Jarvis makes every character come alive and brings out Dickens's genius as a storyteller, a judge of character, and a write of great flexibility and skill. Sheer pleasure from beginning to end.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

  • By: Mark Twain
  • Narrated by: Patrick Fraley
  • Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 556
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 264
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 263

The idealized childhood of this fictional hero, based on Mark Twain's own early life, is filled with robust good humor and high-spirited adventures. Yet there is also an in-depth experience of the central South of the 1840s. While romping through fun-filled fantasy, Tom Sawyer shows how morally complicated real life can be.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A story my 9-year-old keeps returning to

  • By Centriculous on 04-10-05

Well done

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-09-03

Kudos to Patrick Fraley, whose pitch is perfect with respect to Twain. There's no artifice in his performance: you forget that he's reading and feel as though the characters have come alive in your head. Fraley handles Twain's sublime way with words with aplumb. Would that all audiobook readers had his talent.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful