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Jeb

Stinson Beach, CA, United States
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  • reviews
  • 4
  • helpful votes
  • 9
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  • The Sea

  • By: John Banville
  • Narrated by: John Lee
  • Length: 6 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 276
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 171
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 175

The narrator is Max Morden, a middle-aged Irishman who, soon after his wife's death, has gone back to the seaside town where he spent his summer holidays as a child; a retreat from the grief, anger, and numbness of his life without her. But it is also a return to the place where he met the Graces, the well-heeled vacationing family with whom he experienced the strange suddenness of both love and death for the first time.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • OVERWHELMINGLY FINE

  • By Karen on 07-20-07

Your Patience Will Be Rewarded

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

Reviewed: 09-03-16

If thrills, chills, spills and suspense is what u seek, this listen is not for you. The pace is lugubrious, purposefully so as an old man alternately grieves for his dead wife and recalls his mean-spirited, joyless childhood. Once we understand where the author is going with his unreliable and, at times, reprehensible narrator, the mastery of this work is revealed. We may not like the narrator, yet we still care about what or might happen to him. The poetic prose might seem tedious at times, and the brogue a mite overdone, but again with masterful intent. And the end is well worth waiting for. Stick with it you'll be glad you did!

  • The Big Sleep

  • By: Raymond Chandler
  • Narrated by: Ray Porter
  • Length: 6 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,716
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,511
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,503

Los Angeles PI Philip Marlowe is working for the Sternwood family. Old man Sternwood, crippled and wheelchair-bound, is being given the squeeze by a blackmailer and he wants Marlowe to make the problem go away. But with Sternwood's two wild, devil-may-care daughters prowling LA's seedy backstreets, Marlowe's got his work cut out - and that's before he stumbles over the first corpse.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Detective Noir at its finest

  • By Aaron on 01-15-15

With mental illness at the core...

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

Reviewed: 08-29-16

Is Carmen Sternwood ultimately innocent? By today's standards, depending on the diagnosis and classification of her condition, would she avoid the death penalty? Like "The Healing of Howard Brown," "The Big Sleep" raises questions of culpability, where one mentally ill character drives a whole chain of nefarious events, without any obvious awareness that what she's doing is wrong. Yes, entertaining detective noir is what Chandler is about, but there's a whole dimension of implication in "The Big Sleep" that deserves discussion. Don't you think?

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Madame Bovary

  • By: Gustave Flaubert, Lydia Davis (translator)
  • Narrated by: Kate Reading
  • Length: 13 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 259
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 217
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 215

Set amid the stifling atmosphere of nineteenth-century bourgeois France, Madame Bovary is at once an unsparing depiction of a woman’s gradual corruption and a savagely ironic study of human shallowness and stupidity. Neither Emma, nor her lovers, nor Homais, the man of science, escapes the author’s searing castigation, and it is the book’s final profound irony that only Charles, Emma’s oxlike, eternally deceived husband, emerges with a measure of human grace.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Ironic, humorous, and restrained

  • By Esther on 05-13-13

Music to My Ears

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

Reviewed: 06-18-13

For those that prefer a tame, civilized bucket list, having Madame Bovary read to you might be worth including. There is nothing to lose and much to gain by listening to a great voice talent read (Kate Reading* narrates the Penguin Classics version). Flaubert’s vision is conveyed so naturally and in such an accessible, believable tone that the translated writing – the choice of words, the construction of the sentences, the grammar – all of it - is hardly noticed at all. This, of course, is the genius of Flaubert, and testimony to the achievement of his goal: “… to write the novel ‘objectively,’ leaving the author out of it.”

In the case of Madame Bovary, Flaubert himself wondered what it would be like to “give psychological analysis the rapidity, clarity, passion of a purely dramatic narration.” And if we agree with translator Lydia Davis about Flaubert’s intentions, we get a better feeling for the importance of the sound of the work: “What he is trying to achieve in this book, instead, is a style that is clear and direct, economical and precise, and at the same time rhythmic, sonorous, musical, and ‘as smooth as marble’ on the surface, with varied sentence structures and with imperceptible transitions from scene to scene and from psychological analysis to action.” (K.L. 133 Introduction by Lydia Davis)

These rhythmic, sonorous, musical qualities can only be heard, and, once heard, perhaps felt in someplace else in mind or body. That doesn’t necessarily mean that in order to hear these qualities we must be listening to someone else. We could conceivably experience these characteristics by listening to the voice in our own head, presupposing that reading does in fact produce the mental equivalent of voice.**

Kate Reading* has narrated 234 audiobooks now available on Amazon. She has received three “Earphones Awards” and has been named by AudioFile magazine as a "Voice of the Century". And so it was no surprise when I found myself completely entranced by her reading. In Madame Bovary, she assumes different dialog voices for each of Flaubert’s many characters (not all narrators do this) and in so doing creates an image in the listener’s mind. Homais is proud and bellicose, Emma is generally soft and earnest. Charles sounds like more of a dullard than he probably is, being a doctor. Rodolphe’s voice is dark and scheming while Monsieur Leon sounds like he just smoked some wickedly strong dope.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful