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Michael Barach

Boston, MA
  • 7
  • reviews
  • 117
  • helpful votes
  • 34
  • ratings
  • My Absolute Darling

  • A Novel
  • By: Gabriel Tallent
  • Narrated by: Alex McKenna
  • Length: 15 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 1,109
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,023
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,019

Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At 14, she roams the woods along the Northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous. Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • Painful

  • By saw on 05-03-18

If you like Nabokov (Lolitta) and Cormac McCarthy

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

Reviewed: 09-21-17

Any additional comments?

This is a disturbing yet masterful book, and is an amazing first novel. The writing is beautiful, descriptive, compelling. It describes the growing self-realization and self actualization of the protagonist in subtle shades that accumulate into a shattered rainbow by the denouement and perfect concluding chapter. There are deep connections to Nabokov's Lolitta, and the language will make Cormac McCarthy fans feel that Tallent is a long lost cousin.

I rarely write reviews, I've been listening to 20+ Audible books/year for over a decade, and this easily ranks in the top 3-5. Enjoy.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Underground Airlines

  • By: Ben Winters
  • Narrated by: William DeMeritt
  • Length: 9 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,130
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,905
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,900

It is the present day, and the world is as we know it: smartphones, social networking, and Happy Meals. Save for one thing: The Civil War never occurred. A gifted young black man calling himself Victor has struck a bargain with federal law enforcement, working as a bounty hunter for the US Marshal Service. He's got plenty of work. In this version of America, slavery continues in four states called "the Hard Four". On the trail of a runaway known as Jackdaw, Victor arrives in Indianapolis knowing that something isn't right - with the case file, with his work, and with the country itself.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Original and disturbing novel

  • By Mark on 10-29-17

If you liked Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man...

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

Reviewed: 09-07-16

Any additional comments?

This is a marvelous, original story, with a fantastic narrator. The plot twists and turns with multiple surprises, and the alternative history nature of the story hangs together beautifully. I highly recommend this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Palace of Treason

  • A Novel
  • By: Jason Matthews
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Bobb
  • Length: 20 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,510
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,158
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4,128

Captain Dominika Egorova of the Russian Intelligence Service (SVR) has returned from the West to Moscow and the Center, the headquarters of her service. She finds things worse than when she left. She despises the men she must serve, the oligarchs and crooks and thugs of Putin's Russia. What no one knows is that Dominika is working for the CIA as Washington's most sensitive penetration of SVR and the Kremlin.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Narrator's inconsistency

  • By Bruce P. Woodward on 10-23-16

Outstanding second novel that builds on his first

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

Reviewed: 11-28-15

Would you listen to Palace of Treason again? Why?

Jason Matthews' prose is at times almost poetic. He strings beautiful words around compelling characters with plots that wrap ever tighter. This second novel is even better than his first, Red Sparrow, and Jeremy Bobb's narration continues to be outstanding. Mr. Matthews has built a terrific franchise with this cast of characters, and I look forward to consuming anything else he publishes. The combination of outstanding writing around the classic spy genre provides great pleasure.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Red Sparrow

  • A Novel
  • By: Jason Matthews
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Bobb
  • Length: 17 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10,720
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,775
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9,748

Drafted against her will to become a "Sparrow" - a trained seductress in the service, Russian intelligence officer Dominika Egorova is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA's most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America's valuable mole in Moscow.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good Spy Novel (with a few quirks)

  • By Aaron on 01-12-14

Gifted writer who happens to pen spy novels

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

Reviewed: 11-28-15

What made the experience of listening to Red Sparrow the most enjoyable?

Jason Matthews has deep knowledge of current spy craft, and he happens to be an outstanding writer. This is literature, good, high quality prose, wrapped around very enjoyable and multi-dimensional characters, with a plot that builds. Jeremy Bobb's reading is commendable, beautifully capturing Russian accents.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Last Child

  • By: John Hart
  • Narrated by: Scott Sowers
  • Length: 14 hrs and 44 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,944
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 1,253
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,242

his most powerful and intricately-plotted novel yet. Thirteen year-old Johnny Merrimon had the perfect life: happy parents and a twin sister that meant the world to him. But Alyssa went missing a year ago, stolen off the side of a lonely street with only one witness to the crime. His family shattered, his sister presumed dead, Johnny risks everything to explore the dark side of his hometown in a last, desperate search.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Stick With It!

  • By Christine on 10-19-09

Terrific piece of entertainment

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-07-11

Fast paced plot, interesting characters, very well written, terrific narrator, simply first-class entertainment. Well done!

  • Matterhorn

  • A Novel of the Vietnam War
  • By: Karl Marlantes
  • Narrated by: Bronson Pinchot
  • Length: 21 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7,335
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,252
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,249

Why we think it’s a great listen: A performance so poignant, we gave Bronson Pinchot (yes, Balki from Perfect Strangers) our inaugural Narrator of the Year award.... In the monsoon season of 1968-69 at a fire support base called Matterhorn, located in the remote mountains of Vietnam, a young and ambitious Marine lieutenant wants to command a company to further his civilian political ambitions. But two people stand in his way.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Matterhorn

  • By Zachary on 04-20-10

Extraordinary literature

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-22-10

This is one of the best audio books I've listened to in a long time. The writing is masterful, at times poetic, always insightful and full of character development. The author is able to take the listener to the front lines of a brutal war, and fly above the fray with musings on the nature of life. The reader, Bronson Pinchot, is extraordinarily skillful, flawlessly capturing a large cast of characters with distinct dialects.

I'd suggest downloading the free sample Kindle version of this book and just bookmarking the first page that lists key characters in the book and their respective hierarchy--it just makes it easier to get into the first couple of hours.
This is a tour de force, and a remarkable first novel.





101 of 105 people found this review helpful

  • Everyman

  • By: Philip Roth
  • Narrated by: George Guidall
  • Length: 4 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 427
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 128
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 129

The hero of Everyman is obsessed with mortality. As he reminds himself at one point, "I'm 34! Worry about oblivion when you're 75." But he cannot help himself. He is the ex-husband in three marriages gone wrong. He is the father of two sons who detest him, despite a daughter who adores him. A masterful portrait of one man's inner struggles, Everyman is a brilliant showcase for one of the world's most distinguished novelists.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Full Frontal Roth

  • By JOHN on 05-31-06

A classic for the ages

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-25-07

This book reminded me of Tolstoy's, The Death of Ivan Ilyich. It brings you face to face with how you live your life, what the trajectory of your life should be from the perspective of live's inevitable passing. The book forces you to examine those aspects of your life that you may not be proud of, and helps show you the potential consequences of risky living.

I replayed certain scenes in this book several times, and the messages that I took from it have stayed with me now for many months.

This is not a feel-good book at all, but one that will make you think, examine, and question.

Brilliant work.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful