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One Hundred Years of Solitude Audiobook

One Hundred Years of Solitude

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Publisher's Summary

Includes a bonus PDF with a character chart!

One of the twentieth century’s enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world and the ultimate achievement in a Nobel Prize–winning career.

The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Rich and brilliant, it is a chronicle of life, death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the beautiful, ridiculous, and tawdry story of the Buendía family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.

Love and lust, war and revolution, riches and poverty, youth and senility, the variety of life, the endlessness of death, the search for peace and truth—these universal themes dominate the novel. Alternately reverential and comical, One Hundred Years of Solitude weaves the political, personal, and spiritual to bring a new consciousness to storytelling. Translated into dozens of languages, this stunning work is no less than an account of the history of the human race.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©1964 Gabrriel García Márquez (P)2013 Blackstone Audio

What Members Say

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Performance
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  •  
    Greg Ashland, OR, United States 02-26-14
    Greg Ashland, OR, United States 02-26-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Outstanding Audiobook!"
    Any additional comments?

    One Hundred Years of Solitude has made a name for itself as one of the most stunning novels of the 20th Century. So, it’s no surprise that many readers, like myself, have anxiously awaited its release on audiobook… yet it should also come as no surprise to fans like myself, that this is an intricately woven piece of literature, often requiring a little legwork to fully grasp the complex web of characters. I went into my listening experience knowing this, and after reading some scathing reviews by other listeners – while I understand how translation from page to digital can create some inevitable need for clarifications – I have to disagree with such harsh reviews that seem to trash the audiobook as a whole. If needed, there are plenty of resources online to help the listener along, not to mention, a hard copy of the novel (which, in my opinion, everyone should have regardless)! I found John Lee’s performance full of clarity and rhythmic narration, quickly and effectively engaging me as a listener. After much anticipation, I was thoroughly pleased with this audiobook, and would definitely recommend it - with the understanding that, as a novel, it is complex – but SO worth it!

    46 of 47 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emilia Pyrmont, Sydney, Australia 04-23-14
    Emilia Pyrmont, Sydney, Australia 04-23-14 Listener Since 2007

    Lover of stories, particularly those with a sound that makes poetry.

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    "This story is meant to be listened to"

    I read this book in Spanish twice and in English once, but I had never enjoyed it as much as I do now, as I listen to it in my car on my way to work. The quality of the voice, its depth and resonance and the rhythm of the language have taken the story to new depths. Previous books by Garcia Marquez, have ben read by Latin accented narrators, and while I do not diminish their quality and professional talent, I believe that John Lee is a much better narrator for this book in its English version. I am genuinely bilingual and do not agree that a book has to be read by a Latino accented narrator just because it was originally written in Spanish. One Hundred Years of Solitude, is so big a story that it transcends cultures and gains when read by people in whose language it is translated. I live in Australia and I did not enjoy listening previous books by GM read with a heavy Hispanic-Californian inflection. That’s because this regional accent takes the story away from its narrative setting, Macondo, and locates somewhere in a neighbourhood of the United States where Hispanic people live. John Lee’s version gives this story its universality, and makes it a joy to listen, even when he has to round his vowels with a slight effort to pronounce Jose Arcadio Buendia, and that makes it special. In my humble opinion, an audio book works when there is harmony between a good story and an enjoyable sound, for it is sound that paints the picture. For example, I didn’t enjoy The Book Thief when I read it, but when I listened to its audio version, I was fascinated. Well done John Lee. I’m sure the master is happy.

    36 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Berkeley, CA, United States 02-09-14
    Richard Berkeley, CA, United States 02-09-14 Member Since 2007
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    "Wonderfully Rich Novel, Beautifully Performed If"

    Some books, like Joyce’s Ulysses, gain immeasurably from audio readings but paradoxically can be frustrating to listeners because of the density of detail, number of characters and the bewildering nonlinear narrative flow.

    I think 100 Years falls into this category. Fortunately, I discovered an approach that helped me a lot. I first simply listened to a chapter, then read the SparkNotes and/or Cliff Notes chapter summary available free online (referring to the character lists as necessary) and then re-listened to the same chapter. I found my comprehension and enjoyment of the book increased dramatically.

    It also increased my appreciation of John Lee’s approach. He reads the English translation with a rhythmic lilt, which usually I associate with poetry, not prose. But it gives the book an “epic” feel as if you were listening to the Bible or Homer or Dante being read. I initially found this strange and irritating but grew to appreciate how it created a dreamlike, hallucinatory quality.

    34 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melinda Shoreline, WA, United States 02-05-14
    Melinda Shoreline, WA, United States 02-05-14

    I love literary fiction and I occasionally delve into non-fiction. I love books that are suspenseful and am really into well-told stories.

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    "What in the heck happened?????"

    I first read One Hundred Years of Solitude about 10 years ago, and have re-read it or referred to it many times, since. When I saw an email from Audible.com that it was now available as an AudioBook… I downloaded it immediately, as it is ALSO narrated by my All-Time favorite reader, John Lee so I did not even listen to a clip of it. Now, I am in several hours of my first listen, and, I feel bad about “warning” listeners, but this needs to be said:

    The printed book comes with a handy chart of who is who, and how they are related their relationship together, whether they are married or have children… etc. THIS audio version does not have that chart (it’s like looking at a complex family tree) and at the pace that John Lee is tearing through it… he gets my vote for “fastest readers on Planet Earth” (Lee could , unless they just finished the print version it is super confusing. Many characters either have the same, exact name and the words just *sparkle* in writing. I remember sighing with joy and reading the same line over and over as it is one of the best written books, ever. I still recall that a tear of joy or gratitude came into my eyes many a time during both readings.

    Reluctantly, I must give one of my all-time favorite novels a less than stellar review. I suppose there is a website somewhere that has the chart, but not even this listener (me) can understand what is going on…. And Mr. Lee is reading it so fast that the words do not sparkle. They are yelled at you, rushing by someone who needed to use the bathroom immediately or is late for an appointment and must hurry! It’s a very bad production. If one loves beautiful, poetic lines, then, please pick up a paper copy.

    One hundred Years of Solitude MUST be read in print, as uninitiated people not familiar with the book will be even more confused as I am… It is hard for me to give a beloved novel such a low rating, but I must. If you have ever had ANY interest in reading OHYoS, please get a printed copy or download it into your reading device. I know the story by heart (I read it twice in a 2-year period because I am in 2 book discussion groups) and it was just as gorgeous the second time around. Whoever produced this beautiful book did a VERY poor job. And, it needs to come with a link to the chart… otherwise, you would not be able to tell who is who or what is happening.

    What a bummer!. I thought it would be brilliant and amazing to listen to it, but it is frustrating that John Lee did not even pause for punctuation, much less read it as fast as possible (is Audible trying to win an Olympic medal for being the world’s fastest reader?), and that it is truly a terrible blow. I am SO disappointed. OHYoS’s audible is not good at all. In fact, it is frustrating and disappointing. I just want to find my print copy and read it again, savoring each line by exquisite line. Skip this format, and go find a nice paper copy, or AT LEAST follow along with whatever reading gadget you have... You will not be disappointed. This new Audio version blows. Such a giant let down for this OHYoS fan.

    156 of 187 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anh 03-21-14
    Anh 03-21-14
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    "This book is meant to be read!"

    This is one of the best books I've ever read. I've read it twice when I was in high school and was very intrigued by the complexity of the story. If you ever read it in paperback version, you'd know what I mean. The hierarchy of the family is complex with the same names being repeated over and over again, so it is a must to keep track of the hierarchy to fully understand the repetition of life and fate among the characters. Also, there are many small and subtle details throughout the story that convey lots of meaning, which is why I read it twice.

    Well, all of those went wrong in this audio version. The narration is so fast that delivers almost no comprehension. Although I opened the hierarchy diagram from wiki while listening (which is very awkward and inconvenient), I got lost sometimes by very fast-paced narrating of names. Also, The break between paragraphs and stop/pause between sentences are terribly executed. I tried to slown down to 0.75x, but it was too much echo, so I gave up eventually.

    I'm waiting for the kindle version to literally read it again and to enjoy every single detail of the story. It is truly a very good book.

    15 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    n 02-18-14
    n 02-18-14
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    "Waited a long time for this"
    Where does One Hundred Years of Solitude rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    As a book, it has been—after some treasured volumes of philosophy—the closest to my heart. I re-read it every few years to renew the taste of Garcia-Marquez' languid poetry in my mind. As an audio book it ranks in the top dozen, but no closer, I suppose because John Lee's somewhat grand and booming interpretation jars with my own imagined version of the words spoken aloud.


    What other book might you compare One Hundred Years of Solitude to and why?

    The epic of one larger-than-life family's history across a hundred years, it is similar to Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks. It stands out, however, in it's exploration of subjective reality (magic realism), and the themes of solitude, melancholy, the fluidity of time, the cyclical nature of man's weaknesses, tragedies, strengths, and triumphs. It is said to be a metaphorical picture of Colombia.


    What three words best describe John Lee’s performance?

    lively, inarticulate (with the Spanish names and words), stentorian


    Any additional comments?

    I think a bi-lingual reader might have made a better narrator, as John Lee's Spanish names were always very laboriously and stiffly pronounced.

    Also, Lee always performed all the men's dialogue with the same sleazy, drawling, South-of-the-Border caricature voice, and all the women's dialogue in a slow exhalation that made the characters sound dazed and hypnotised.

    All of which diminished the dignity and the humanity of Marquez' characters a bit.

    Still, I have waited so long for an audio book to be made of Marquez' greatest novel, that I enjoyed the overall experience immensely.

    18 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ian C Robertson South Australia, Australia 11-28-14
    Ian C Robertson South Australia, Australia 11-28-14 Member Since 2010

    Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.

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    "Sadly Underwhelming"

    I love this book. It has been described by no less a judge than Salman Rushdie as one of the best books in any language in the last 50 years! High praise indeed, and thoroughly deserved. It is a tour de force of imagination, perseverance and detail. The carefully drawn portraits, like looking at charcoal sketches brushed together when the subject wasn't watching, are exquisite in their details and perceptions. I read it with vigor over a few days.
    But that was some time ago.
    Having listened to "Love in the Time of Cholera" recently, I really had to have another go at this classic. I did this despite the reviews that warned of Lee's narration and the difficulty people had following the plot line. I was wrong; I should have paid attention to reviewer's I trust. That said, I was underwhelmed by this production for different reasons than those advanced in earlier reviews.
    My main problem with this production was with the narration. I have scored it accordingly. However, it was not the speed (or not just the speed) and it was not the complexity of the repetition of names (as generation after generation of Aurelianos and Arcardios and Ursulas passed accross the virtual pages of the story). Really, if I am truthful, it was the accent. Lee has a hint of the Scott in his voice that makes him sound like Sean Connery from time to time. With the affected Spanish overtone this reminded me (by unfavourable comparison) with Connery's Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez in the "Highlander" franchise. It just did not fit. Add to that the speed and the Spanish/Latin names and it just didn't work for me. I really had to push myself to listen to the wonderful ending to this wonderful book.Such a pity.
    In retrospect, I suggest that you get the hard copy and read it. I hope you love it as much as I do. Alternatively, wait for another version to be released.

    17 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sally stanton manhattan beach, ca United States 03-09-14
    sally stanton manhattan beach, ca United States 03-09-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Just don't get the hoopla about this book"

    Many friends over the years have recommended this book so when it came out on Audible and with John Lee narrating, I jumped at the chance. Besides finding it impossible to keep the characters straight, i just didn't care about them. Some reviewers have said it is better to read and have a chart of the characters for reference which I agree. I thought about looking online for this but ultimately just stopped listening because the storyjust did not interest me.
    I have enjoyed John Lee in the past but this is not his best work.
    Sorry I wasted my credit but happy to listen to something else.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara 02-10-14
    Barbara 02-10-14 Member Since 2009

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Love the narration"

    I had read this book twice before--so I knew what I was getting into. The narrator did a wonderful job, the names rolling easily and swiftly from his tongue. Those names, so similar, are sometimes confusing so I got out my paperback which has a family tree at the beginning. It would be good if audible offered a download of the family tree to help keep track of the generations of the Buendia family. Did I say I love this book?

    17 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Long 02-24-14
    John Long 02-24-14

    Longshot

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    "Great story ruined by pathetic choice of narrator."
    What disappointed you about One Hundred Years of Solitude?

    The choice of John Lee to narrate this story is incomprehensible. Don't get me wrong, Lee is a great narrator, just completely wrong for this book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I would place One Hundred Years of Solitude in the top ten novels ever written.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    You can tell he went to great lengths to get the pronunciations of the Spanish names correct. Everything else is with a very proper British accent. It distracts from the story continuously.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from One Hundred Years of Solitude?

    Changing anything would border on blasphemous. If anyone thinks they can write a better tale than Gabriel García Márquez, go for it. Don't draw a mustache on the Mona Lisa


    Any additional comments?

    I can only assume that the editor who chose the narrator for this book is off looking for someone with a heavy Japanese accent to narrate upcoming Dostoevsky audiobooks.

    44 of 59 people found this review helpful
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  • Anne
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    2/25/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautiful story - poor performance!"
    What would have made One Hundred Years of Solitude better?

    If the the narrator would not immitate an accent, and interpret all the women of every age as sounding like a cliché of drowsy, tired and yet mysterious old ladies. He turned the characters into parodies.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Gabriel García Márquez? Why or why not?

    Yes - as I have previously read this book, I know that my bad experience is not based on the story but on the narrator


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    As previously mentioned, he turned the entire thing into a parody on south-american people - especially women! AND his accent was very weird - why roll the r's like that?


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from One Hundred Years of Solitude?

    I wouldn't


    Any additional comments?

    Sometimes you could hear the difference between takes - like a skip in the recording or a change in volume.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • alex
    London, United Kingdom
    2/25/14
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    "Awful reader, especially of women."
    How could the performance have been better?

    John Lee reads each sentence with a pompous and repetitive tone that is utterly divorced from its meaning, a real shame for a writer with such deftness and subtlety. The most offensive part of his performance, however, is his insistence on reading any female speech in the book with a ludicrous, breathy voice, thus undermining every female character. Can you imagine how farcical it would be if a female reader decided to do a comically deep and macho 'caveman voice' every time she spoke for a male character?! So off-putting I almost abandoned the damn thing on several occasions.


    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    5/18/17
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    Performance
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    "Waste of time"

    This book is too complicated to be enjoyed as an audio book. The vast number of characters and events made it difficult to follow, especially when there is only one average performer who acts all the characters himself. Not suitable for listeners who can't be 100% focused with the audio 100% of the time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • DT
    10/6/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Funeral wreaths for sale"
    Would you listen to One Hundred Years of Solitude again? Why?

    Yes. Like many "classics", this novel is likely to change on re-reading; I wouldn't, therefore, re-read it for reassurance.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ursula - because she is almost ever-present.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The account of the transportation in two hundred railway trucks of two thousand (?) dead workers, mown down by the authorities ... and then the counter-claim that none of this happened.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Marquez refused to allow it to be filmed and I can see why.


    Any additional comments?

    “One Hundred Years of Solitude” (1967) is an extraordinary novel, as many readers attest. Six or maybe seven generations of the Buendía family are embraced. Hurricanes strike. Political turmoil bursts out and armies are on the march across the landscape of Colombia, motivated by stark but unexplored ideologies. Myth and history run in and out of each other’s spheres, while realistic dialogue and description merge with fantastic asides and episodes. Ghosts, more than memories, invade the present. The railway arrives, as does the cinema; labour wars divide the nation. Meanwhile, incest is present in the history of the Buendía family, which is caught up in bloody and retributive personal and national struggles.

    The imaginary town of Macondo, founded by the patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, and the narrator seek to hold this extraordinary complexity together, though the surprising lack of substance in the descriptions of the town and the even tone of the narrator – however startling the subject of a sentence – do create a novel that is nearly all mountain peaks and relatively few foothills and plains. Take, as just one example, a passage around which a whole novel or at least a chapter might be constructed but which is soon superceded by another intriguing episode, and then another, probably from fifty years later or earlier:

    “[Aureliano Segundo] became lost in misty by-ways, in times reserved for oblivion, in labyrinths of disappointment. He crossed a yellow plain where echoes repeated one's thoughts and where anxiety brought on premonitory mirages. After sterile weeks he came to an unknown city where all the bells were tolling a dirge. Although he had never seen them and no one had ever described them to him, he immediately recognised the walls eaten away by bone salt, the broken down wooden balconies gutted by fungus and nailed to the outside door almost erased by rain the saddest cardboard sign in the world: ‘Funeral wreaths for sale’".

    As a consequence of this excess of memorable writing, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” has the effect of going on and on, making it at least a challenge to sustain one’s reading, which, I think, needs ups and downs. Each sentence, even, can exert a fascination but over 400+ pages this is overwhelming, in a way that two writers who also make place matter and for whom time cam be, at once, the present and the past – James Joyce, in "Ulysses", and William Faulkner, in "Absalom, Absalom!" – seem to avoid, possibly because their prose, while equally mesmeric, is able to shift register, for instance, between gothic melodrama and poor-white regional vernacular in Faulkner. Marquez’s novel is remarkable but not as moving as I had expected, though the conclusion is aesthetically satisfying. I shall now try “Love in theTime of Cholera” (1985).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Janet Hughes
    4/27/15
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    "just simply fantastic."

    An odyssey brought to life. Magical Realism at its very best. A must listen for all Marquez fans.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • H
    4/7/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Storytelling at its best"

    One of the most emotive and engrossing stories I've ever experienced. I was recommended the book by a friend and tried the audio version, I'm glad I did.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Antti
    3/19/14
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Excellent"

    Keeping this short, there's hardly much I might add with any elaborate analysis to the wonder that is Márquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude". It's funny, and I mean laugh-out-loud funny, it's emotionally draining; exquisitely written, both poetic and perceptive, it's full of great characterization, all sorts of interesting turns of events and all this narrated with precise, economically beautiful language.

    The audiobook was delayed, for some reason, and only released this year. John Lee's narration seems to draw the ire of many, but I for one absolutely loved his reading. True, at first I was shocked – the ebb and flowing of his sentences felt idiosyncratic and I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. But I continued listening, and very soon I found myself acknowledging that Márquez's narration is just as idiosyncratic, if not more. I was enticed by the words and the voice. In the end I was so involved I was sad when I was finished.

    I think this is a wonderful audiobook, not only because the book is among my all-time favorites, but also because of Lee's performance. I've never heard any of his audiobooks before, and he sounds a bit like a musing Hugo Weaving or a Raul Hilberg. This book sold me on the idea of finding more works read by him.

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • floremolla
    6/16/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "disappointed with this narration"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I wouldn't recommend this recording. I found the narration mechanical, devoid of feeling and curiously delivered. The narrator had a very limited range of voices, just a breathy high voice for females and a breathy lower voice for males. I don't know enough Spanish to have an opinion on his pronunciation but several English words were pronounced wrongly - impious was 'impeeous', primer was 'primmer', and vehement was 'vyhement'. It was all very distracting.


    What other book might you compare One Hundred Years of Solitude to, and why?

    I'd compare it to other books featuring magic realism - Love in the Time of Cholera by the same author and The House of the Spirits by Isabelle Allende.


    Would you be willing to try another one of John Lee’s performances?

    Probably not.


    Could you see One Hundred Years of Solitude being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

    Unlikely. The book was published fifty years ago and would have been filmed by now if it had been suitable for film adaptation. The seven generations of characters with similar names would have been difficult enough to portray but also to reflect the history of Colombia and incorporate magic realism to good effect would have been well nigh impossible. Though if it had, Meryl Streep would no doubt have won an Oscar for her portrayal of the hundred year old Ursula.


    Any additional comments?

    Notwithstanding the quality of the narration, I'm glad I listened to this novel on audio. I think I'd have found it hard going to read with its plethora of characters, its obscure (to me) historical references and the magic realism (I'm not a fan) but it's one of the most important Latin American books of the twentieth century and worth the effort.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ritchie
    3/30/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This took forever"

    I guess it my lack of culture, but I just didnt get this book, and it bored me but I felt I had to finish it, dont waist your time

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hareth
    3/14/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Master at work, shocking but fascinating"

    A simple review like this cannot do this book justice, but for its horrific graphic detail, and its long winded story, it is a truly unique tale.

    Personally, I found the portion of the book before the maturation of Aureliano and Jose Arcadio Segundo hard to relate to and rather circular. Lacking a clear turning point or aim for the characters, the only two themes that I could see were the dual impulsiveness of Jose Arcadio and the withdrawal of Aureliano, coupled with the success of the women in the face of the men's shortcomings. This portion of the book bored me because I could not find a believable character nor one that I empathised with.

    However, as we progressed to the rise of a certain force in the town (maybe symbolic of the imperialist force of corporate powers in banana republics?) I found the characters take a more believable dimension for me, and all the way to the conclusion carry a strong message of solitude, rebellion and indestructibility. The themes if incest as well as betrayals were extremely graphic for me, but I found that try did not hinder the story and actually enriched it.

    TL:DR I enjoyed the second half much more than the first (after the Segundo's come to the fore).

    John Lee gave a great performance and I never found myself bored with his reading.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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