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Doomsday Book

Narrated by: Jenny Sterlin
Series: Oxford Time Travel, Book 1
Length: 26 hrs and 20 mins
4 out of 5 stars (5,519 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

One of the most respected and awarded of all contemporary science-fiction writers, Connie Willis repeatedly amazes her many admiring fans with her ability to create vivid characters in unusual situations. With Doomsday Book, she takes listeners on a thrilling trip through time to discover the things that make us most human.

For Oxford student Kivrin, traveling back to the 14th century is more than the culmination of her studies - it's the chance for a wonderful adventure. For Dunworthy, her mentor, it is cause for intense worry about the thousands of things that could go wrong. When an accident leaves Kivrin trapped in one of the deadliest eras in human history, the two find themselves in equally gripping - and oddly connected - struggles to survive.

Deftly juggling stories from the 14th and 21st centuries, Willis provides thrilling action - as well as an insightful examination of the things that connect human beings to each other.

©1992 Connie Willis (P)2000 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1993
  • Nebula Award, Best Novel, 1992

"Ms. Willis displays impressive control of her material; virtually every detail introduced in the early chapters is made to pay off as the separate threads of the story are brought together." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A stunning novel that encompasses both suffering and hope....The best work yet from one of science fiction's best writers." (The Denver Post)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    2,425
  • 4 Stars
    1,626
  • 3 Stars
    834
  • 2 Stars
    389
  • 1 Stars
    245

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,436
  • 4 Stars
    1,271
  • 3 Stars
    548
  • 2 Stars
    192
  • 1 Stars
    127

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,084
  • 4 Stars
    1,242
  • 3 Stars
    704
  • 2 Stars
    336
  • 1 Stars
    230

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Timely, beautiful, terrible and haunting

Now more than ever, I am recommending that everyone I know listen to this book. It is an amazing, satisfying, beautiful and terrible story mostly about a time traveler who is trapped in a small medieval village that is stricken by the plague. Meanwhile, current day Oxfordshire is also suffering from an especially virulent flu and attendant quarantine. The book was written in 1992 and much of the action takes place in a squalid, medieval village and yet it is all terribly timely. The characters and setting are beautifully written and this is one of the most moving books I've ever had the pleasure of reading or listening to.
Three more selling points for this great book: 1) I love a good, long book from Audible and "Doomsday" is a wonderful 26 hours and 30 minuets of listening to one of my favorite narrators, Jenny Sterlin. 2) "Doomsday won a Hugo Award in 93 and Nebula Award in 92 and 3) Connie Willis has written another book with some of the same characters that is much lighter in tone yet still very worth reading and a good way to recover from the terrible, searing beauty of "The Doomsday Book". That other book is also available on Audible :"To Say Nothing of the Dog"
Listen to "Doomsday" first, save "To Say Nothing of the Dog" to cheer you up and you can then finish off with Jerome K Jerome's sweetly funny "Three Men in a Boat". There- I've just come up with a great plan for your next 50 or hours of Audible listening. You can thank me later. After you've thoroughly enjoyed all of these amazing books.

271 of 289 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

WELL DONE...but a real bummer

I listened to this on vacation and the beach, and it promised to be pure, guilty-pleasure ear candy. I was not disappointed by the writing, the concept, or the reading (the narrator is fanTAStic).

However, I would put a warning label on this that the whole second half of the book is (vague spoiler alert) sort of a sinkhole of depressing events. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone looking for a "pick-me-up" or a happily-ever-after type story.

I guess a book about the plague wouldn't be a typical candidate for that anyway, but for history buffs like me, taking a time machine back to the Middle Ages sounds like such a "fun" idea...and this just isn't a "fun" story.

Still, DEFINITELY worth a read...when you're in the right mood for a downer.

148 of 160 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not What I Hoped For

Is there anything you would change about this book?

How many characters do I get? My sub-title for this book is "Or What Happens When Stupid People Get Time Travel." The bone-headedness of all of the characters was immensely frustrating as were the half-baked futuristic elements. We've got time travel, but we're still frustrated by "phone outages" and characters asking to borrow phones although in 1992, cell phones weren't unknown. Surely the author could have seen a future with them? No one can look up an NHS number. There's been a worldwide flu pandemic, but Christmas vacation means no one can do anything. Does anyone actually believe the CDC says "sorry, they're on vacation" when a possible pandemic is in the works? Entire hours are seem to be wasted on the inability of the quarantine area receiving supplies. First: not gonna happen that way, and two, probably not the reason you picked up the book. You probably picked it up wanted to read about life in the 14th century, and there's precious little of that.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Characters that are smart and capable. The characters were all so slow on the uptake. Forgetting important concepts until 10 minutes into the conversation. I'd be mentally reminding them to ask about "X" while I listened to character blab on about stupid stuff that wasn't story. The historian is particularly susceptible to being an idiot, taking forever to realize what's going on (The whole "wicked man" episode in the church was particularly grating.) There was so little actual medieval history or culture in this book, IMO, and waaaaay too many annoying children (yes, there are TWO.) Also, some resolution to where the actual director of History had gone off too. They spend the entire book looking for him, entire sections devoted to "finding Basingham (?)"

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

My frustration with the characters probably has roots in the way the reader would repeat a question like she'd never heard of the concept before. Typical exchange: "Yes, but what if Kivrin catches the flu?" "Kivrin?" said like they'd never heard the name before. OMG. It was head-bashing frustration at times to listen to this book.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Probably because a movie would certainly cut out all of the over-writing. If this author could find a way to make something more time-consuming, she would. Everything skitters out of reach requiring a second try. Everyone gets sick and has to bring the story to a stop while we have scene after scene of "no visitors!" or "you're not supposed to be out of bed."

Any additional comments?

What sold me on this book was the fact it had won both the Hugo and Nebula awards. As science fiction, I found it lacking. As history, I found it lacking. By the time the "real" story starts, you're ten hours in. This book would have been more enjoyable with a length of maybe 15 hours.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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

A Haunting First Book in the Series

I mistakenly read this series out of order starting with book 2 first. That book "To Say Nothing of the Dog" was an upbeat, funny, and happy experience. The title of this book should be a warning to future readers--"Doomsday". Don't start this book thinking this will be a happy listen. Very long, repetitive, plodding and detailed. That said, I admit I still couldn't stop listening. Time travel and enthralling stories that alternate between past and future. Characters are developed into people that captivate and make the long hours of listening possible. A thoughtful look at time, perception, life, illness and epidemics. A perfect example that even a grueling book can be worth a listen.

75 of 83 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Cut by half would have made it twice as good.

We're in the middle of the 21st century, and a group of Oxford scholars are now able to travel back in time. Young student Kivrin Engle has a passion for the middle ages, and the object of the next study involves traveling to the 14th century Oxford region in 1320, well before the arrival of the bubonic plague of 1348 which killed off entire villages. Kivrin has spent years preparing for this trip, and even though professor Dunworthy thinks her too young and worries the trip is fraught with too many dangers, she hasn't wasted time learning Middle English and Latin and the various tasks and labours expected of the young noblewoman she is meant to impersonate. But things have gone wrong from the start. When she arrives in the 14th century, she is badly disoriented and falls gravely ill. She is found and brought to the home of a family who do their best to nurse her back to health, but though she has spent many dedicated months to prepare for this journey, she soon discovers all her studies have been for naught, because for one thing, she can't communicate with them. Meanwhile, in the Oxford of the 21st century, things are going very wrong too. Badri Chaudhuri, the young technician responsible for setting up the apparatus for Kivrin's time travel, seeks out Dunworthy to tell him that "something is very wrong", but he can say no more than that, having fallen gravely ill and suffering from high fevers which put his life at risk, so that all he is able to communicate through the better half of this lengthy novel is that "something is wrong" over and over and over again.

The very beginning of the story showed great promise, and I found all the details about 14th century England fascinating, but I felt that for at least the first half of the narrative barely anything happened at all and we were circling round the same details again and again, as if in a bad dream. I quickly lost patience and was ready to give up, but so many fans of this book assured me it was well worth the effort that I stuck to it. The story that finally emerges is a good one, but I would probably have enjoyed it more had there been a serious editing job done, since so much of the book was taken up with what seemed like filler. Had the novel been cut by half, I would probably have thought it was pretty great, but as it is I have a hard time believing that it won prestigious awards (the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards among many others), and had to overcome a lot of frustration to finish it. I think I found a reasonable compromise with my current rating.

You might love it completely, and then again, you may not.

62 of 69 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

I wish i had a time machine..

I wish I had a time machine to go back in time and stop me from getting this.
This book was super repetitive. I liked the idea of this book however a lot was lacking in the execution for me. This book was super repetitive. If you like hearing about the same things over and over again, you may enjoy this book. This book was super repetitive. It took forever to really kick into gear. I think for me, if finally became interesting when I had about 3 hours left. This book was super repetitive. I think if it would have been trimmed down to maybe 10 hours or even 15, I might could have rated it higher. This book was super repetitive.

27 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Don't let the bad reviews stop you!

I loved this book! I listened to another Willis book "To Say Nothing of the Dog" (also an award winner) and enjoyed it immensely. Then, I debated downloading this one. The terrible reviews almost stopped me - but I'm so glad I didn't listen to them. I imagine fans of action/adventure-oriented Science Fiction would not appreciate it. However, if you like more character-oriented scifi, historical novels and British literature, you are likely to enjoy this as I did. I agree that the narration isn't especially outstanding, but I found it perfectly adequate. The characters are very well-developed and many are truly lovable. Try it!

127 of 145 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Good and Bad

previous reviews seem to either love this book, or find it to be overwritten. I fall closer to the latter.

There were elements that were very good. The narrator is excellent, superb. The amount of detail that Willis gives for the preparation of time travel was, at first, intriguing and unique. The story does have imagination.BUT, a big but, the length of the book, ( and I mean how long she takes to tell the story, not the length per se) and the unnecessary ( often boring) detail, and meanderings off the main trail, made it very tedious to get to the end. I finished it only because of two reasons. One, well, I'm OCD about these things. Two, the latter portion of the book got considerably more interesting than the former.

I recommended only if you have lots [and lots] of patience with the developing story. Otherwise, a pass.

28 of 32 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

A Plague Upon Us

A pessimist might say, well that's 26 and a half hours of my life I'll never get back. An optimist might respond, well at least it saves us from having to listen to the other 63 and a half hours of this series. Seriously: you've been warned.

Neil Young once introduced his song, Don't Let It Bring You Down, by saying, here's a song guaranteed to bring you right down -- it starts off slowly and then peters out altogether. If only that were true of Doomsday Book, which starts of slowly, 18 hours worth of slow, and then turns downright awful for the final eight hours. Unless you've been hankering for graphic descriptions of death by plague (eight hours worth!), consider yourself warned.

At the 18 hour mark, there was a moment where I thought this might all be worth it. I could see exactly how Willis could bring together her story of time travel from the mid-21st century to the 14th century, with its bookend epidemics and attempts to bring the time traveller back from the deep dark past. But instead of tying together the scant plot strands, she gives us eight hours of the plague.

I listened to Willis's Bellwether and absolutely loved it. A neat, satisfying six and a half hour bundle of genius. I thought Doomsday Book might be Bellwether times four, the entire Oxford series Bellwether times fourteen. If only Willis had distilled this down to a manageable 8-12 hours, maybe it would have lived up to its hype and awards (by cutting out the endless repetition, for example, or cutting down the graphic description of the plague -- half an hour of plague would have sufficed).

This is beyond disappointment. This was simply awful -- 18 hours of boring followed by eight hours of awful. Thanks to Jenny Sterlin for narration that at least makes the listening easy on the ears. Too bad the writing was not at the same level.

47 of 55 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Are you patient enough to wade through this?

This could have been a good book. There are some excellent ideas, and the author is capable of writing well and clearly has a lot of detailed and accurate knowledge about the Middle Ages to work with. Unfortunately, the execution makes it so tedious that it negates all the good material the author had to work with.

The main problem is that almost everything is massively over-written. It is like those B-class documentaries on TV, where they take two hours to reveal what is really a tiny snippet of information, and when it finally comes out you feel annoyed because it turns out to be not that interesting anyway. I normally love long books, and at 26 hours this one is actually short by my standards, but it is still much, much, much too long. I found myself constantly wanting to shout at the author, "Please just get to the point already, it's been clear where this is going for the last hour at least!"

This is compounded by the fact that the filler material adds nothing to the story, it is effectively just pointless meandering. When Charles Dickens or Susanne Clarke go off on a tangent for several pages you love it, because they enrich their story or their characters or take you off on a wonderful side journey that is simply delightful. Here, not so much.

And then there are the characters and the narrator. There is generally nothing wrong with having a couple of stupid people in your story. They add realism and provide an excellent source of friction. However, when every single character in a book is almost painfully stupid it makes the unfolding of the story tortuous and aggravating. Even the heroine is infantile and almost retarded, although she is supposed to be a post-graduate with time travel experience.

All this, in turn, is made worse by the narrator. It is not that she is a bad narrator; on the contrary, she is very good. She has just made some terrible, terrible choices on how to portray her characters. The heroine's voice makes her sound like a twelve-year old schoolgirl terrified of getting into trouble. All the Oxford University staff members' voices are a kind of Bertie Wooster parody of pompous, choleric, upper-class Englishmen of advanced age and decidedly limited mental faculties. The voices make it impossible to focus on what they are saying, because the primary message you are receiving from the voice is, "this character is an insufferable, pompous idiot". Listening to them bumbling about, misunderstanding everything, flying into juvenile rages every ten seconds and talking to each other in these voices is like a kind of audible, Oxford version of a Keystone Cops movie. The other voices are not much better.

Again, this could have been a much better book. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • lesley
  • 03-18-10

enthralling tale of time travel

do not be put off by the old fashioned start to this book as it improves as it goes on and the plot unfolds. I will be searching out another book by this author. Agreat listen

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • artemis99
  • 01-21-11

A Smashing Book

I am not going to comment on how this book is written because I am not qualified to do so, but as an avid reader I do know what I enjoy. This book was one of the best books I have ever read, and as my eyesight is deteriorating now, I shall be purchasing this book so that I can listen to it as much as I wish. Thanks Audible for making it available.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • N. Price
  • 11-22-11

Disappointing comedy of manners

This listener found Jenny Sterlin's voice flat and uninteresting, which was a drawback for such a long book. There's also a passage of a few paragraphs which gets repeated in the first section of the download, an indication of a lower standard of audio production than most recent Audible recordings.

As for the story itself, I was very disappointed. The pace is extremely leisurely and while the depiction of the pettiness of academic life is mildly amusing, the story failed to grip. Every time I was getting into it, I found myself shaken out by jarring inaccuracies of language or geographical detail. Clearly, these haven't bothered other listeners, but this one found that they severely impeded his ability to suspend disbelief.

A British character who refers to cars as "automobiles"? Cases that are called "valises"? A hospital accident and emergency department called "Casualties" rather than "Casualty"? A pub in the centre of Oxford which is nearly empty a few days before Christmas?

The geography is particularly bad. The heroine, who has travelled back to the fourteenth century to a location 10 miles west of Oxford, imagines that she might be able to see the sky glow of London "50 miles away". From that location, mediaeval London would be 70 miles away. I can't imagine much of a sky glow at that period but, besides, the Chiltern Hills would have blocked any such view even had it been available.

In her cover story, she is supposedly travelling from Yorkshire to Evesham via Oxford, which is a strange and indirect route to take, and is travelling on the road from Oxford to Bath, which runs in entirely the wrong direction.

Such details are individually trivial but cumulatively produce an impression of an author who really doesn't know Oxford and has a poor grasp of British idiom.

I was hoping for history and adventure, but while these are present, they are mostly subordinated to a mild and uninvolving comedy of manners. Disappointing.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Charmaine
  • 03-03-10

You have to listen to this

This book is excellant. So many superb twists and turns it makes you want to keep listening. It'll make you laugh cry and smile like the village idiot whilst sat on the bus. The interaction of the characters is so fatastic would definately recommend. A must listen to.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 02-19-12

Loved it

I am certainly no historian and do not know much about the medieval ways of life but this book is very well written, well read, entertaining, impossible to put down. It certainly made me go to the library and start reading about that period in the history books!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ulrika
  • 10-20-10

One of the best simply!

This is something unusual, a well written really engaging historically true story that simply is almost perfect!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • jackie S
  • 04-24-18

Depressing and humourless

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Looking at other reviews, people do seem to like this book, but I can’t imagine who would.

What was most disappointing about Connie Willis’s story?

It was about a terrible time, but there was never any light in this book, just hours of misery.

How could the performance have been better?

The performance was dull and lacklustre, but so was the book, so perhaps it was a good performance.

What character would you cut from Doomsday Book?

The very annoying children.

Any additional comments?

I was particularly disappointed with this book as I had already listened to the next book in the series, which is funny and well worth listening to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Laurelle
  • 03-15-17

A stunning story.

There is alot of detail here but it packs a real punch at the end. Intelligent and thought provoking about time and the human condition.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • roland
  • 02-29-16

Imagine getting stuck in the 14th century!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Brief Synopsis

This book has two story threads running through it, both set in and around Oxford.
It is set in 2054 and time travel is possible, but done only by historical researchers - but no-one has gone back as far as the 14th century.
The story is based in and around Oxford University and a young student called Kivrin who is determined to get back to the 14th century.
Kivrin does get back to the 14th century against Mr Dunworthy's advice but the trip is not as straight-forward as she had expected.
Kevrin has recorders embedded in her wrists and she records her life in a medieval village - this is what she calls her 'Doomsday Book' and what gives the book its title. There are extracts at the end of many of the chapters.
Together with her troubles in the past there is a parallel story being played out in 2054 Oxford and the story chops and changes between the two.
An archaeologist is excavating an old abandoned church in 2054 Oxford ares and it is to this village that Kivrin is supposedly being sent back to - so the story plays out supposedly in the same place but different centuries.
It does look a long book but it is one I have thoroughly enjoyed each time I have read it.
It is quite hard to review the story without giving plot spoilers away but I shall try.
This book combined two of my interests - time travel and history.
I had not read any of Connie's books before this one so came to it fresh.

Since though I have read a few more of her books and enjoyed them all, but this is my all time favourite.
I enjoyed the element of twin stories unravelling together. Though the story set in the 14th century is more compelling for me.
I especially enjoyed the details of life and clothing in the 14th century. Plus there was a lot of discussion to begin with as to how words were pronouced and how Kivrin had been taught the wrong pronouceations - though she did have an embedded translator that helped her understand others and also be understood.
It was a large book of 650 pages but I read it over a few days and felt sorry when it was finished - though I couldn't wait to get to the end to see what happened. It is a pity that Connie Willis never wrote a sequel to this story.
I enjoyed this on two levels - first as a good science fiction read but also as it gave me an added insight into what medieval life was like and I will use that information when I imagine how life was like in and around our little village.
Although science fiction in the sense that Kivrin got to the 14th century via time travel, a lot of the book is about her life in the past, how the people there lived, their hopes and dreams and how they persevered through adversity.
The research seemed very thorough into living conditions back in the 14th century - from the type of dye used on their clothing to the way women had to behave and how young girls were betrothed at an early age.
Some have commented that her geography relating to the Oxford area is not as accurate as it could be but personally I cannot comment and it is a fictional story after all so I do not fault it on that.
Being written by an American there are one or two odd turns of phrase - such as 'muffler' instead of 'scarf' and terrorist' clothes instead of 'camouflage'. But these are very small and do not detract from the reading of the story.
The future part of the story set in 2054 does rather oddly not feature mobile phones at all - though whether by error or design I am not sure. However it does help with some of the twists of the story which relies on certain people not be able to be contacted.
This book is written in such a way that it really brings the people from the past alive - they are there talking with different forms of speech, but they still have their needs and worries as we do today. Some are mean and spiteful while others are generous to a fault.
There are one or two bits that could have been edited out to shorten the book but personally I thoroughly enjoyed the easy place of the story.
Kivrin was a young girl when she travelled back into the past - but her experience was mind-blowing.
I am glad in a way that this has never been turned into a movie. I have such a vivid image of the people and places in the story that I think any film would ruin the illusion of the images I have made.


Award

Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1993).


Star Rating

5 stars. An excellent read.


Would I Recommend?

Yes. Even after such a long book I still wanted more.
Connie has written other time travel books in the same vein which I have enjoyed - 'Blackout' and 'All Clear'. She has also written other books and many short stories.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • SuzyDiamond
  • 11-09-15

A slow starter, but worth the patience

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, it was a nice combination of future society/attitudes and historical perspective

What was one of the most memorable moments of Doomsday Book?

Kivrin finally forgets the need to get to the drop in her wish to help the contemps

Have you listened to any of Jenny Sterlin’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, and she does have a couple of irritating verbal mannerisms, but after a while I managed to forget these

Any additional comments?

I found myself wanting to scream at some of the characters who seem incapable of answering a question! There was a lot of frustration, but I suppose the plot would not have continued without them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Katy
  • 04-23-18

history made real

connie willis does a great job of immersing the reader in a historic era and making the characters real.
The only complaint is that it was too slow moving and drawn out.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nicola Carson
  • 05-01-19

Excellent!

The story was excellent and narration brought it all to life wonderfully... I look to the next book

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Lisa
  • 04-25-19

A book for someone with more patience than me..

Very, very slow. Look like it could have been an amazing book, but she needs some editing. I gave up after 3 hours of listening and almost nothing had happened. The same characters harp on the same lines time and time agin. It's really very annoying.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-14-18

Great book

Connie Willis is an author who always draws me in and this is the first in her fantastic Oxford based time travel series. Even though time has moved on, leaving me to wonder for instance why the characters do not have mobile phones, the story is fascinating. The almost parallels of 21st century Oxford in the grip of a pandemic and England during the plague in the middle ages are intriguing. The characters are brilliantly portrayed and the darker aspects of the story are relieved by Connie's light touch and her gentle portrayal of the absurdities of everyday life.
The narration was good. It could have flowed a little more easily. The story was dramatic enough in itself not to need some of the emphases added by the narrator, but overall this was a great listen.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-21-18

a great escape

If you're looking for a well-written, characters you can care about, go for this. Thoroughly enjoyable.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Emily
  • 03-15-17

A pretty good historical story...

Would you listen to another book narrated by Jenny Sterlin?

Probably not. I wasn't that keen on her narrating style. While she did a good job with various voices and character, at times I just felt a bit... bored or sleepy by her style. She picked up toward the end but it was slow going at the start.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not really. Once the character went into the past it got more interesting but I nearly gave up on it at first.