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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling author Anne Rice reveals the dark, eerie beauty of the 18th-century Italian society of the castrati: the castrated males - sterile yet sexually functional - who were celebrated and adored for their glorious soprano voices.

Of the hundreds submitted to the knife at an early age - some sold by their parents, some brought by well-meaning maestros to the conservatoria of Naples to serve the music of the Church and State - few will achieve a voice so sublime, so crystalline, so pure that they will gain entrance to the mysterious, haunting world of the castrati. Here, they will know boundless fame and incredible luxury...but also know grueling dedication and sacrifice - and the tremendous pain of being despised as half-men, freaks. And as you are drawn into the castrati's strange and luminous world, Anne Rice also brings you into the sweep of 18th-century Italian life - its extraordinary decadence, opulence, and brutality.

©1982 by Anne O'Brien Rice (P)1991 by Random House, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    61
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    43
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    30
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    9

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    64
  • 4 Stars
    16
  • 3 Stars
    9
  • 2 Stars
    2
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    1

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    41
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    24
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    2
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Abridged means missing 2/3 of original book!

What disappointed you about Cry to Heaven?

This is a beautiful book and one of my favorites by Anne Rice. Unfortunately, the audio version does not live up to this at all. To have over half of the story removed is just awful. I am familiar with books being abridged, but this was excessive. Typically you would lose a few scenes here and there that are not critical to the story and maybe some of flowery descriptions in an overlong book. I would not call this an overlong book yet they cut from this book using an ax instead of a scalpel.

The audiobook fails to bring the main characters to life and glosses over the horrors and struggles over come by them. The vivacious world and scenery detailed by Rice in the book becomes a flat and watered down (barely recognizable) version of the Mediterranean. Strong and greatly influential characters become sides notes or disappear altogether! The scene cuts were so rough that I was left confused on how a new scene had come about and I have read the book three times! The written book details the life and time period of the famous Italian castrati. The audiobook focuses on the romances and sex scenes with no context provided, belittling them in the process. Characters fall in love and into bed with no rhyme or reason.

The book described on Amazon as a "sweeping saga" becomes a trite semi homoerotic fairy tale with no depth. Paint-by-number kits do a better job of paying homage to the original work than this audio book does. The sad thing is that many people will only experience this version and never know that they are missing so much.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Tim Curry?

No, his reading of this book was very stilted and his portrayal of the characters was indistinguishable from one to the next.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I loved the book, I hated the production of the audio book. I feel cheated.

Any additional comments?

Do not offer this book with the digital print copy. It will only leave people confused and upset that they are not getting the same quality product or even the same product at all for that matter.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Abridged = A-Butchered

I gave this as many as 3 stars becasue Tim Curry is an excellent linguist and perfect reader: I enjoyed listening to him. But, thats where the stars stop. True, it was an interesting and somewhat unique subject but I was left with the definite feeling that much was missing in this version. It is so obvious that it has been butchered and I have not even read the unabridged book. It was like going to a movie and all you got to see was the trailer. This was too abridged for me.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • DJM
  • California
  • 11-20-03

Rich and compelling listen!

I highly recommend this to all Rice fans, and especially to those who are unfamiliar with her work, but curious. Rice puts her considerable descriptive talent to excellent use - she really makes the time period come alive. The story is compelling, and I found the characters to be very accessible, which surprised me. I enjoy the vampire and witchcraft books, but they may seem daunting to many. If you want a sample of Anne Rice's exceptional talent without the substantial commitment that some of her work requires, this is the place to start. Tim Curry gives an outstanding performance. The only reason I didn't give this five stars is that it was too short - I would love to hear the unabridged version.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • southgate, KY, USA
  • 01-26-03

Cry to Heaven

Ecellent. Wish I could get it unabridged

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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

Cry to Heaven

Any additional comments?

This is the worst audio book I have ever read.

This audio book version is cut down to 4 hours from approx. 20 hours.

The history of the story is at once fascinating and sublime and sorrowful.
BUT...the history of the story takes a back seat to breathy whispers of "secret flesh" and sexual fumblings between adults and pre/post pubescent boys who have the "voice of an angel".

Mrs. Rice was given no favors by this hacked to pieces recording of a book that if given the correct length might be a beautiful book about the romantic and powerful castrati singers of 18th century Italy minus the scenes of bestockinged and eye-rolling parlor porn.

The audio master of this book should be destroyed. Please avoid and check out Rice's "The Witching Hour", which is genius on an epic scale.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

Abridged??

Any additional comments?

Did not even notice the word abridged when purchasing this book, ugh! as i was listening, Tim Curry should read all of Anne Rice's books, i kept thinking "he's skipping bits". what a mistake. you can't believe the "abridged" mistake won't happen again!

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

Buy this book. But not for obvious reasons.

Let me preface this review with the fact that I have no idea how this book got into my library. In fact, TWO Anne Rice books are in library mine, but how they got there is anyone's guess, because I don't remember buying them. I am not an Anne Rice fan. Not at all. I've read a few of her books - the Mayfair Witches was a wonderful read, but more for the historical storyline than the actual characters and their shenanigans. The Vampire L'Estat however, can take his fanged self somewhere else and kindly suck an egg because while some find the life and times of beautiful, rich, articulate, immortal people intriguing, I do not. I personally find perfect people to be incredibly boring, vampires or no. I think I tried to read one of the Vampire L'Estat books but I was so, so bored...oh look, the gorgeous, depraved vampire is sucking someone's blood...which will in turn create another gorgeous, depraved bat-person...and they're all filthy rich and horny, and don't they look lovely in their velvet britches....well, hooray. Not my cup of tea.

My cup of tea, however, IS Tim Curry. That voice. That timbre. It's like when I have my iPod plugged in and this audiobook is playing, it's FRANKENFURTER himself whispering in my ear, tickling my brain with his oh so naughty, corseted self. Tim Curry's voice is the very definition of saucy, and he is at his best here - the peaks and valleys of his every word will leave your hair standing on end...he veritably licks the words as much as he reads them. And what exactly, is this book about ? HECK IF I KNOW!! But you FEEL the story - right up to the heart-wrenching end. It seems that Rice and Curry....see what I did there??...anyway, it seems that Rice and Curry make a very good combination - Rice writing about sensual depravity, and Curry bringing it so vividly and delightfully to life.

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

Abbreviation ruins stroy.

I read this book years ago and was struck at how flat it seems in this abbreviated version. Stilll worth listening to, but really you should reat the actual book.

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

First book of Anne rice

This the first book I ever read of Anne rice and fell in love with her writing! Beautiful and historic

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great for an abridged

I would like to recommend this to people who just want a "taste" of Anne Rice or who have read this book before but need a refresher. This story is amazing! THe characters come to life even in this version. But if you do like this...get the hard copy.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jill Phillips
  • 03-25-11

The best 20th. century novel I've ever read

I'm a musician and very hard to please. I found this book by accident. I've recommended it to everybody I think could reach it. It's wonderful... truly wonderful.
It's the searingly moving and intricately informed story of the no-longer-tolerated 'production'(sic), practice and humanly demanding life of a castrato singer. I say no more.
Other books which have attempted to enter such culturally particular spheres have won big prizes. But I have never come across one which doesn't just skip the hard reality of such a life itself in favour of the bits of stories that inevitably attach to it. (Not that such stories do not also attach to the hero of 'Cry to Heaven'.) This book skips nothing.
It's a genuine masterpiece.
And it's been driving me mad, because all I've been able to find by Anne Rice to date is a load of vampires! I'll have another try now. I can't imagine I'll find anything, but if I do I know it can't be as amazing.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful