1829, Tasmania. John Batman, ruthless, single-minded; four convicts, the youngest still only a stripling; Gould, a downtrodden farmhand; two free black trackers; and powerful, educated Black Bill, brought up from childhood as a white man - this is the roving party, and their purpose is massacre. With promises of freedom, land grants, and money, each is willing to risk his life for the prize. Passing over many miles of tortured country, the roving party searches for Aborigines, taking few prisoners and killing freely, Batman never abandoning the visceral intensity of his hunt. And all the while, Black Bill pursues his personal quarry, the much-feared warrior Manalargena.
A surprisingly beautiful evocation of horror and brutality, The Roving Party is a meditation on the intricacies of human nature at its most raw.
Where does The Roving Party rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
One of the very best
What did you like best about this story?
Story is very spare and the language very rich.
What does Shaun Grindell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Very authentic accent and expertly read. He made the experience real.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Many moments. The descriptions were so vivid and so beautifully wrought, I could smell, feel, hear, and taste them. I want to luxuriate in the language of this story again and again.
Any additional comments?
You need subtitles with explanations of the idiomatic conversational language of the people in this story. May be one reason to read the book to see the speech in print but you still won't understand some of what they are talking about. Like going into the swamps of Louisiana and trying to understand Cajun.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
What did you like best about The Roving Party? What did you like least?
This was a "telling" of two cities with a narrator that puts in a stellar performance but unfortunately is reading a pathetic story. I have been an audible listener for a long time and this was one of the best narrated book I that have ever heard; hats off to Shaun Grindell as this narrator was a master at changing his voice to mimic the speaker's accent. Unfortunately the story line was just too dark, meaningless, and pathetic to fully enjoy. Spoiler alert...it's a story of one group of people hunting and torturing another group of people for no apparent reason. We get lot of gory descriptions of human upon human cruelly, but these come with very few insights into why these people behave like animals. All people who are students of the world know that bad things happen. Non-stop vivid descriptions of these does no good to anyone without an explanation into the mindset of why these things happen.
I guess I now know that Australia has had bad people do bad thing to the indigenous populations just like many other places around the planet; unfortunately I wasted almost 8 hours of listening to gleam this obvious fact with no further explanation. Oh well, at least I heard and thoroughly enjoyed one of the next great narrators of books.
Would you ever listen to anything by Rohan Wilson again?
Very unlikely. It will be a long time before I seek out Australian literature again.
What about Shaun Grindell’s performance did you like?
This guy is the real deal. I was thoroughly impressed with his ability to change"voice" for each character. I look forward to his next book and and only hope he gets something worth reading.
Could you see The Roving Party being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?
No - it gratuitous violence; albeit with a flowery Australian dialect.
Any additional comments?
I am really shocked that Alan Cheuse recommended this book. I guess I will take his recommendations in the future with a grain of salt.