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Publisher's Summary

Juan Gabriel Vsquez has been hailed not only as one of South America’s greatest literary stars, but also as one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation. In this gorgeously wrought, award-winning novel, Vsquez confronts the history of his home country, Colombia.

In the city of Bogot, Antonio Yammara reads an article about a hippo that had escaped from a derelict zoo once owned by legendary Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. The article transports Antonio back to when the war between Escobar’s Medelln cartel and government forces played out violently in Colombia’s streets and in the skies above. Back then, Antonio witnessed a friend’s murder, an event that haunts him still. As he investigates, he discovers the many ways in which his own life and his friend’s family have been shaped by his country’s recent violent past. His journey leads him all the way back to the 1960s and a world on the brink of change: a time before narco-trafficking trapped a whole generation in a living nightmare.

Vsquez is “one of the most original new voices of Latin American literature” according to Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, and The Sound of Things Falling is his most personal, most contemporary novel to date, a masterpiece that takes his writing - and will take his literary star - even higher.

©2012 Juan Gabriel Vasquez (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent book, terrible narrator!

This is a beautifully written book about my native Colombia. I had to grit my teeth and endure the reader's abominable mispronunciation of all Spanish words and names. Why would there be no effort made to learn proper pronunciation in order to better render the main character? I particularly enjoy listening to books set in foreign locations in order to gain a better understanding of a culture by hearing the music of it's names. I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn about Colombia beyond what is portrayed in the news. Read the book and skip this audio version.

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  • Christine
  • Miami, FL, United States
  • 01-15-15

Disappointed!

Sorry but I expected more details about the birth of drug trafficking. I hate to complain but this book was so much worse for me because of the narration. First of all, it was taped at a volume lower than my next book. Worse was the laid back voice of the narrator. He had a nice deep voice but inappropriate for this text. My mind would wonder off because the reading showed no enthusiasm, just monotone. I expected a Spanish accented voice. I found that I had to change the speaking speed to 1.5 on my iPhone to listen and stay awake. Sorry but I did not enjoy this and could not wait to get finished to have it behind me.

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The worst reading of a good book

What did you like best about The Sound of Things Falling? What did you like least?

A deeply felt, human story winding its way through the period of Colombia'a drug war, without taking the route of assassins, bloody violence or druglord sagas.

What didn’t you like about Mike Vendetti’s performance?

Where do I start? The narrator had no pacing, sense of timing, pauses between chapters, paragraphs, or subjects. His pronunciation in ENGLISH was horrendous (couldn't seem to handle "th" sounds, or any words of three syllables or more.) Let alone his mangling of Spanish place names and words. Honestly, the worst reading I've ever encountered -- almost laughable, except it was so excruciating.

Was The Sound of Things Falling worth the listening time?

Yes, which shows how good the book was, even while handicapped by the reading.

Any additional comments?

A new, quality production is needed -- the book deserves it. In the meantime, read it in print.

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  • Mary
  • Portland, OR, United States
  • 09-08-13

Too bad about the narrator

This is awful. I can't finish it because the narration is so bad. He can't even be bothered to learn the Spanish pronunciation of Colombian places. When the city of Cali changes from CAH-lee to Cah-LEE you know what follows isn't going to be good. No doubt the author is going to lose readers because of the poor narration. Sorry about that Mr. Garcia.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Horrendous pronunciation!

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The Narrator. Horrendous pronunciation! This book was written in Spanish and you would think that the narrator could have at least learned how to pronounce the names of the main characters and the cities in which this story takes place. As a native English speaker but fluent in Spanish, I found it hard to understand what he was even talking about. Pathetic.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Suzn F
  • Fletcher, VT, US
  • 08-21-13

The Sound of the Clock Ticking.....

Had I read this book in print perhaps I would have reacted more positively (maybe). The monotone narration throughout the whole book made the experience of listening to this slow moving introspective story a monotonous chore.
So to the book itself.... I'm just not a fan of the story. I could not invest in even one character or the story; it came down to my wanting it to be over. As soon as possible. And damn it, I really wanted to like this one.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • benjamin
  • Fitzroy North, Australia
  • 06-15-13

Good story, well told.

This audiobook is easy to follow and also tells a good story using delicate language at times.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jody
  • PIEDMONT, CA, United States
  • 12-10-13

Shockingly bad narrator

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Different narrator

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The worst narration, hands down, of any that I've heard. I've never written a review, and generally enjoy my Audible listens. But the narration of this book was so distracting that I can't tell you if I hated the book or only the narrator. Given that the fictional narrator is supposedly a Bogateno, you might expect that the reader would pronounce at least the place names with a Latino accent, but no... Medellin, rather than Med-ay-EEN, remains the unrepentently Anglicized MED-eh-linn. Since the Medellin cartel is central to the story, this pronunciation grated time after time. I'm not generally a stickler, but I found myself so irritated by the narrator that I began to notice his frequent stumbles. Literacy becomes "literercy," excrement is astonishingly, "excretement," and I never knew whether the last name of one of the characters was Barbieri or Barbereri since he gave them equal time. He read about "floodened" houses. I was floordened.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Narrator sounds robotic

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

If the narrator sounded less like a robot and more human, even his words ran together.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Awesome

What didn’t you like about Mike Vendetti’s performance?

Monotonous dull performance by the narrator made it distracting to read along with.

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

The plot is great and lots of historical information on Pablo Escobar

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Debbie
  • St. Paul, MN, United States
  • 10-27-13

The narrator is horrible

Would you try another book from Juan Gabriel Vasquez and/or Mike Vendetti?

I would read another book by this author but NOT with this narrator

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The narrator read this book in a monotone voice. He did not differentiate between male an female voices. There was no emotion.

Any additional comments?

I am visually impaired so read all of my books in audio. I thought this narrator was so bad that I would have preferred listening to the book in synthesized speech!

It's a marvelous book with a fascinating story. It was also very well written. The narrator ruined it for me.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful