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Set in the future, in the fictional land of Aradmore, this audiobook chronicles the struggles of James, Helena, and their family. After a climate disaster, society is now run by a group of corporate leaders called the Titans, who live in gleaming cities while ordinary workers, like James and Helena, are forced to live on reservations. All laws are made by - and all privileges are held by - the Titans.
Residents of the reservation struggle to survive. Citizens are not allowed to live past the age of 75. James and Helena decide they must break away. They leave on a trek to the district of Greenfields, where they can start their lives over again.
Greenfields is the thrilling story of how one family fights to overcome social injustice.
This novella is set in the fictional land of Aradmore and tells the story of a society formed after years of drought gave a group of wealthy men - the Titans - the opportunity to take over and oppress the rest of the people, who were already struggling to make ends meet. They bought up all the land and are controlling everything; food supplies , business, employment, politics, law,…
The Titans and their associates live in big, walled cities, while the rest of the people live in reservations completely controlled by the Titans. They’re not allowed to move freely and have to work for the Titans.
The story follows James, Helena and their 3 children, who dream of a better life in the so-called Greenfields district. Nobody knows if this place, a supposedly free and independent society, really exists, but James and Helena are willing to take a chance…
The world building in this novella is very well done, the author gives an elaborate explanation of the way this society works and describes how politics, law, employment,… are organized. It’s an interesting concept and I think it would be a great base for a full length novel. This would not only allow the author to further elaborate on the Aradmore world, but also give him the opportunity to focus more on the development of the characters in the story, which I missed a bit in the novella, due to its short length. It would also give him the chance to continue the story at the point the novella actually ends, as I think it would be a nice addition to the story. Overall: very interesting story, but too short to come to its full potential.
I listened to the audiobook version, narrated by Michael Gilboe (length 1h14). The narration was well done, although the pace was quite fast, I’d preferred it to be a bit slower, but the fact that English isn’t my native language might have something to do with that.
The author provided me with a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an unbiased review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Any additional comments?
What I found interesting in this book was the look at how food shortages cause wretchedness and desperation. Other futuristic novels (like 1984) emphasize the loss of liberty in a totalitarian regime, but it is the food shortages that are felt most keenly and that destroy all quality of life. The characters are depicted with wry, satirical humor that makes this story an entertaining listen. It moves along nicely with many different settings. The narrator is excellent. If you like dystopias like 1984 and The Giver, you will enjoy this.<br/>
Any additional comments?
Greenfields: A Novella by William Graham was a pretty good quick read. This novella was set in the future and follows the struggles of James and Helena. I enjoyed reading this novella.
I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed this short little novella! The world created here is both interesting and a bit grim but also offers a a glimmer of hope for a better life. I'm not sure the narration was the best it could be. Others here mentioned the same thing - descriptive narration was good and easy to listen to but the dialogue seemed stilted and stiff. I think both the way the dialogue was written and the narration of it were poor at times but better narration could have made the dialogue more realistic.
This novella created a world that could definitely develop into a much larger, more detailed novel, and I'd love to read that one too!
This audio book was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.
I love that William Graham book start with a short chapter that tells you about the world the story is based in. Getting this information upfront lets you launch right into the story and when the story is short this is a big bonus.
The world in this story is pretty much a lesson in what happens when people let power go to their heads, some of the decisions made are mind-boggling.
But it's not all doom and gloom, James and Helena are not content to live their lives being repressed and set out to change their circumstances. Their inner strength and determination show what can be achieved when you're not prepared to accept failure.
It's a really interesting little book.
I'm a bit on the fence with the narration, it was OK, it didn't detract from the book, but I found the character voices a bit stilted at times. Perhaps this was intentional on Michael's behalf and is supposed to show snobbery but I found it a bit off-putting.
This book was supplied free by the author/narrator/publisher and I voluntarily wrote this honest review.
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This is a short little read that I enjoyed very much. I feel that it is a wonderful bargain for under five dollars. So I would definitely recommend it. I received a review copy of this book from the author publisher or narrator
I recieved this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
This was a very good reinterpretation of the American Dream. A repressed family fights to become self sufficient and living happily. It was a nice novella.
If you could sum up Greenfields in three words, what would they be?
What. Pleasant. Surprise!<br/><br/>At 77 pages and little more than an hour, it’s a lot shorter than what I usually read or listen, but its length allowed me to fully enjoy it by listening without interruption.<br/><br/>It’s a dystopian (yay!) novella set in a fictional land called Aradmore. We follow James and Helena as they decide to restart their lives in Greenfields, a place they’re not even sure exists but must be better than the conditions they’re forced to live in.
Who was your favorite character and why?
I really liked Adrian, and I wish I could be more like him. Without spoiling the story, here's one of his quotes:<br/><br/>"Once you see the workers as human beings with names and histories and not just as numbered resources, you cannot come to any other conclusion that we must to something to help them."
What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?
About narration, I didn’t feel as if Michael Gilboe did his best job in the dialogues and that brought narration points down a few notches. His voice is crisp and clear and worked great for descriptive parts, but I didn’t feel much emotion from the characters even though I could tell them apart. They didn’t sound angry or tired or even in pain in scenes I imagine they would be, and that disappointed me a little. A little more voice acting would make listening to this book even better.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I was sad the book ended, really. We’re not told details of how things work or how society got to that point, but we don’t need them: the world of James and Helena feels real and relatable even without lengthy explanations. William Graham did a wonderful job building a world and telling a story in a straightforward way, but it’s easy to see how “Greenfields” could be developed into a much larger one.
Any additional comments?
“Greenfields” is a book I received for free from the author in exchange for an unbiased review, and one I’ll recommend and which made me want to check more of William Graham’s work.
Michael Gilboe does the narration in this, and does an excellent job. The pacing was perfect and his voice was easy to listen to and follow along with. I will definitely be looking for other Gilboe narrated books in the future.
Novellas and short fiction are two of my favorite types of writing styles. You have to fit so much into such a short amount of time/space that you need to be a good writer to do so. This story falls a little short (especially compared to Graham's other novellas). I just felt like there needed to be a little bit more. As soon as the characters were developing slightly and there could have been the slightest amount of adversity the book just ended.
I liked the story and premise, I think that either a longer novella/short story or even a full novel could be brought from Greenfields.
Part of the story had an air of Soylent Green, but it was a nice change from that story too.
I will continue to pick up Graham's short fiction, because he is able to develop a world in 40 pages that some authors cannot in 400.