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  • Alias Grace

  • By: Margaret Atwood
  • Narrated by: Shelley Thompson
  • Length: 15 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 136
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 131
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 129

Sixteen years have passed since Grace was locked up, at the age of 16, for the cold-blooded murders of her employer and his housekeeper/lover. Her alleged accomplice in the crimes, James McDermot, paid the extreme sentence of the law and was hanged on November 21, 1843. But some thought Grace was innocent, and her sentence has been commuted to life imprisonment. After a spell in the Lunatic Asylum she now claims to have no memory of the murders, and so Dr Simon Jordan tries to wake the part of Grace's mind that lies dormant.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great story which leaves questions in your mind

  • By Anonymous User on 27-12-2018

Work of descriptive & psychological genius

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

Reviewed: 23-05-2018

Alias Grace is a little outside the realm of Atwood's usual work in that it is historical fiction rather than dystopian. However, what makes it intriguing is that this historical whodunnit is based on a real murder case. The answer as to "why" has been answered by Atwood's usual believable speculative narrative, which works in beautifully with the real facts of the case. The result is a work of descriptive and psychological genius.

The narrator was brilliant in this reading, bringing Grace Marks to life. She maintained the mystery and aloofness, but also the kindness that Atwood intended for this character.

  • Breakfast at Tiffany's

  • By: Truman Capote
  • Narrated by: Michael C. Hall
  • Length: 2 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 36
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 35

Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote's masterstroke about a young writer's charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the "American geisha" Holly Golightly. Holly - a World War II-era society girl in her late teens - survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great short read recommend

  • By Anonymous User on 14-09-2017

Must-read American classic

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

Reviewed: 23-05-2018

The American classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s remains a favourite of mine. Its depth despite its simplicity is a drawcard as is the construction of the enigmatic Holiday Golightly, a country girl turned New York cafe society girl and part time escort.

Set during the post war sexual revolution it is highly readable, more so for the beautifully flawed protagonist. Her manner with men is appropriate for a person with her past and I enjoy the narrator’s relationship with her, like a standoffish friend who knows so much he almost knows nothing. I loved her cat-like nature, sidling up to people from whom she can see herself gaining advantages, and her unbreakable resolve.

A wonderful book, narrated well.

  • Oryx and Crake

  • MaddAddam Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Margaret Atwood
  • Narrated by: John Chancer
  • Length: 12 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 149
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 142
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 141

Margaret Atwood's classic novel, The Handmaid's Tale, is about the future. Now, in Oryx and Crake, the future has changed: it's much worse. The narrator of this riveting novel calls himself Snowman. When the story opens, he's sleeping in a tree, wearing an old bedsheet, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Great book, poor narrator.

  • By jackie on 12-03-2017

Dystopian masterpiece

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

Reviewed: 23-05-2018

I have read Oryx & Crake three times and listening to it here was my fourth'. Though nothing will ever replace the first read, I still find reasons to re-read it!.

What appeals to me is Atwood’s innate ability to combine real life characters with speculation on the state of the world if current experimental biological modification trends are pushed to the nth degree. There are no inventions in Atwood’s fiction, rather an intelligent mind bending about things that actually existed at the time she penned the book. As time passes, it is interesting to see how many of her prophesies are coming true!

Jimmy, Oryx and Crake are the perfect personalities to carry and ‘normalise’ the crazy story, covering the roles of crazed creator, passive caregiver and questioning observer between them. Jimmy in particular voices the reader’s concerns and therefore is the connection between our reality and Atwood’s.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough, as well as the two sequels.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Boat Rocker

  • A Novel
  • By: Ha Jin
  • Narrated by: Edoardo Ballerini
  • Length: 6 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars 2
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars 2

New York, 2005. Chinese expatriate Feng Danlin is a fiercely principled reporter at a small news agency that produces a website read by the Chinese diaspora around the world. Danlin's explosive exposés have made him legendary among readers - and feared by Communist officials. But his newest assignment may be his undoing: investigating his ex-wife, Yan Haili, an unscrupulous novelist who has willingly become a pawn of the Chinese government in order to realize her dreams of literary stardom.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Expose on freedoms of the press

  • By B_R on 22-05-2018

Expose on freedoms of the press

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

Reviewed: 22-05-2018

The Boat Rocker may be intended as a story about the freedom of the press, but it is so much more. Yes its primary focus is the media. "Honesty is strength" reiterates the narrator Feng Danlin as he investigates a story about his ex-wife and her supposed best-selling novel.

But it's also about communism and capitalism. East vs West. It is about corruption. It is about marriage and divorce. It is about the everyday struggles to be human. It asks what is the truth when so many people and media outlets package things in different ways.

The Boat Rocker is thought provoking, and with its steady paced plot, it provides much more than just storytelling.

  • Wake in Fright

  • By: Kenneth Cook
  • Narrated by: Humphrey Bower
  • Length: 5 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 20
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 20

The controller stood back. 'Right,' he said. 'Spin 'em!' The man flipped the piece of wood and the coins spun up into the air above his head and dropped down on to the carpet. There was silence. Wake in Fright tells the tale of John Grant's journey into an alcoholic, sexual and spiritual nightmare. It is the original and the greatest outback horror story. Bundanyabba and its citizens will forever haunt its listeners.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazing Australian classic literature.

  • By Kindle Customer on 25-02-2019

Crazy, disturbing, fantastic

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

Reviewed: 22-05-2018

Wake In Fright is the story of school teacher John Grant and his weekend of horror and despair stuck in the Australian outback. It is also the story of the influence of a hermetic community on a stranger. Written in 1961 and required reading in Aussie schools at one time, it is a story that has a sense of foreboding hanging over it constantly. I wanted to speak to John at several key moments in the book - "no, don't do it, John!".

Yet he does do it. He can't seem to say no and gets involved in all sorts of things he shouldn't and this is why the book is so good. Who hasn't succumbed to peer pressure? Who hasn't been in a situation that seemed insurmountable? Who hasn't needed to escape from some place or someone at one stage in their life?

A book I think many people could relate to and therefore love for its craziness.

  • The Sparsholt Affair

  • By: Alan Hollinghurst
  • Narrated by: David Dawson
  • Length: 16 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30

In October 1940, the handsome young David Sparsholt arrives in Oxford. A keen athlete and oarsman, he at first seems unaware of the effect he has on others - particularly on the lonely and romantic Evert Dax, son of a celebrated novelist and destined to become a writer himself. While the Blitz rages in London, Oxford exists at a strange remove: an ephemeral, uncertain place in which nightly blackouts conceal secret liaisons....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Artful subtlety

  • By B_R on 22-05-2018

Artful subtlety

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

Reviewed: 22-05-2018

Reading Alan Hollinghurst is like gazing at a painting for hours and constantly discovering new things in it. He has the ability to capture subtlety and gesture and nuance like no other writer. imho. In this book, things as simple as a glance between two people is given time and space to develop, so as a reader you can see the story playing out like a movie behind your eyes. From The Saprsholt Affair I have discovered listening to a Hollinghurst is more effective than reading one in order to glean these nuances and artful subtlety.

This is not a plot heavy drama but rather a book of passion and simplicity. I enjoyed all the characters and felt invested in their lives and loves. I did not need an extravagant plot to enjoy it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • First Person

  • By: Richard Flanagan
  • Narrated by: David James
  • Length: 13 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 25
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 24
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 25

Kif Kehlmann, a young penniless writer, is rung in the middle of the night by the notorious con man and corporate criminal, Siegfried Heidl. About to go to trial for defrauding the banks of $700 million, Heidl offers Kehlmann the job of ghostwriting his memoir. He has six weeks to write the book, for which he'll be paid $10,000.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • First person: An acute analysis of the age of the second rate

  • By Brad on 17-12-2017

Literary bent on good vs evil

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

Reviewed: 22-05-2018

First Person was apparently based on the author's own experiences. Richard Flanagan was hired to ghostwrite the biography of an infamous Australian criminal and this is the fictionalised version of that truth. And what a story it is! A man who ducks and dodges and hides the truth from everyone including his biographer, resulting in a book that treats history as a burden and reveres fictionalised truths. Perfect fodder for a struggling writer (as Flanagan apparently was at that time).

The real story here though is the human story. Good vs Evil. Kif the good, the well-intentioned protagonist, full of struggle and potential. Siegfried the bad, the antagonist, a conman, the withholder of the truth. Yet the interplay between the characters never feels stereotyped. The timing of the plot is steady, yet portrays Kif's growing angst as required.

My only gripe is that the ending played out too long. Without providing a spoiler, once the relationship between writer and subject is concluded, I felt the book should have wound up. However, still a great read and worth the investment of time.



  • Sing, Unburied, Sing

  • By: Jesmyn Ward
  • Narrated by: Kelvin Harrison Jr., Chris Chalk, Rutina Wesley
  • Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 42
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 38
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37

An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing examines the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power - and limitations - of family bonds. Jojo is 13 years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children's father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful and raw

  • By Heather Arthur on 30-10-2018

One of the best books I've read in ages

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

Reviewed: 21-05-2018

Sing Unburied Sing is gripping from the outset. Thirteen year old Jojo is a compelling character and he pulls the reader in immediately. It would be impossible to not be heavily invested in his story, in his love for his grandparents and baby sister, in his understanding of the world as a boy growing into a young man and in his fear of the journey they head out on in order to collect his father from prison. While the book may be the story of a broken family, Jojo is the crux, and developed so incredibly well by Ward.

The spirits that follow Jojo about, hoping for closure, add to the complexity of Jojo's character but also allow the author to offer thoughts on the state of race relations in the US currently, referring to its history and potential for the future. There are several layers of meaning in every beautiful sentence. It's the kind of book you want to read over and over to revel in the sentence structure.

The narration was excellent. In particular I loved Leonie's weak and shrunken portrayal. The voice of all characters added to the significance and intention of the story.

  • Little Fires Everywhere

  • By: Celeste Ng
  • Narrated by: Jennifer Lim
  • Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 573
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 508
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 507

The brilliant new novel from the author of the New York Times best seller Everything I Never Told You. Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned - from the layout of the winding roads to the colours of the houses to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Worth committing to

  • By Anonymous User on 17-06-2018

Entertaining but light on meaning

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

Reviewed: 21-05-2018

Little Fires Everywhere is a contemporary American story. It is full of secrets, school work and Diet Coke. Babies, teenagers and housewives. As a non-American, these inclusions are novel in my reading. Little Fires Everywhere tells the story of a mother and daughter who move unexpectedly to Shaker Heights and the intrigue that whirls around who they are and where they have come from. While the story is plot heavy and full of reveals, and therefore entertaining, it is a little light on meaning. Also the characters are quite stereotyped (snobby housewife, jock son, liberal single mom, poverty stricken immigrant ...). However, I think the book has a wide audience due to its tidy and relatable plot lines and satisfactory conclusions.

The narrator was excellent. She certainly portrayed the snobbery in Mrs Richardson's voice, the secrecy in Mia's and the desperation in Bebe Chow's.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Orphan Master's Son

  • A Novel
  • By: Adam Johnson
  • Narrated by: Tim Kang, Josiah D. Lee, James Kyson Lee, and others
  • Length: 19 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 40
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 37
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 37

Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother - a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang - and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fabulous journey with John Doe (Jun Do)

  • By Ballina Beach on 29-07-2015

Unexpected brilliance

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

Reviewed: 21-05-2018

As this book had been recommended to me, I had no idea what it was about before I listened to it - I'm not one for back cover blurbs. So The Orphan Master's Son's unique and poignant story line about a North Korean intelligence agent surprised me at every turn. Johnson's brilliance is demonstrated not only in the crazy plot, but also in his portrayal of life in North Korea and his construction of the cast of characters. This novel is Orwellian, satirical, witty and educational all at once. It certainly offers the reader insights as to the value of freedom and of life itself.

The narrators were brilliant also, adding authenticity to the tale. It was always clear which character was speaking or narrating. I particularly loved the voice of the Dear Leader.