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Stephen

Stephen Rowlands Gill,, United Kingdom Member Since 2005

Classics,contemporary fiction, Politics, Philosophy, Economics - a weekly eye on The New Yorker & The Guardian and dense word style/play.

HELPFUL VOTES
374
ratings
REVIEWS
177
174
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FOLLOWING
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  • "Start of something big?"

    Overall

    I'm not sure how I stumbled into Murakami - I think it was on the basis of a review or mention in the New Yorker magazine - and a quick look through the available titles on Audible. Having listened to Norwegian Wood I saw the recent BBC Imagine programme where the author refused to appear in person and his readers seemed strangely reluctant to break ranks and give their impressions of the books - other than to say they had established a personal relationship through reading and did not want to betray the 'trust' placed in them. Odd, odd, very odd. The website with its moody based doesn't seem to clear anything up - but it is the beauty and clarity of the prose that has captured me and seems to have entranced others around the world. Give it a try, get on board - you'll really enjoy the experience. The picture of Japan is bang up to date - it is the authentic voice of new Japan - the pictures of Kobe, Osaka and Tokyo similarly ring true. Other readers cite David Lynch - but the imagery is definitely Kar Wai Wong. The Japanese sensitivity may be breaking free of the corporate steam roller and we may see a new Chinese-wave - or he may just be a lone but powerful new voice.

    More

    Norwegian Wood

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Haruki Murakami
    • Narrated By John Chancer
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (137)
    Performance
    (35)
    Story
    (33)

    Toru Watanabe, approaching middle age, hears The Beatles song "Norwegian Wood" in an airplane and, with Proustian vividness, it transports him back to his student days in Japan with Naoko, Midori, and Storm Trooper.

    Stephen says: "Start of something big?"
  • "Corky, Rocky Todd ? the story begi..."

    Overall

    Rummy sort of a book this, what? I mean, I know squads of chappies wouldn?t touch it with a pair of extending sugar tongs. But then, as my Great Uncle Cleasant used to say, you can?t judge a book by the date of its library stamp. I mean, so far as Cless was concerned, he?d be less miffed by the fact that this appeared in 1919 than by the fact that old Pelham Grenville managed to slip at least three stories by that vagabond Reggie Pepper (son of the Colliery people) when you thought you were getting the full Jeeves and Wooster for your shilling. What a scamp, eh?
    But, other than that, the gang?s all here ? Aunt Agatha, Corky, Rocky Todd and a setting that?s exclusively Manhattan, don?t you know. Station clerks peeping out over the battlements at Penn Station, the girls from 'Frolics at Midnight' and that scourge of musical comedy, the evangelist Jimmy Munday for heavens sake. Its one? long hoot from soup to nuts?The green dust jacket needs a little work, however, I?m sure you?ll agree, sir??

    More

    My Man Jeeves

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By P.G. Wodehouse
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (28)
    Performance
    (10)
    Story
    (10)

    My Man Jeeves, first published in 1919, introduced the world to affable, indolent Bertie Wooster and his precise, capable valet, Jeeves. Some of the finest examples of humorous writing found in English literature are woven around the relationship between these two men of very different classes and temperaments. Where Bertie is impetuous and feeble, Jeeves is coolheaded and poised.

    Stephen says: "Corky, Rocky Todd ? the story begins splendidly"
  • "Kirsten is Christina"

    Overall

    The notion of the true story of King Christian IV of Denmark set in the year of 1630 as 'racy' seems a bit of a stretch, but Rose Tremain through the character of Kirsten or Christina Munk pulls it off. Lots of plots and sub plots, great storytelling from a writer who was new to me - really enjoyable. Jenny Agutter's performance is great as well, she has the perfect voice for this one - a pleasure in itself.

    More

    Music and Silence

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By Rose Tremain
    • Narrated By Jenny Agutter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (42)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (15)

    In the year 1629, a young English lutenist named Peter Claire arrives at the Danish Court to join King Christian IV's Royal Orchestra. From the moment when he realizes that the musicians perform in a freezing cellar underneath the royal apartments, Peter Clair understands that he's come to a place where the opposing states of light and dark, good and evil, are waging war to the death.

    Stephen says: "Kirsten is Christina"
  1. Norwegian Wood
  2. My Man Jeeves
  3. Music and Silence
  4. .

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 2014

Now a major film

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    Frances had been picturing her lodgers in purely mercenary terms - as something like two great waddling shillings. But this, she thought, was what it really meant to have paying guests: this odd, unintimate proximity, this rather peeled-back moment, where the only thing between herself and a naked Mrs Barber was a few feet of kitchen and a thin scullery door. An image sprang into her head: that round flesh, crimsoning in the heat.

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    When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.Strike is a war veteran - wounded both physically and psychologically - and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model's complex world, the darker things get - and the closer he gets to terrible danger...

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    Harry August is on his deathbed. Again. No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. Until now. As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. 'I nearly missed you, Doctor August,' she says.

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    Pirriwee Public is a beautiful little beachside primary school where children are taught that 'sharing is caring.' So how has the annual School Trivia Night ended in full-blown riot? Sirens are wailing. People are screaming. The principal is mortified. And one parent is dead. Was it a murder, a tragic accident or just good parents gone bad? As the parents at Pirriwee Public are about to discover, sometimes it's the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal.

    Heidi says: "Fascinatingly detailed insight into life"
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    Berlin, Summer 2011. Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of open ground, alive and well. Things have changed - no Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognises his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman. People certainly recognise him, albeit as a flawless impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable happens, and the ranting Hitler goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own T.V. show, and people begin to listen.

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    Sunrise, despite its name, is a wicked town. It is the only wide open town in the Crazy Butte country. It attracts gamblers, above all Dan Farlin, who works in the Red Arrow, the most prosperous saloon in Sunrise, owned by Big Tom Lester, who runs the town if anyone does.

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    First serialized in 1919, the novel takes place during WWI and tellls the story of Kurt Dorn, a wheat farmer in the state of Washington whose father is German and his mother American. Though he has a successful farm, there are groups that would like to prevent wheat from being harvested at all, including a group of Bolsheviks, the Industrial Workers of the World, which is led by a German spy financed not only by Germany but also secretly by a German wheat magnate.

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    In the ancient nerkshire town of gryme, a girl stands watching. She observes an old zookeeper approach and enter his dilapidated realm. She has been waiting for him. With a heavy heart, she recalls the joy and excitement of days gone by when, as a small child, she had been taken to the zoo by her father, to see the great wonders of the natural world. What awaits her now, however, is far from natural....

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    Jason "Jase" Brady sweeps Dorothy off her feet. As Dorothy patiently waits for Jase to give her the happily-ever-after she's been dreaming about, James "Hawk" Young, a member of the Hell's Horsemen with secrets of his own, sees an opening into Dorothy's life and takes it. What follows is a long and painful journey of self-discovery and forgiveness, as Dorothy comes to realize that home was exactly where she'd left it and the love she'd forever craved had always been within her reach.

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    At the ball that was to change her life, Rona Trafford danced with a mysterious Harlequin. She learned that this prospective suitor was being unfaithful to another, and so fled to Paris, taking up a job as a governess. Her employer's brother joined them. Unknown to her, he was concealing a dramatic secret, one that threatened to destroy them both. How they confronted danger, and how Rona learned more about the Harlequin, is told in this exciting romantic novel by Barbara Cartland.

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    Train's Trust: A Western Story

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    Steven Train is and has long been a thief and card sharp. He has gone by other names. He is sought out by another crook, John Ranier, with a proposal. Rainer saved a rich rancher, Patrick Comstock, from serious injury and was rewarded with an easy job, working for Comstock. Rainer tells Steve Train that Comstock is looking for an honest man who is also adept with firearms to undertake a very dangerous and responsible mission. Comstock has asked Ranier to help find such a man.