Cyril Avery is not a real Avery, or at least that's what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn't a real Avery, then who is he? Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead.
This story is about life in the Irish Republic for people who do not fit in with the moral and religious demands. The story starts with the narrator's mother being denounced for her pregnancy outside marriage and then follows her son's troubles as he realises that he is gay and has fallen in love with his best friend He moves to Amsterdam after a futile attempt at fitting in by getting married, then to New York. It is both beautifully written and beautifully read in a soft Irish accent that is a joy to listen to, I just loved it.
Annie McDee, alone after the disintegration of her long-term relationship and trapped in a dead-end job, is searching for a present for her unsuitable lover in a neglected secondhand shop. Within the jumble of junk and tack, a grimy painting catches her eye. Leaving the store with the picture after spending her meagre savings, she prepares an elaborate dinner for two - only to be stood up, the gift gathering dust on her mantelpiece.
I loved this book, which is the tale of a picture uncovered by a young woman in a junk shop which turns out to be of value (to put it mildly). There are various adventures as others try to get their hands on it and a major contribution is made by the voice of the artwork itself - a fascinating way of detailing its history. It was so convincing I had to google the picture (by Watteau) to find out if this painting existed (it doesnt). Sad when it ended
When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives - so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.
This is the second cormorant strike book I have read and I do like the characters. I really enjoyed listening to this over many nights as I got off to sleep, but it is a very complicated plot and towards the end, as it got more complex I decided I didn't care that much who had done it as I couldn't remember who half the characters were. (This is why, by and large I listen to plotless books as following a story is difficult when you keep falling asleep!) Still, it was good enough to listen to again and I might focus more next time!
In The Old Ways, Robert Macfarlane sets off from his Cambridge home to follow the ancient tracks, holloways, drove-roads, and sea paths that form part of a vast network of routes crisscrossing the British landscape and its waters, and connecting them to the continents beyond. The result is an immersive, enthralling exploration of the ghosts and voices that haunt old paths, of the stories our tracks keep and tell, of pilgrimage and ritual, and of song lines and their singers. Above all this is a book about people and place.
I am not a walker but thoroughly enjoyed this evocation of walks from Scotland (across the Cairngorms) to Palestine via part of the pilgrim trail to Santiago de Compostela. It is lyrically written and beautifully read by Roy McMillan. I will listen to this many times.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Landmarks, a fascinating exploration of the relationship between language and landscapes by Robert Macfarlane, read by Roy McMillan. Words are grained into our landscapes, and landscapes are grained into our words. Landmarks is about the power of language to shape our sense of place.
I have listened to this book on many occasions and love it. It celebrates writers who are in touch with specific aspects of the landscape or its wildlife - Cairngorm mountains, open water, peregrine Falcons etc. The writing is lyrical and it is beautifully read by Roy McMillan whose command of Gaelic names and words is stunning. My only reservation as an audio book is the many pages of glossary. It works for me as I listen in bed and regard this as a kind of soporific chant, although sometimes I get frustrated that by the time I hear a definition and realise I'm interested I have forgotten the word! I guess the answer is to buy it for kindle as well.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
From poverty to pets, from medicine to magic, from slang to sex, from wallpaper to women's rights. A glorious portrait of life in London from 1660-1670 by the bestselling author of ELIZABETH'S LONDON.
I knew quite a lot about the tudors, but almost nothing about the 17th century restoration of the monarchy, so I really enjoyed this social history, which is both well written and well read.
Following on from his hugely successful books, Moab is My Washpot and The Fry Chronicles, comes the third chapter in Stephen Fry's life. This unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of More Fool Me is performed by Stephen Fry himself.
I have both of Stephen Fry's previous autobiographies but this is boring beyond belief. Did some writing, went to club, did cocaine - repeat endlessly.
For years legendary broadcaster Alistair Cooke brought America to the rest of the world with incomparable wit and wisdom. This is his classic ‘personal history’ of America, guiding us through centuries of changing life in the USA.
As an avid listener to Letter from America (broadcast in the sixties and seventies, I was eager to listen to this book and was not disappointed. It tells the fascinating story of the discovery and colonisation of the US, the formulation of its constitution and its rise to economic power. Beautifully written and read in Cooke's own lyrical tones. Lovely
Of all of John Irving's books, this is the one that lends itself best to audio. In print, Owen Meany's dialogue is set in capital letters; for this production, Irving himself selected Joe Barrett to deliver Meany's difficult voice as intended. In the summer of 1953, two 11-year-old boys – best friends – are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary and terrifying.
I doubt I would have finished this book if I had been reading it, but I use audiobooks as a means of getting to sleep and so for the most part I found the somewhat repetitive writing soothing. It was beautifully read. The story is about a diminutive boy/man with a very high pitched voice (this almost grated but never quite did) who seems to have a disproportionate effect on those around him, including killing his friend (the narrator's) mother. As it neared the end, I lost hours of sleep as I awaited the denouement.
Six men have reached a certain age, their 40-something years, and each has a very different – and sometimes surprising – story to tell, from the brother who receives an unexpected letter to a compulsive philanderer, and a news photographer sent on an unusual assignment. All are funny, touching, and as beautifully observed as would be expected from the author of the phenomenal best sellers Eats, Shoots & Leaves and Talk to the Hand.
I bought this because I thoroughly enjoyed the unabridged version but did not realise that these were the same stories - just a collection of the men's monologues. I feel I have wasted a credit by buying these twice
3 of 4 people found this review helpful