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Marianna

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  • 26
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Superb!

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

Reviewed: 04-02-17

What a gem! Caitlin's wit, incredible literary talent, sense of humour and refreshing openness make this book a real treat. An absolute 'must' for all women. Caitlin has instantly made it to the top list of my favourite authors and will definitely look up her other books!

Poetry in prose - a masterpiece of storytelling.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-12-12

The most powerful book I have read this year. Impossibly moving, most elegantly written book, poetically even, despite writing about one of the worst and most devastating atrocities in human history. The most unique account of human resilience, even at such young age, the nourishing power of narratives and stories, even in the most unbelievably difficult times, and most of all - incredible power of love between the child and her father, which becomes a source of life force - physically, at times of the greatest famine, and emotionally at times of the most profound trauma and desolation. Instead of slipping into a self-pity, or anger, which must have required the greatest integrity, the whole book conveys the most profound humanity - in fact, there are so many very deep messages, which left a strong impression on me, that I definitely want to re-read the story again. I could not recommend it more highly.

Incredible beginning, less convincing second part

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-12-12

The first part of the book is as incredibly captivating depiction of the lives of the main characters in the isolated, oppressive country of North Korea. The story is beautifully written, at times almost poetically, at times with such authenticity of the portrayal of the most intimate thoughts and feelings, that I found it breathtaking and could not stop listen often late to the night. What in my opinion also adds a deeper dimension to the first part of the book is that at times it is based on real historical events, such as the period of famine or the abductions of several people from Japan. These events, and the way they formed people are described with such accuracy, and so realistically, that it provided a very powerful glimpse into the lives of people in this country, which so little is known about.

However, in the second part, the books becomes a lot more surreal. The main character begins to impersonate a well known North Korean war hero, part of the story begins to take place at a very 'high-tech' torture units, with detailed descriptions of torture equipment and techniques, which do not sound very believable, the late leader, Kim Jong-il is depicted almost as a comical caricature.

Personally, I was not very fond of this switch, from a very genuine and authentic, to almost a science-fiction style. I found it a lot less enjoyable form the literary style point of view, as well as confusing, as it almost had a feel of 'pro-US propaganda' and I fear that it may be misleading for some readers.

Still, the first part of the book was superb, and the book was definitely well worth the listen just for that!

2 people found this helpful

Brilliant

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-11-12

I really like the author - her literary style, her charisma, thoughfullness and strong, memorable messages. This is one of her best books I thought and could not agree more with previous reviewers - definitely worth the listen!!!

1 person found this helpful

Remarkable

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-11-12

This is a remarkable book - original, full of humanity, incredibly educational and very interesting. It traces a journey of long standing human effort to battle one of the most devastating diseases - cancer - the struggles encountered, unexpected finds as well as hard won victories. The author has conducted an impressive research into the topic, and his book is full of fascinating details, both scientific as well as personal touches. His use of language is makes it a real literary pleasure to read, even though the material is at times very complex (and on occasions little difficult to follow, especially the latter part), and the structure of the book is incredibly well thought-through, joining personal touch, with scientific information and philosophical reflections. One of the best non-fiction books I have ever read. However, as the book is full of scientific details to process, I personally would have found paper version easier to follow than audio version, although the narration was excellent and very clear.

9 people found this helpful

Phenomenal

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-10-12

One of the most memorable, superb, thought provoking and haunting books I have read in the past 3 years. I have recommended it to several people, all avid readers also, who were equally impressed. A very powerful book, which has immediately made it to my top 20 books I have ever read/listened to.

2 people found this helpful

Stunning

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-10-12

Beautifully written, thoughtful, sensitive, captivating and thought provoking. I rarely write reviews, but I was so moved by Aminatta Forna's writing style, that I really wanted to share it with others. A wonderfully special find, could not recommend it strongly enough.

3 people found this helpful

100% recommended

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 23-02-12

This wonderful classic, rated among the top 100 books ever written, was SO wonderfully narrated, that it was an absolute pleasure to listen to. A superb masterpiece of its time, the first 'criminal story' using the power of deduction, has not lost any of its charm even after so many years - on the contrary, gained an even more enchanting and magical atmosphere. Beautifully written, charming, and incredibly enticing, this literary masterpiece will never lose its place in any book lover's library ;).
Although I read (and listen;) a lot, this book will always remain to be one of my favourites and I could not recommend it more highly.

24 people found this helpful

What a gem!!!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-01-12

Beautifully written, full of humanity, delicious humour, warmth and thoughtfulness. Definitely one of my most favourite books I have read/listened to over the past year!

1 person found this helpful

At what costs???

Overall
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-01-12

The book is written well, but at what costs??? Yeah, it is a great story plot, but - for the readers, written totally from a western perspective. It emphasises aspects of the culture, which are not right, like supression of women, but it sadly it never mentions aspects of culture, which are uncommonly generous in our western culture, like looking after our relatives or guests. What it does not mention is the cost - the impact of this book on the family, who so generously welcomed the author in their home, now knowing that this would ruin them and their livelihood. I did not know it when I read this book, but feel deeply disturbed by the breach of trust and confidence. If I had an informed choice again, I would certainly donate the money to the charity rather than to an author of a book, who abused the generosity and trust of their hosts. This review comes from a person from a European
background.

5 people found this helpful