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Earnest

  • 53
  • reviews
  • 82
  • helpful votes
  • 73
  • ratings
  • In the Skin of a Lion

  • By: Michael Ondaatje
  • Narrated by: Tom McCamus
  • Length: 6 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 3

Patrick Lewis arrives in Toronto in the 1920s and earns his living searching for a vanished millionaire and tunneling beneath Lake Ontario. In the course of his adventures, Patrick's life intersects with those of characters who reappear in Ondaatje's Booker Prize-winning The English Patient.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Insights, magic, history embroidery in webs..

  • By Earnest on 02-08-18

Insights, magic, history embroidery in webs..

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

Reviewed: 02-08-18

What a listen!
Being the third Ondaatje novel in a row, I now feel I have learnt so much more about the world..yet I am one of its elders.
It does not matter when they were written. They speak of such now events ( its quite, quite unnerving-even for a historian) yet they are seemingly unanchored.
Gifts I had somehow missed until now.

  • Running in the Family

  • By: Michael Ondaatje
  • Narrated by: Michael Ondaatje
  • Length: 4 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 4

In the late 1970s Ondaatje returned to his native island of Sri Lanka. As he records his journey through the drug-like heat and intoxicating fragrances of that "pendant off the ear of India", Ondaatje simultaneously retraces the baroque mythology of his Dutch-Ceylonese family. An inspired travel narrative and family memoir by an exceptional writer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Evocative, sad and elusive search for Family

  • By Earnest on 30-07-18

Evocative, sad and elusive search for Family

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

Reviewed: 30-07-18

Having just listened to Warlight, whose melancholy, painterly landscapes I grasped for a moment, then lost as they slipped away, I went searching for more insight.
This memoir was it.
Inchoate families abound as do children who attempt to live within them. As respectfully as possible, the author daubs another shape shifting canvas with a family fragment here, a story there and always, a heart rending use of language to paint it in.
There could not be a dry eye as one after another of the outlines of a Father not known melt away amidst time and memory.

  • Warlight

  • By: Michael Ondaatje
  • Narrated by: George Blagden
  • Length: 7 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 84
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 81
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 81

London, 1945. The capital is still reeling from the war. Fourteen-year-old Nathaniel and his older sister Rachel are abandoned by their parents who leave the country on business, and are left in the dubious care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. Nathaniel is introduced to The Moth’s band of criminal misfits and is caught up in a series of teenage misadventures, from smuggling greyhounds for illegal dog racing to lovers’ trysts in abandoned buildings at night. But is this eccentric crew really what and who they claim to be? And most importantly, what happened to Nathaniel’s mother? 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved every minute.

  • By bookylady on 10-09-18

Assembling stories from a grain of sand

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

Reviewed: 27-07-18

An overwhelmingly restrained composition of a book. As close to the manner of creating a painting as I have ever read.
We read not about the exploits of many, many unknowable people in a period of terrible savagery and fear, but instead we feel the disruption in the air or water around us as they pass on by.
Truly. Imagine brush strokes that suggest war light. Negative spaces momentarily filled. The existence of “war/ness” amongst people so unlikely to be recognized, but immeasurably brave.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Life in the Garden

  • By: Penelope Lively
  • Narrated by: Helen Lloyd
  • Length: 5 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9

Penelope Lively has always been a keen gardener. This audiobook is partly a memoir of her own life in gardens: the large garden at home in Cairo where she spent most of her childhood, her grandmother's garden in a sloping Somerset field, then two successive Oxfordshire gardens of her own and the smaller urban garden in the North London home she lives in today. It's also a wise, engaging exploration of gardens in literature, from Paradise Lost to Alice in Wonderland.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A must listen. A total joy.

  • By Earnest on 20-06-18

A must listen. A total joy.

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

Reviewed: 20-06-18

An intimate, articulate paean to a way of living a life through the arch of a garden.
What a remarkable homage by such an insightful human being.
Thank you.
With iPad on hand, I cross referenced images, books, gardens, names.. and adored all the “ name dropping” especially of the plants mentioned themselves. Almost all of them fondly known to me over the years.

I also wondered at the healthy personality of Ms Lively and how she was able to omit all reference to the anguish of leaving a garden behind and choosing to cherish the one you have in the moment.

The voice actor is amongst the best I have ever had the pleasure to listen to. Nary a Latin name mispronounced and kindly accessible throughout.

  • Last Stories

  • By: William Trevor
  • Narrated by: Stephen Hogan, Niamh Cusack, Tara Fitzgerald
  • Length: 5 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 10

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Last Stories by William Trevor, read by Niamh Cusack, Stephen Hogan and Tara Fitzgerald. In this final collection of ten exquisite, perceptive and profound stories, William Trevor probes into the depths of the human spirit. Here we encounter a tutor and his pupil, whose lives are thrown into turmoil when they meet again years later; a young girl who discovers the mother she believed dead is alive and well; and a piano teacher who accepts her pupil's theft in exchange for his beautiful music.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • VERY STRANGE STORIES

  • By G on 28-06-18

Troubling and memorable

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

Reviewed: 08-06-18

Although “quietly written” prose seems an appropriate description and, “a light touch” an even better observation, the total effect of each and everyone of these stories is devastating.
Many of the human situations which are encountered seem dated at first and then very insistently, they become excruciatingly relevant and recognizable.
Not like Alice Munro, not like Helen Garner and not situated only in the male gaze either.. what a remarkable tour de force.
Vale William Trevor.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • London Rules

  • Slough House, Book 5
  • By: Mick Herron
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 10 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 401
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 381
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 379

London rules might not be written down, but everyone knows rule one. Cover your arse. Regent's Park's First Desk, Claude Whelan, is learning this the hard way. Tasked with protecting a beleaguered prime minister, he's facing attack from all directions himself: from the showboating MP who orchestrated the Brexit vote and now has his sights set on Number 10; from the showboat's wife, a tabloid columnist who's crucifying Whelan in print; and especially from his own deputy, Lady Di Taverner, who's alert for Claude's every stumble.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gripping. Brilliantly entertaining.

  • By Belinda on 09-02-18

Another real treat for Slough House fans

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

Reviewed: 06-06-18

What an amusing and engrossing tale. So very well plotted and more lyrical than usual in parts.

I chuckled when Mr Barrett had to read the lines,”Mr Barrett,whose rich voice was a pleasure to listen to..” was that written by Mr Herron or Mr S. Barrett himself? (I am unable to access the book to check.)
But it is true. Jackson Lamb “lives forever” in the characterization provided by that voice we have come to appreciate so much.

Just a tiny question. Is it just me or have River and Shirley had a brain transplant and become dumb and dumber since dawn?
No matter. Please write more Mr Herron.
Lady Di T. must be expunged.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • A Line Made by Walking

  • By: Sara Baume
  • Narrated by: Heather O'Neill
  • Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 9
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 9

Struggling to cope with urban life - and with life in general - Frankie, a 20-something artist, retreats to the rural bungalow on 'turbine hill' that has been vacant since her grandmother's death three years earlier. It is in this space, surrounded by nature, that she hopes to regain her footing in art and life. She spends her days pretending to read, half listening to the radio, failing to muster the energy needed to leave the safety of her haven. Her family come and go until they don't, and she is left alone to contemplate the path that led her here and the smell of the carpet that started it all.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Haunting and magically read

  • By MZT on 27-03-18

Indelibly beautiful

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

Reviewed: 02-03-18

Life knowing lyricism is rare in prose. The author gently urges the listener to be alongside this musical, young, old,sad, knowing reflection on life.
The natural world, the inner world and the cross referenced artworks are so wonderfully combined that one’s heart strings chime in unison.
It is rare to be a witness to such an elegant, non narcissistic self examination.
Not for the faint hearted.

  • The Whispers of Nemesis

  • By: Anne Zouroudi
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 8 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 22
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

Hermes Diaktoros, the inimitable Greek Detective, returns in a tale of hubris and Homer, dark coffee and even darker secrets. It is winter in the mountains of northern Greece, and as the snow falls in the tiny village of Vrisi a coffin is unearthed and broken open. But to the astonishment of the mourners at the graveside, the remains inside the coffin have been transformed. Then, in the shadow of the shrine of St Fanourios (patron saint of lost things), a body is found, buried under the fallen snow.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Well written and whimsical

  • By Earnest on 21-12-17

Well written and whimsical

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

Reviewed: 21-12-17

Those of you who do not necessarily thrive on gore in mystery books might like this series.
They are plotted so well with lovely, sensual Greece as a living background. Descriptions of place, food, smells are all lyrically done as are the light handed allusions to Ancient Greek history.
Terrific holiday read.
I’m off to buy some Greek food ingredients.
Oh and Mr Barrett continues to make reading out loud seem so easy and for me, listening like a comforting breeze.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The White Lioness

  • An Inspector Wallander Mystery
  • By: Henning Mankell
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett
  • Length: 15 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 67
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 65
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 65

Random House presents the audiobook edition of The White Lioness by Henning Mankell, read by Sean Barrett. In 1992, in peaceful Southern Sweden, Louise Akerblom, an estate agent, pillar of the Methodist church, wife and mother, disappears. There is no explanation and no motive. Inspector Wallander and his team are called in to investigate. As Wallander is introduced to this case, he has a gut feeling that the victim will never be found alive, but he has no idea how far he will have to go in search of the killer.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Not the best Wallander but still worth reading

  • By Nick on 24-01-18

Fond regards for Author but too clunky.

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

Reviewed: 06-12-17

It’s rewarding to tackle this Author’s work even though a listener might sigh-often - at the too too didactic tone, the absurd coincidences and essential lack of enough convincing variety. Locales and characters hover close to but do not become quite rounded enough to be convincing. People pop up fortuitously then vanish again. It’s as if Markell became more obsessed with sharing his beliefs than developing a story.

A thing I found rewarding, as I listened, was to juggle the renditions of this tale which I have seen both by Branagh and the Swedish Television Wallander. By doing this you get a far better sense of all that was attempted in the novel.
What each of these different writers from different cultures and with varying budgets chose to foreground was enormously helpful when listening became a chore.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Troubling Love

  • By: Elena Ferrante
  • Narrated by: Hillary Huber
  • Length: 5 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 13
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 10
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 10

Following her mother's untimely and mysterious death, Delia embarks on a voyage of discovery through the streets of her native Naples searching for the truth about her family. A series of mysterious telephone calls leads her to compelling and disturbing revelations about her mother's final days. A story about mothers and daughters and the complicated knot of lies and emotions that binds them, it is a must-listen.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Puzzled and bewildered

  • By Earnest on 19-11-17

Puzzled and bewildered

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

Reviewed: 19-11-17

After listening to this novel(and after I had listened to and loved the Naples trilogy), I read the review written by a respected critic in a fine newspaper. He said he ended up tearing the book in half before he finished- a thing he had never done before.
I understand.
Although I “get” the essential premise of the “mystery” I.e. who was my mother? The novel weaves back and forth and so repetitively that I lost the will to care anymore for any of them.
Perhaps I should have gloomily torn the digital audio file in two, but I lost the will to do that too.