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Blind Girl

Budapest, Hungary
  • 63
  • reviews
  • 93
  • helpful votes
  • 238
  • ratings
  • Jonathan Franzen

  • The Comedy of Rage
  • By: Philip Weinstein
  • Narrated by: Tom Zingarelli
  • Length: 6 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

Jonathan Franzen's work raises major questions about the possibilities of contemporary fiction: How does one appeal to a broad mass of mainstream readers on the one hand while persuading connoisseurs, on the other, that one's fiction has is high art? Even more acutely, how did Franzen move from the rage that animates his first two novels to the more generous comic stance of the two later novels, on which his reputation rests?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Good listen

  • By Blind Girl on 08-01-19

Good listen

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

Reviewed: 08-01-19

This is an essay on Franzen's work written in a semi-academical, semi-poetrical tone. It made me want more and more. Maybe one day a larger biography will be released about this extraordinary persona that JF is.
Watch out, listener! If you are only planning to read some of Franzen's major novels, this audiobook will be a perfect spoiler for you, revealing the complete plot of every single one.

  • Suite 405

  • By: Sveva Casati Modignani
  • Narrated by: Lucia Angella
  • Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars 1

Un'auto di lusso sfreccia nella notte lungo l'autostrada che collega Roma a Milano. A bordo c'è il conte Lamberto Rissotto, che possiede un'importante industria metallurgica e la dirige con sapienza, nonostante le difficoltà legate alla crisi economica del Paese. L'uomo ha fretta di rincasare per chiudere immediatamente ogni rapporto con la bellissima moglie Armanda, perché ha appena scoperto la sua ultima imbarazzante follia.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Non crederai ai tuoi orecchi!

  • By Blind Girl on 01-01-19

Non crederai ai tuoi orecchi!

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

Reviewed: 01-01-19

Caratteri come tagliati da un fotoromanzo degli anni settanta. Dialoghi come composti da una tredicenne ingenua e priva di conoscenze sugli altri. Storia talmente primordiale che semplicemente non puoi capacitare chi decise di pubblicarla e per quali ragioni. Tutto questo mi divertiva per alcuni quarti d'ora eppoi mi fece solo pena da non crederci. Se questa donna é un faro della narrativa contemporanea italiana, guaio a noialtri lettori.

La signora leggeva tutta questa roba come una scolaretta con eccessi di zelo ma purtroppo nemmeno minimalmente adatta ad interpretare testi (pseudo)letterari. Vorrei sapere come Mondadori lasciava uscire questo brano degno a buttare nella pattumiera piú vicina.

  • Middle England

  • By: Jonathan Coe
  • Narrated by: Rory Kinnear
  • Length: 14 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 221
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 207
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 206

Beginning eight years ago on the outskirts of Birmingham, where car factories have been replaced by Poundland, and London, where frenzied riots give way to Olympic fever, Middle England follows a brilliantly vivid cast of characters through a time of immense change.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Highly absorbing 'political Gogglebox'

  • By K. J. Noyes on 17-11-18

The twelvth Coe: an impressive sequel

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

Reviewed: 13-11-18

I know, I know. Coe is more and more maniac. Novel by novel the same painfully didactic scenes. I know, I know. His novels are falling apart at the end. Female characters are lifeless puppets without exception. Always the same clever, intriguing, predictable jokes. The same lefty sadness upon the fall of Britain. I know, I know.


But what can I do? I love it all. ‘The House of Sleep’ was my very first Audible purchase. I have listened to every word of his available in audio. And even if I am sometimes very angry about his downs (The Dwarves of Death or Expo 53) I am always excited when his new release is finally on my ipod. Coe is a superb author with an utterly enjoyable style, always looking for new structures and forms for his old message. His message is old but never old-fashioned. Old but never outdated. The last of the renaissance Humanists: an intelligent, deeply sarcastic, introvert, melancholic peace-loving scolar. With a fascinating brio. Biro. Whatever.


Middle England is a magnificent sequel to ‘The Rotters’ Club’ (2001) and ‘The Closed Circle’ (2004) As a Hungarian living in Hungary I don’t want to post a comment on British politics. But Coe’s preoccupation and his silent, hopeless cry break my heart anyway. And with all its brexity despair this is a very readable novel, there’s romance and violence, there’s love and hate, there’s Britain with its splendor and exotic landscapes, there’s political documentary and humble everyday existences. The Rottars’ Club series is terminated gorgeously.


My only fear: Coe is preparing to write the sequel for ‘Expo 53’. Please don’t, Jonathan!

  • The Memory Chamber

  • By: Holly Cave
  • Narrated by: Imogen Church
  • Length: 11 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 213
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 198
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 199

The perfect afterlife or a never-ending nightmare? Isobel has it all: a steady relationship, the immaculate home and her dream job. Life, and even death, is completely under her control. For Isobel's generation death no longer means oblivion, thanks to firms like her employer, Oakley Associates. Isobel is their top Heaven Architect, crafting perfect afterlives for her clients: artificial paradises of the mind built from the memories they treasure most. Then Isobel meets handsome client Jarek....

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting but drags on a bit

  • By Natallie on 10-03-18

The usual sci-fi rubish

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

Reviewed: 07-11-18

From time to time I purchase viciously a contemporary sci-fi paperback. And I regret it every single time.


There are some clues to help mediocre authors who have no proficiency in plot building. No ideas? You can always insert
- amnesia
- malevolant aliens
- psychopath characters
- vengeful friends
- Now, Miss Cave used one of these. Of course I won't tell you which of them. Anyway be prepared: you will spend 12 hrs with a shamefully hollow book. The author is simply not ready to write a proper novel. Good ideasthere are, as well as a plausible technical background and more or less 3D characters, but the whole structure is very cheap and primitive. The saddest thing of all is that she has a very fresh, flowless and enjoyable style. We will probably never know why such a brioed person is unable to build an even vaguely satisfactory plot. The stuff hardly worth the Daily Deal price.


The only good thing that could happen to this rubish is the superbe narration. Ladies and Gentlemen, Imogen Church is a genius. A native British listener would perhaps not think so, but for my ears she was the perfection itself.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • The Magic Toyshop

  • By: Angela Carter
  • Narrated by: Fiona Shaw
  • Length: 6 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 27
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 23

This Audible Exclusive adaptation of Angela Carter's The Magic Toyshop, is brought expertly to life by multi-award winning actress, Fiona Shaw. A coming of age tale which extends the nature and boundaries of love, as seen through the eyes of the youthful and naïve Melanie, The Magic Toyshop was enormously successful and cemented Angela Carter's status as one of England's greatest and most daring writers.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Disappointing narrating

  • By Barbara rea on 18-09-18

The second Carter: disappointing

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

Reviewed: 05-11-18

Released in 1967, 'The Magic Toyshop' is a typical second novel. Remain the virtuosity of the language, the strong images and the captivating poetry of the prose, but characters are weakly, I dare say puppet-like developed. Plot is somehow inproportionally built and for God's sake let's drop the puppet-and-puppeteer topic once for all. It has been written in a rush and even if the novel has some briliant moments, 'Shadow Dance' seems a masterpiece in comparison.
Narrator deserves no stars. She doesn't respect sentence limits, paragraph endings let alone chapters, merging everything in a hasty, annoying performance. What's the hurry, Fiona? It was devastating, a mediocre novel and a worst narrator put together. I keep on reading Carter purchasing 'Several Perceptions', her third one. Let's hope for the best.

  • Shadow Dance

  • By: Angela Carter
  • Narrated by: Kris Dyer
  • Length: 6 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 4

'The scar drew her whole face sideways, and even in profile, with the hideous thing turned away, her face was horribly lopsided, skin, features and all, dragged away from the bone. She was a beautiful girl, a white and golden girl, like moonlight on daisies, a month ago.' And yet the men still hover around her, more out of curiosity than lust, and none more so than the wildly seductive, dangerous funny man Honeybuzzard; lithe as a stick of liquorice, he is the demonic puppet master at the swirling centre of the tale.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The first Carter: a spooky grotesque

  • By Blind Girl on 29-10-18

The first Carter: a spooky grotesque

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

Reviewed: 29-10-18

Even if the protagonist Mr. Honeybuzzard, the poor wannabe Puppeteer is somewhat outdated nowadays (we have seen so many mad and far madder literary characters since!) the games of manipulation and submission, violence and frustration played in this briliant first novel of Carter (released in 1966) remain fresh and universal.


This woman is a national treasure. She writes in a 3D so tangible. When you read her paragraphs you begin to freeze if she wants it. I am not fully convinced about the plot, but I try to understand her intentions and some very appealing major topics of her work. I am about to start listening her second novel, 'The Magic Toyshop', hoping for the best.

Delivery was 10 stars because you felt the narrator involved into the story. No high-piched female voicing, always very intelligent and funny when necessary.

  • The Accidental Woman

  • By: Jonathan Coe
  • Narrated by: Sophie Ward
  • Length: 4 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 3

For Maria, nothing is certain. Her life is a chain of accidents. Friendship passes her by, and she's unimpressed by the devoted Ronny and his endless proposals of marriage. Maria lives in a world of her own - yet not of her own making. Stumbling through university, work, marriage and motherhood, she finds it hard to see what all the fuss is about. Will she ever be able to control the direction of her life? Or will it end as it began, by accident? What does chance have in store for the accidental woman?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • The first Coe: a memorable listen

  • By Blind Girl on 04-09-18

The first Coe: a memorable listen

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

Reviewed: 04-09-18

The cult novel of my university years. It felt super good to re-listening it after 15 years indeed. Utterly funny. Utterly sad. Very clever, still inmature at some points, But the style is groundbreaking even in this very first novel of the author. And maybe throughout Coe’s eleven novels the most vivid characters.

If you read Coe regularly, this will be a surprising, fresh experience. If this is your first, be aware: not a typical Coe. But I dare say maybe the best one. Never again such an intimate contact between author and reader. Never again such passions behind the shields of the cool, distant irony. Never again such a bravurous ending (Mr. Coe is usually very bad at giving a round ending to this stories). All in all a masterpiece voiced by a sensible, clever Sophie Ward who understands it all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • La ferrovia sotterranea

  • By: Colson Whitehead
  • Narrated by: Anna Foglietta
  • Length: 10 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 1
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars 1
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 1

Georgia, prima metà dell'Ottocento. La giovane schiava Cora vive nell'inferno della piantagione dei Randall. Caesar, l'unico bracciante che possa chiamare amico, le parla della misteriosa ferrovia sotterranea, della via per il Nord, di quella che sembra la strada impossibile verso la salvezza. Cora decide di seguirlo attraverso gli stati del Sud, dove la persecuzione dei neri prende forme diverse ma sempre terrificanti. Aiutata da improbabili alleati e inseguita da uno spietato cacciatore di schiavi, riuscirà a guadagnarsi la libertà?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Un classico moderno, mi raccomando

  • By Blind Girl on 23-07-18

Un classico moderno, mi raccomando

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

Reviewed: 23-07-18

Questo romanzo mi diede larghissima veduta sulla schiavitù nonostante la sempre crescente improbabilità degli avvenimenti. Che differenza infatti tra "La ferrovia sotterranea" e quelle letture debilizzanti che leggevamo venti, trent'anni fa sull'America e su schiavi! Il libro è un classico moderno e certo troppo realistico nelle descrizioni della crudeltà, ma pure ne vedo il posto negli scaffali degli adolescenti contemporanei (magari avessero uno scaffale almeno virtuale) Alquanto avventuroso, il libro tiene l'attenzione retta e pian piano cominci a pensare in un modo tutto differente di questa epoca che l'avevi mai fatto. Splendido davvero.

Alla narratrice vengono solo tre puntini perchè il riscaldamento le dava fatica. Le prime due ore della lettura erano semplicemente manierose e quando la signora urlava a squarciagola mi ruppero i timpani. Più tardi la Foglietta si fece comoda nel testo e la lettura divenne più accogliente.

  • La amiga estupenda [My Brilliant Friend]

  • Dos amigas, no. 1
  • By: Elena Ferrante
  • Narrated by: Mercè Montalà
  • Length: 12 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 3

Con La amiga estupenda, Elena Ferrante inaugura una tetralogia deslumbrante que tiene como telón de fondo la ciudad de Nápoles a mediados del siglo pasado y como protagonistas a Lenù y Lila, dos jóvenes mujeres que están aprendiendo a gobernar su vida en un entorno donde la astucia, antes que la inteligencia, es el ingrediente de todas las salsas. La relación a menudo tempestuosa entre Lila y Lenù viene acompañada de un coro de voces que dan cuerpo a su historia y nos muestran la realidad de un barrio pobre....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Written through clenched teeth

  • By Blind Girl on 11-07-18

Written through clenched teeth

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

Reviewed: 11-07-18

I’ve read the four volumes of ’My Brilliant Friend’ not long after their release in Italian. I remember the experience only vaguely: two ragazze from Naples, the one diligent, loveable and brave, the other, the ’brilliant one’ being greedy and wicked and overrated and depressing and full of allures: disgust at first sight. I remember the characters were painfully stereotypical, always int he middle of a quarrel and handling their problems shouting in the top of their lungs or throwing heavy domestic objects upon each others’ head. And I remember the exquisite prose, the heavenly structure and the excited pleasure of waiting for the next volume.

’My Brilliant Friend’ could be happily written by any Spanish author: the total lacking of humor, the overdose of mindless passion and exhausting pseudo-intellectual, pseudo-psychological pondering is not first hand Italian matter. The Spanish translation is simply celestial and I can taste again the joy of reading this fine fine novel quartet. I will follow Elena and Lila on their way in Spanish and non obstant the irregularities of the storytelling, I will certainly find my pleasures in this audio edition wit the hypnotic voice of Mercé Montalá.

  • El hombre que amaba a los perros

  • By: Leonardo Padura
  • Narrated by: Jorge Tito Gómez Cabrera
  • Length: 27 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Performance
    3.5 out of 5 stars 3
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3

En 2004, a la muerte de su mujer, Iván, aspirante a escritor y ahora responsable de un paupérrimo gabinete veterinario de La Habana, vuelve los ojos hacia un episodio de su vida, ocurrido en 1977, cuando conoció a un enigmático hombre que paseaba por la playa en compañía de dos hermosos galgos rusos. Tras varios encuentros, «el hombre que amaba a los perros» comenzó a hacerlo depositario de unas singulares confidencias que van centrándose en la figura del asesino de Trotski, Ramón Mercader.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Prose Drought

  • By Blind Girl on 09-07-18

Prose Drought

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

Reviewed: 09-07-18


I listened to the first 24 hours of this cleverly built, well researched, richly detailed novel. Then I gave it up. The text unravels the themes of three protagonists: Ramón Mercader as the future assassin of Leon Trotsky, the victim itself along his exile years and the narrator obsessed with both of them. The way Mr. Padura fills the historical gaps is quite remarkable, whilst we know only a few things about Mercader with certainty. Well, that’s we keep writers for. When we hear about the assassination of Trotsky, we recite the password: ice axe! Now you will learn a bit more ont he era and political motivations and human weakness.
There’s one thing why I am unable to say it is a masterpiece. The writing is so dry it hurts my ears. Nowhere a flicker of originality, a blob of humor, a tiny tiny colour ont he grey scale. And in addition to the dead prose there’s a narrator who is simply absent during the whole reading. Perhaps he was dreaming of Márquez or Llosa all the time.