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Detritus

  • 6
  • reviews
  • 7
  • helpful votes
  • 20
  • ratings
  • The Signature of All Things

  • By: Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 21 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 282
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 266
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 266

Elizabeth Gilbert’s first novel in twelve years is an extraordinary story of botany, exploration and desire, spanning across much of the 19th century. This audiobook follows the fortunes of the brilliant Alma Whittaker (daughter of a bold and charismatic botanical explorer) as she comes into her own within the world of plants and science. As Alma’s careful studies of moss take her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, the man she loves draws her in the opposite direction into the realm of the spiritual, the divine and the magical.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Fascinating

  • By Suzanna on 12-02-15

Ambitious Story.

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

Reviewed: 13-03-18

What made the experience of listening to The Signature of All Things the most enjoyable?

Juliet Stevenson's vocal performance, as ever, is impeccable. She really brings the narrative and the characters to life.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This is an ambitious work about a self-taught woman who is a botanist, a great rational thinker (for the most part) and scientist. The story covers the totality of her life, her thoughts, her career, and her existence at a time when being an independent woman was normally not possible, or acceptable, to society of the time. Ultimately the story is a little sad, but thoroughly enjoyable.

  • Our Man in Havana

  • By: Graham Greene
  • Narrated by: Jeremy Northam
  • Length: 7 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 843
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 737
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 733

In a legendary novel that appears to predict the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, Graham Greene introduces James Wormold, a vacuum cleaner salesman whose life in transformed when he is asked to join the British Secret Service. He agrees, and finds himself with no information to offer, so begins to invent sources and agencies which do not exist, but which appear very real to his superiors.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Shame about the music

  • By DD Kaplan on 27-07-10

Good story, well-performed. But dreadful music.

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

Reviewed: 13-03-18

Would you listen to Our Man in Havana again? Why?

It's difficult to fault Graham Greene's story and it's performance by Jeremy Northam, which I thoroughly enjoyed. However, at regular intervals: at chapter ends; at breaks in a chapter; changes of country location, incidental music has been added. It quickly becomes quite irritating and, certainly for me, spoils the flow of the narrative. It's also the same piece of music again and again to depict Cuba and another piece for the UK, it's awful.

  • Barkskins

  • By: Annie Proulx
  • Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
  • Length: 25 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 174
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 167
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 168

From Annie Proulx, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain, comes her masterpiece, 10 years in the writing - an epic, dazzling, violent, magnificently dramatic novel about taming the wilderness and destroying the forest, set over three centuries. In the late 17th century, two illiterate woodsmen, Rene Sel and Charles Duquet, make their way from Northern France to New France to seek a living.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Very detailed story, but couldn't finish

  • By Scotch-writer on 24-12-16

Ambitious story, but not for one book.

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

Reviewed: 12-07-17

What did you like best about Barkskins? What did you like least?

This story covers a period of about four hundred years, starting in the 16th century and finishing pretty much in the present day. It starts with two men arriving in North America as indentured workers for the same man. It follows both these men and their many descendents during the following centuries. In a way it is a story of slow and inevitable decline on the one hand and the naked exploitation of what is considered to be the infinite resources of the environment to build a business empire on the other.

In essence one set of descendents become rich and the other essentially become increasingly impoverished and excluded. There is a strong and compelling ecological narrative throughout the story which rings through to this very day.

The problem for me is that there are so many characters and so many relations that keeping track of, and staying interested in, two family dynasties is difficult. When introduced to a new member of one of the family dynasties you may be seeing them as young initially and then you may not see them again until there are in their final years. Their lives described in between of apparently little significance or interest. That makes it difficult for a reader to engage with the characters.

This is a story that could easily have been expanded out to two or three books. The jumping around from character to character and in time make for difficult reading and it also makes it difficult to really care about and be absorbed by the characters. I also felt a little that by the end of the book it was getting more difficult to create distinct characters and their part of the overall story became increasingly like not much more than vignettes of peoples lives.

There is no doubt about it, this a book with enormous ambition, but unfortunately it's not for me.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • David Copperfield [Audible]

  • By: Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Richard Armitage
  • Length: 36 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 575
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 546
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 539

Between his work on the 2014 Audible Audiobook of the Year, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel, and his performance of Classic Love Poems, narrator Richard Armitage ( The Hobbit, Hannibal) has quickly become a listener favorite. Now, in this defining performance of Charles Dickens' classic David Copperfield, Armitage lends his unique voice and interpretation, truly inhabiting each character and bringing real energy to the life of one of Dickens' most famous characters.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brought me back to Dickens

  • By JD on 21-02-16

Wonderful story and wonderfully narrated.

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

Reviewed: 12-07-17

Would you consider the audio edition of David Copperfield [Audible] to be better than the print version?

So many of Charles Dickens' books are so well known simply by their titles that I often feel that I've already the books. Much so with David Copperfield, being one of Dickens very known books, I had never read it before and didn't know anything about the story. What can I say about the story? Well, it's Charles Dickens isn't it? And it is the work of a master at the top of his writing powers.

Wonderful book full of 'characters' and their narratives that intertwine around David Copperfield. Dickens picks up story threads, adds them to the plot, then lets them go only to pick them up again later. No character, however seemingly small their role is, is forgotten; they all have their part to play throughout the story.

Richard Armitage's narration is exemplary. He has produced distinct voices for all the characters which brings Dickens' narrative fully to life, I can't fault it at all.

Although the story is very long, it is so richly told by Dickens and by Richard Armitage I could have listened for hours more.

This is story telling at its best.

  • The Passage

  • By: Justin Cronin
  • Narrated by: Scott Brick, Adenrele Ojo, Abby Craden
  • Length: 36 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,257
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,476
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,473

Amy Harper Bellafonte is six years old, and her mother thinks she's the most important person in the whole world. She is.... Anthony Carter doesn't think he could ever be in a worse place than Death Row.... He's wrong. FBI agent Brad Wolgast thinks something beyond imagination is coming.... It is.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • long and absorbing

  • By Tom on 20-07-10

Absorbing story. Very enjoyable.

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

Reviewed: 26-07-16

This is a story which starts quite slowly - even the narration seems a little slow to start with. But the story draws you in and it becomes increasingly absorbing. The change in the chronology is a necessary part of the narrative. You might be tempted to give up here, but if stay with it, you will find the book pays you back. Really enjoyed it.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Goldfinch

  • By: Donna Tartt
  • Narrated by: David Pittu
  • Length: 32 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,584
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,312
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,325

Aged 13, Theo Decker, son of a devoted mother and a reckless, largely absent father, survives an accident that otherwise tears his life apart. Alone and rudderless in New York, he is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. He is tormented by an unbearable longing for his mother, and down the years clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, strangely captivating painting that ultimately draws him into the criminal underworld.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Narrator Hand Picked By Tartt- Outstanding!

  • By Tara Mcgrath on 02-12-13

Extremely slow and laborious story telling

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

Reviewed: 27-06-16

Would you try another book written by Donna Tartt or narrated by David Pittu?

No.

What was most disappointing about Donna Tartt’s story?

Whilst the story itself is not uninteresting, all the events unfold so slowly and with such lengthy narrative that I found myself continually saying from frustration: "Get on with it!" In the end I found I had little sympathy, or indeed any patience for Theo, the main character. I don't mind a long story, but what felt like the endless narrative took away from the plot and by about half way through it wasn't difficult to determine where the plot was leading.

Would you listen to another book narrated by David Pittu?

Maybe.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The secondary characters and their stories are well created and interesting. Unfortunately they weren't enough though.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful