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  • 12
  • reviews
  • 44
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  • 13
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  • The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

  • By: Jonas Jonasson
  • Narrated by: Peter Kenny
  • Length: 10 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,666
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,139
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,131

Sitting quietly in his room in an old people's home, Allan Karlsson is waiting for a party he doesn't want to begin: his one-hundredth birthday party. Escaping through his bedroom window, into the flowerbed, Allan makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several deaths, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent but very human police.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastically Odd

  • By Oliver Dayman on 29-05-13

Who says Scandinavians can't write funny????

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

Reviewed: 20-09-14

What did you like most about The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared?

A huge romp from beginning to end! Don't listen in bed with a partner sleeping or you will wake them up laughing.

What did you like best about this story?

The sheer wackiness of it - suspend disbelief and just go with it.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

All are equally bizarre but the meetings with Stalin and various US presidents take some beating.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but it is worth spinning out to enjoy it more.

Any additional comments?

Excellent narration, clear and not too dramatic so the comedy is allowed to speak for itself.

  • Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

  • By: Haruki Murakami
  • Narrated by: Michael Fenton Stevens
  • Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 433
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 394
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 394

Tsukuru Tazaki's life was irreparably changed when his relationships with his high school best friends became severed during Tsukuru's college days, with no explanation. Now at 35, Tsukuru's girlfriend Sara suggests he goes to talk to these high school friends in person to mend the relationships. Tsukuru visited his friends in Nagoya and Finland one by one, and uncovers the real reason as to why their relations were broken off.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Colorless Tsukuru is just that.....

  • By Amazon Customer on 20-09-14

Colorless Tsukuru is just that.....

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

Reviewed: 20-09-14

What did you like best about Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage? What did you like least?

Let me make it clear that I am a huge fan of Murakami. Whenever life gets me down I reread or relisten to Kafka on the Shore or 1Q84 or the Windup Bird Chronicles or.....You get the idea. But I had something of a bad feeling about this one from the start. American translation read ever so carefully by British narrator sounds awkward. But once we get into the story I'll forget that. Except that there really isn't much story to get into. No magical realism - ok I knew that from the reviews - just people talking - and talking - and talking. OK, they talk in different places and we do get a trip to Finland where the best writing happens in a scene overlooking a lake which has all the tenderness and poignancy of the best of his work. But otherwise to be honest it's the first Murakami I haven't enjoyed much. Reviews compare it to Norwegian Wood but in that we have a strong dramatic thread which is completely lacking here.

What was most disappointing about Haruki Murakami’s story?

As colourless as the title

Did Michael Fenton Stevens do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

Errm - while he reads very well I felt all the characters were as colourless as each other.

Was Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage worth the listening time?

Not really except for the Finland section

Any additional comments?

If you are new to Murakami please don't start here! Start with something like Kafka on the Shore which is a fantastic listen.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • The Sisters Brothers

  • By: Patrick deWitt
  • Narrated by: William Hope
  • Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 994
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 776
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 775

Oregon, 1851. Eli and Charlie Sisters, notorious professional killers, are on their way to California to kill a man named Hermann Kermit Warm. On the way, the brothers have a series of unsettling experiences in the landscape of Gold Rush America. And they bicker a lot. Arriving in California, and discover that Warm has invented a magical formula, which could make all of them very rich. What happens next is utterly gripping, strange and sad....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • If you like the Coen Brothers...

  • By Sara on 15-12-11

A thinking listener's Western

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-11-12

The Sisters Brothers are killers and expert with their guns. Not my normal Audible fare but other reviews made me try it and I'm delighted I did. Eli the narrator is a totally credible character - overweight, desperate for love, caring of his horses and painfully aware of what he is. Charlie his elder brother is more your typical gunfighter but even he is capable of thoughtful discussions with Eli. Their escapades on the trail of a gold prospector in California are engrossing and vivid and manage to avoid all the usual Western cliches: the gunfights are necessary evils on their way but not the main events which are far more intriguing. The pivotal scenes on a remote river will stay with me for a long time. The narrator is excellent and brings the characters to life very well. Even if you hate Westerns, this is definitely worth a listen.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • My Animals and Other Family

  • By: Clare Balding
  • Narrated by: Clare Balding
  • Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 882
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 652
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 651

Clare Balding grew up in a rather unusual household. As her father is a champion trainer, she shared her life with more than 100 thoroughbred racehorses, mares, foals, and ponies, as well as an ever-present pack of boxers and lurchers. As a toddler she would happily ride the legendary Mill Reef and take breakfast with the Queen. She and her younger brother came very low down the pecking order. Left to their own devices, they had to learn life’s toughest lessons through the animals, and through their adventures in the stables.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • fabulous

  • By sg on 16-09-12

Pleasant bedtime listening if you love horses!

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-11-12

The clue is in the title: every chapter revolves around an animal - horse or dog - that has played a significant part in Clare's early life. Yes there is some autobiography linked to these animals, but if you're hoping for an indepth analysis of what makes Clare the person she is, you will be disappointed. It is nicely written and enjoyably read by the author but probably the fact of parents and sibling still being alive has made her pull her punches although the appalling misogyny of grandmother, father and brother does come through. Her own sexuality is only slightly and coyly dealt with at the end. It was good to fall asleep to but even as a horse lover there were times when I awoke and thought 'oh no, not another canter on the gallops on another (expletive deleted) horse!'

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

  • By: Rachel Joyce
  • Narrated by: Jim Broadbent
  • Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,429
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,887
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,882

When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof, or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking - to save someone else's life.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gentle but engaging

  • By Ms on 17-06-12

An unmissable pilgrimage!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 14-10-12

I stumbled across this book and am so pleased I did. It was longlisted for the Booker and for my money should have been shortlisted. Don't be put off by the initial improbability of the plot (65-year old man decides on the spur of the moment to walk 600 miles from the south-west to Berwick on Tweed). As Harold's physical and psychological journey unfolds, he and we slowly make sense of things and learn about our own deepest motivations. It is deeply moving, funny and beautifully written and will leave you wanting to rush out and give your nearest and dearest a big hug and tell them how much you love them.



It is perfectly read by Jim Broadbent who endows all the characters with individual personalities without getting in the way of the text.



Let's all read this and get behind it - I think it should be the next Audiobook of the Year!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Kafka on the Shore

  • By: Haruki Murakami
  • Narrated by: Sean Barrett, Oliver Le Sueur
  • Length: 19 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,394
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,123
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,117

Kafka on the Shore follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters. Kafka Tamura runs away from home at 15, under the shadow of his father's dark prophesy. The aging Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A new dimension of fiction and sleep

  • By Clare on 24-07-08

Totally addictive

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-08-12

I'm not into fantasy and resisted the idea of Murukami's strange alternative worlds for a long time, but the audiobooks of his novels and especially Kafka have totally hooked me. The narration is wonderful and the characters especially Nakata are so engaging that you suspend all disbelief. Moreover, it's a great introduction to other Japanese literature - I'm now going to read some of the Japanese classics that are mentioned in Kafka - and listen to the music that is mentioned. I've now listened through three times and keep getting more out of it - and yes, it is also so soothing that it works a treat for 3 am wakefulness.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

  • By: Simon Mawer
  • Narrated by: Anna Bentinck
  • Length: 11 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 600
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 326
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 330

Marian Sutro is an outsider: the daughter of a diplomat, half French, half British, naive yet too clever for her own good. But when she is recruited from her desk job by SOE to go undercover in wartime France, it seems her hybrid status - and fluent French - will be of service to a greater, more dangerous cause. Trained in sabotage, dead-drops, how to perform under interrogation, and how to kill, Marian parachutes into southwest France with an urgent mission....

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A great thriller, but also beautifully written

  • By Jill on 10-05-12

Compulsive listening

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-06-12

The combination of Mawer's luminous writing and Anna Bentinck's perfect reading makes for a wonderful listening experience. I agree with another reviewer that the nuclear physics bit could have been shorter but that's the only bit of the whole book that didn't totally grip me. I had to stop listening at night during the last section as I knew I wouldn't sleep with so much tension racheting up. And after the ending you will be left asking yourself a lot of questions about the value of these wartime operations set against the personal cost to those involved.

  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

  • By: Deborah Moggach
  • Narrated by: Nina Wadia
  • Length: 9 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 604
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 366
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 368

When Ravi Kapoor, an overworked London doctor, is driven beyond endurance by his disgusting and difficult father-in-law, he asks his wife: "Can't we just send him away somewhere? Somewhere far, far away." His prayer seems to have been answered when his entrepreneurial cousin, Sonny, sets up a retirement home, recreating a lost corner of England in a converted guesthouse in Bangalore.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Dunroamin!

  • By Susan on 10-04-12

Good but not great

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-05-12

Haven't seen the film so was looking forward to this. It's enjoyable, but sadly Nina Wadia's reading doesn't quite work for me. A novel which centres around culture clashes between English and Indian lifestyles screams for two narrators, English and Indian, to reflect that. Ms Wadia narrates in impeccable English, of course, but it's just too impeccable to give a real sense of the motley British crew who end up in Bangalore. Her Indian characters, of course, work brilliantly. I think I'll have to go to the written text to get a real sense of the novel without fighting against the narration.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • How It All Began

  • A Novel
  • By: Penelope Lively
  • Narrated by: Anna Bentinck
  • Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 96
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 67
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 67

When Charlotte is mugged and breaks her hip, her daughter, Rose, cannot accompany her employer, Lord Peters, to Manchester, which means his niece, Marion, has to go instead, which means she sends a text to her lover which is intercepted by his wife, which is…just the beginning of the ensuing chain of life-altering events.

In this engaging, utterly absorbing and brilliantly told novel, Penelope Lively shows us how one random event can change the courses of many lives.

  • 2 out of 5 stars
  • It didn't work for me

  • By RJ on 17-06-12

A delightful and insightful listen

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-05-12

Every woman will relate to the characters Penelope Lively draws so sympathetically in this beautifully written novel. Charlotte, in her 70s, is knocked down by a mugger and has to adjust to a sudden loss of independence. Her daughter Rose, middle-aged, falls in love. Stella has to deal with her errant husband, and Marion with the challenges of running a business as the recession bites. All their lives, and those of the men in them, change as a result of that casual mugging. The author understands so well what makes them all tick, and writes with delicacy and humour. It would be a great read but is an even greater listen because of Anna Bentinck's perfectly nuanced reading. All the characters come alive and she respects every word of the text. I have listened to it twice and found it as enjoyable the second time around. Now off to get every other Penelope Lively and anything else read by Anna Benctinck!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society cover art
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

  • By: Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
  • Narrated by: Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerden, Rosalyn Landor, and others
  • Length: 8 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 763
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 632
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 631

It's 1946 and author Juliet Ashton can't think of what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey - by chance, he's acquired a book that once belonged to her - and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A thoroughly enjoyable listen.

  • By Amazon Customer on 21-06-09

Brilliant readers make this an enjoyable listen

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 28-07-11

A novel told through letters always runs the risk of keeping the reader at one remove from the experiences it depicts. Thanks in no small measure to the wonderful cast - the characters really shine through the voices - I felt close to the characters and felt I experienced Guernsey through their letters. It's an easy listen and will keep you gripped. However, the wartime experiences narrated are very painful and, because they all come together in the mid-section of the book, make it a bit unbalanced - a sandwich with two light slices trying to hold together a very heavy filling. Had the author not died before completion I suspect a good editor would have helped her tackle this. But do listen - you'll enjoy it and learn a lot in the process.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful