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Avenue of Mysteries

Narrated by: Armando Duran
Length: 20 hrs and 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (41 ratings)
Regular price: £25.99
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Summary

As we grow older - most of all, in what we remember and what we dream - we live in the past. Sometimes we live more vividly in the past than in the present.

As an older man, Juan Diego will take a trip to the Philippines, but his dreams and memories will travel with him; he is most alive in his childhood and early adolescence in Mexico. 'An aura of fate had marked him,' John Irving writes. 'The chain of events, the links in our lives - what leads us where we're going, the courses we follow to our ends, what we don't see coming, and what we do - all this can be mysterious, or simply unseen, or even obvious.'

Avenue of Mysteries is the story of what happens to Juan Diego in the Philippines, where what happened to him in the past - in Mexico - collides with his future.

©2015 John Irving (P)2015 Random House AudioBooks

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  • 03-10-16

A really good listen, but not Irving's best

John Irving has written some of the best American novels of the last few decades and this is a good one, but not up there with Hotel New Hampshire, Cider House Rules, Owen Meany or Garp, for my taste at least. Shame Audible hasn't rights to some of these, which have excellent audio versions out there.

As is typical of Irving, we explore episodes of the lives of the characters rather than follow the natural flow of time - this is so skilfully done that it does not confuse or distract - and we find that the past informs the present. Irving uses this to great comic effect, but also to add pathos. The present-day journey of the main character, famous author Juan Diego on a bizarre trip to the Philippines kept me entertained, but it was the stories from his early life in abject poverty in Mexico with his extraordinary disabled sister Lupe, that I loved the best. Armando Duran does a remarkable job of voicing this, especially the tortured voice of Lupe - he manages to bring to life both the compassion and grim humour of Irving's writing. Expect to laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Avenue of Mysteries

Where does Avenue of Mysteries rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This has to be John Irving's second best Novel, second to "A Prayer for Owen Meany"

What other book might you compare Avenue of Mysteries to, and why?

A Prayer for Owen Meany

Have you listened to any of Armando Duran’s other performances? How does this one compare?

This is the first book I have listened to that was read by Armando Duran. I do like listening to Armando's voice

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

There are sad parts to the story and surprises. The book is unputdownable

Any additional comments?

I have always liked John Irving's Novels. I tend to read his opening chapters several times. John Irving does not pad his stories. Every word has a place in the story

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Didn’t want it to end

Amazing John Irving story - just rediscovering how great they are listening on audible having read many years ago. Each one keeps me enthralled and I never want them to end. The absolute perfect accompaniment to drawing in my shed or relaxing going to bed or in the bath. Heartwarming incredible joyfulness and laughter all within!

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I COULDN'T STOP LISTENING

Great characterisations from the narrator and super storytelling as usual from John Irving I thought

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Master storyteller, great story

What made the experience of listening to Avenue of Mysteries the most enjoyable?

As with all John Irving's books, it is a pleasure to read (listen to) a really well written book with a coherent story told in an engaging way. This book brought to mind similar types of novels by Haruki Murakami, also a favourite author. Although from very different cultures, I found a lot in common, namely the expertise in weaving wonderful imaginative stories. Both authors have the ability to weave reality and fantasy seamlessly into the story, leaving it to the reader to decide which is which. The performance by Armando Duran was excellent and so well suited to the story.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Avenue of Mysteries?

Leading up to the death of Lupe which was almost at the end of the story. We knew it was going to happen and it made it both difficult to listen to and impossible to stop listening.

Which character – as performed by Armando Duran – was your favourite?

Of course it was Juan Diego. Couldn't help loving him with all his imperfections.

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

It is a long and complex story. Better listened to in separate sessions. Loved coming back to it.

Any additional comments?

I had just finished listening to Murakami's "What I think about While I'm Running", one of his few non-fiction books, and discovered, to my delight, that he not only had met with John Irving but they shared a passion for running.