I read this with two of my GR friends. We all gave up before finishing it. We all dumped it. One of us read over 400 pages and even at that point deciI read this with two of my GR friends. We all gave up before finishing it. We all dumped it. One of us read over 400 pages and even at that point decided it had to be heaved! I read 7 chapters and the other friend read 6 chapters. I think this gives a clear message as to the value of this book.
We have discussed the book in the comments below. Let me make a quick summary. The writing and the events that the author lines up are extremely crude, salacious and incredible. Incredible in two ways: 1. The details are not historically accurate. (view spoiler)[ The existence of palatial residences in the Carolinas is just one example. (hide spoiler)] 2. The characters, given their past life experiences, would not behave as they do. (Details are specified in the comments below.)
I feel obligated to give examples so you believe me. (view spoiler)[ There is sex with a horse. There is a woman sucking a thorny cock of a monster. Is that enough? (hide spoiler)] The language is crude, and I am not prissy, but there are limits to my tolerance. It is acceptable to put uncouth characters acting in a disgusting manner in a novel, but I do not appreciate writing where the author wants us to revel in such depravity.
The narration of the audiobook by Eduardo Ballerini is slow. Actually its speed is glacial.
This is the first of a series. I will not be reading any book written by this author. He originally wrote horror books. Perhaps one's writing style is hard to change!
I think lots of people would like this book/audiobobok. Both the murder itself and what the tabloids did with this story are the two main themes. TheI think lots of people would like this book/audiobobok. Both the murder itself and what the tabloids did with this story are the two main themes. The book is non-fiction but reads as a novel. However, this is a double-edged sword. The press turned the murder/crime/trial events into pure sensationalism. The author too writes of the events in a sensational style, to capture the mood, the time, the way it was! That is good, BUT at the same time I found myself asking if the facts were being delivered in a straightforward, objective manner. No they were not. And if this is to be called non-fiction then you cannot add subjective interpretations into the story-telling. Yet, the story was fun because of the very way it was told. At the same time, the story is thoroughly told. You leave the book with a very clear understanding of what actually happened, of the trial and of the media at the turn of the 20th century in NYC. Equally interesting and well covered are the later events in the main protagonists' lives. It is books like this that will make people realize that non-fiction need never be dry.
The narration by William Dufris captured perfectly the sensational tone of both the criminal events and the press....more
Well, it is utterly amazing that I have read a crime novel and enjoyed it. I usually get lost and understand nothing. I enjoyed this and understood whWell, it is utterly amazing that I have read a crime novel and enjoyed it. I usually get lost and understand nothing. I enjoyed this and understood what was going on from start to finish. So, if I can give it three stars, that probably means other people will give it more. I do recommend it.
I will not write a plot synopsis. There are so many of them. What I enjoyed was the underlying message. It makes a point that goes beyond the plot twists and turns. Did I learn anything about the atmosphere of life in the Ukraine at the end of Stalin’s reign? Not much, but it was a fun, exciting ride in an era that is skillfully depicted. You do feel the fear and terror of the times. That is well done.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much humor. I assume this has or will be made into a film. It is melodramatic but I believe that this was overly stressed by the audiobook’s narrator. His intonations emphasized danger beyond what was necessary. I believe reading the book would have been better than listening to it. Hey, I am nevertheless very happy it was available in the audio format.
Susan and I were discussing this book. This is how I explained my three stars to her:
I got up at 4 this morning to write the review which I was thinkiSusan and I were discussing this book. This is how I explained my three stars to her:
I got up at 4 this morning to write the review which I was thinking about as I lay in bed........then I ended up doing other stuff. I am so terribly busy at the moment.
The book does an excellent job of depicting how Indians and the British looked at each other at the time of Partition. Nevertheless, from the very beginning you know pretty much who did what and even why. The book discusses the same events over and over again showing how the different characters saw these same events. It is interesting to see how the views diverge, however it IS repetitive.
I would have liked to have felt some empathy for at least a few of the characters. Although accurately rendered, the words of the British military figures really exasperated me. British mannerisms have a tendency to annoy me. So even if the story accurately portrays the characters I did not enjoy it.
The audiobook narration was stupendous. Sam Dastor was able to sound like a woman , a man, a British person or an Indian. I checked several times b/c I could not believe there was just one narrator.
I am not one to love a mystery and I am not one who loves British mannerisms. You get a lot of both in this book. Good book, but not a good fit for ME.
What the book does best is perfectly describe how the Indians and British viewed each other, the feelings that prevailed in the 30s and 40s when Partition occurred. You actually get very little history, but you do get the atmosphere of the times.
The above explains why I gave the book three stars. I liked it but not more. That isn't to say it isn't a very well written book.
Oh yeah, as you are told right smack in the beginning, this is a book about a rape. The question that is discussed over and over is who did it, who was accused and why each character behaved as they did. ...more
Don't look at my star rating to judge this book. I am not your typical mystery reader. Yup, it is amusing. Yup, all the parts weave together perfectlyDon't look at my star rating to judge this book. I am not your typical mystery reader. Yup, it is amusing. Yup, all the parts weave together perfectly. It is very different from the musical, which I totally loved. I was pulled in and moved by the musical, not by this. This had parts that were quite funny, completely absent from the musical. Still, I was glad when it ended. Yeah, it deserves three stars, but not from me.
P.S. More discussion in the comments below....more
What I want to add here is that the author's words used to describe the English medieval world are beautiful and perfect. I didn't stress this adequately in my review of the previous book.
Taste these lines about the countryside filled with -
"richly wooded countryside" and "lush meadows" and "heads of trees" nodding before her or here "He had eyes like pebbles under a sun-lit brook, as hard and dear and as fluid and elusive in their glance..." (from chapters four and five)
"Plentiful timber of all kinds too for the wheelwright's stock. Elm essential for the stock. Oak to provide the cleft heartwood for the spokes with the grain unbroken and springy, subtle ash to make the curved fallows of the rim wood." (Chapter 8)
And when the action gets into full swing, there is ..."the blade flashing in the torchlight!" (Chapter 10)
I like how every element of the story is neatly tied up. I like how the events build to a crescendo, and then when you think you have reached the climax there is even more to the story! The murders pile up! I like how the women have strength, and when they get mad they really speak their mind. Agnes proclaims: "But you have not reckoned with me!" No characters added to the story are superfluous; each one has a specific role to play.
But what I loved best was the story, the mystery itself. I loved how it was solved. I loved every bit of it, how it all held together, and how I kept guessing to the very end. With the final words, I understood every single event! All the parts held together perfectly. This is a piece of perfect storytelling, from start to finish. And oh yes, you also learn about how leprosy was viewed back then in the medieval ages. This one gets five stars from me.
The narration by Johanna Ward was spot-on! Just perfect! No distracting background noise this time!
I have already read this, and I DO love Dostoyevsky's writing so I figured I would try this as an audiobook, since it was free at Downpour. Will I givI have already read this, and I DO love Dostoyevsky's writing so I figured I would try this as an audiobook, since it was free at Downpour. Will I give it four stars as I did before?
NO, this time it gets five!!!
Where to start? With the easy stuff. The narration by by Anthony Heald was superb. Some characters cough, some characters have a special evil laugh. Attention was taken to deliver a stupendous performance. I felt I was at a theater. This is a case where the narration is the icing on a delicious cake, an interesting cake that intrigues and is delicious! A narrator can influence how we, the listeners, interpret the personalities of characters and the importance of events. I felt that the written words perfectly matched the narrator's inflections. Some characters are at times very irritating, The narration drove this home perfectly. THEN there is a switch in tone and you begin to see how intelligent that creep really is. I am speaking of the investigating lawyer. Wow, as the story unfolds this character and others come alive. They have depth. Not one person is simple. People are complicated, and my praise for this book focuses primarily on how Dostoyevsky draws his characters. It takes a while to know them, just as it does with real people. People are complicated and Dostoyevsky's characters are all complicated, and so they become real people. If you are a cool, collected and self-assured person not interested in analyzing human behavior, you might differ with my judgment and say the characters are ridiculously emotional, crazy, neurotic. I say they are real people! His characters reflect the behavior of you and I. That is what I say.
When you listen you see where people live, and it is not a pretty picture. You know that painting by Chagall of a twisted bed up in the garret? That is what is delivered, but with words. Life in St. Petersburg in the 1860s, when this novel first came out (1866). Dostoyevsky writes about what he knows.
You also clearly see that this novel was written as a monthly installment for a magazine. Each month's installment grabs your interest, keeps you hanging and at the end you simply are compelled to read the next installment. What will happen? Dostoyevsky delivers not only character analysis but also a page turner. Somebody gets killed. Someone is murdered. Drownings. Parties. Marriages. People run over. A lot happens, and this is not what usually attracts me to a book, but I loved it! I wish contemporary writers could write page-turners as exciting as this.
Dostoyevsky even presents religion in a manner I can swallow. You get a page-turner. You get character analysis, and you get psychological and philosophical knots to untwist. When you commit a crime, how is punishment delivered?...more
This was fun, terribly fun. How can a book about the Ripper killings be fun? It is fun because the murderer is c aught, by none other than Sherlock HoThis was fun, terribly fun. How can a book about the Ripper killings be fun? It is fun because the murderer is c aught, by none other than Sherlock Holmes! The feeling of London in 1888 is accurately described. I am absolutely no expert of either Sir Conan Doyle or the Ripper killings, but having listened to this book I feel I am well acquainted with both now.
If you are worried that the story could be too gory, don’t worry. It isn’t. The delight you get from this book is how Sherlock Holmes solves the crime. You will love meeting him. He is so clever. And don’t forget Watson, who writes it all out for us. You come to know him too. Two marvelous people brought to us from the distant past. You will love them for their skill and for their words. They will have you smiling as you listen to their thoughts and speeches and explanations. Me, I need to laugh when I am reading about a terrible event.
Simon Vance’s narration is impeccable. The narration could in absolutely no way be improved. If you listen to the book with your eyes closed you will feel that you are in London, the date is 1888 and Watson, Sherlock Holmes and the other characters are speaking to you.
This book is pure FUN! I have heard that The Gods of Gotham by this author is even better. Really? I will have to find out. This is a complete new genre for me. I never thought I would enjoy solving a mystery! Do I like it so because it has an historical setting? Do I like it so because the Ripper killings did happen? I don’t know. I just know I truly enjoyed every minute spent listening. ...more
IF you love cozy mysteries, read this. It is extremely cute. You will love it.
I have realized that I should stop trying to like what so many others lIF you love cozy mysteries, read this. It is extremely cute. You will love it.
I have realized that I should stop trying to like what so many others like and just accept who I am. My two star rating ONLY reflects my personal reaction and is in no way a criticism of the book. The book is very, very good for those who want a cozy mystery with fun characters, a bit of erudition and some love thrown in too....more