I think it's embarrassing that I only heard of it this year. I think we are fortunate that this writer took on this task. I think we need children's andI think it's embarrassing that I only heard of it this year. I think we are fortunate that this writer took on this task. I think we need children's and YA books about this gaping hole in American History...
I haven't finished the hard copy, and will post after I finish the recorded version : like the story of Henrietta Lax, this is an ideal book for listening....more
More than with most, it is impossible to separate this book from its narration, which is brilliant, and so this review is an appreciation of just thatMore than with most, it is impossible to separate this book from its narration, which is brilliant, and so this review is an appreciation of just that. For the record, I like LeHane a lot- his prose alone is stylized , insightful, and entertaining enough to keep me listening, and then, ya know, he tells compelling stories.
So - what I heard. Jonathan Davis delivers the entire first person narrative in a natural, unaffected working class Boston accent, except for dialog from other voices than private investigator Patrick's, which are also flawless. The only limitation, which is a very small one, is when the writer's sense of character is limited - so minor teenage girls come off as cartoons, but that's how LeHane wrote them. Otherwise, his classic noir style is a composition of rhythmic and illuminating similes, and Davis lets us appreciate every note and flourish.
Something that every recorded books listener becomes familiar with is how readers handle voices of their own opposite sex. Female readers are often better at this, only because so many male readers use a raised pitch and/or nasality to distinguish female characters. Not that that approach is necessarily bad: with a good male narrator, I rarely find it distracting after a minute or so. Davis does neither of these things, tho. The female voices are distinguished by inflection, tone, more "air," and/or nasality specific to an individual woman, not all of them. Personally I think this lets the text shine, and frees the narrator to express more nuanced emotion. This is particularly evident in conversations between Patrick and his wife.
As with most mysteries & criminal procedurals, I would not have ever read LeHane if not for recordings. As it is, I seek him out, and this one is a bruised, defiant, jewel....more
Every time I read something by Doctorow, often years after its publication, I am startled and delighted once again to just be in the company of such pEvery time I read something by Doctorow, often years after its publication, I am startled and delighted once again to just be in the company of such prose. The older I get, the less story sometimes means to me - and this novel is like that. The nature of his observations, the range of voices in which he sets them - my pleasure in these things doesn't depend on what comes next or knowing what happens to each character. Does that mean I am less invested, identify less with the characters? Possibly, probably even. A paragraph from Welcome to Hard Times has stayed with me for over thirty years because it said what I could not about something I needed words for in order to bear it - and even then it was the language of an observer not broken by the truth. Now I am becoming that kind of person, or rather a person functioning with broken parts - I am rarely surprised, and finally finally empathic to a degree I wish I had been earlier.
Wandering again - that's what I do here. I LISTEN to almost all books I take in these days - that has been true for years. One exception was actually Doctorow's novel about the two brothers living in a NYC mansion. The cast of characters was so small and the observations so delicate that the balance between caring for characters, for story, was balanced with my appreciation of language.
Back to listening: The March is narrated by Joe Morton. This is the buried lead of my experience of the book : he is a brilliant narrator, and not every actor is. This is not the greatest book I have ever heard, but it is absolutely one of the best narrations. The pace and weight of the entire March is in his voice even as it twirls, bends, struts, and worries with its large cast of players.
Perhaps that dovetails perfectly with my sense of simply relishing the telling - and admiring the teller - of this story. I'm on disc 7 out of 10. What if Joe was a guy telling me this story face to face and something interrupted us & I never heard any more? That would be all I had - that experience would be the equal of anything I learned....more
I too attempted the book years ago, on CD, and failed. This year I picked it up again and am IN. I would never have borne this on the page, and SimonI too attempted the book years ago, on CD, and failed. This year I picked it up again and am IN. I would never have borne this on the page, and Simon Prebble has made all the difference. Every persona is distinct, every ironic note of the omniscient narrator as well turned-out as the best Austen readers, etc. That it is highly listenable does not make any more of the characters any more likeable - Norell is as unappealing as any dull and petty genius completely lacking in charm must be. The most positive feeling I've mustered so far is sympathy for Mrs Pole and the beautiful black servant.
What listening to it *does* give - to me at least - is a faint and consistent air of suspense. And of course I may well be disappointed - I am only at the Tarot card readings by the charlatan.
The reading itself is compensation enough regardless. Much of the craft here, as noted by many, is the shape and tone of a particular kind of novel from a particular sensibility, and a *performance* of the work brings all that to the foreground of the experience.
NOTE to others frustrated/impatient/disappointed non-completers: Clarke's book of short stories that I read long ago when I first gave up on this novel are *exquisite.* The same delicious vocabulary, dark whimsy & slight emotional remove - telling swifter tales, and some more tender....more
This is as good as a recorded book gets - i only wish i could choose more titles for Mark Bramhall to read. The book is wonderful - a fresh feel fromThis is as good as a recorded book gets - i only wish i could choose more titles for Mark Bramhall to read. The book is wonderful - a fresh feel from this author - but it is impossible for me to tease the text away from the effortlessly brilliant dance through accents, emotions and attitudes Bramhall brings to the surface. He takes Doria Russell's stylized language - think Deadwood without the swearing and grandiosity - and creates an atmosphere that is almost cinematic...more
I'm thinning my books but i'm gonna order 3 more of this cause i need to give it to a (high school) second cousin i hardly know & prolly a coupleI'm thinning my books but i'm gonna order 3 more of this cause i need to give it to a (high school) second cousin i hardly know & prolly a couple others. It was published in 1983, so even tho the notion of suppression sounds dated -this is a history of suppression: it's mechanics and it's enduring legacy. Time-specific and timeless.
The easiest example may be Charlotte Bronte, because we have all read Jane Eyre, who is welcome in many academic settings. The percentage of Jane Eyre readers who have also read - or even heard of - CB's other books is tiny. That is successful suppression. It's not just writers who are kept systematically out of reach, but the less ladylike observances of those we think we know.
The book is a guidebook to the nature of suppression in general. Many of the attitudes apply to the suppression of other "colonial" populations. When it comes to facing the true nature, cost, and consequences of oppression, any door will do. This one is satiric, bright, and timeless....more