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chimneyman

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-09-18

A novel take on recent history

In some respects, this story is similar to the Forrest Gump story - it's about one man's journey through the post-WW2 world.

It helps if you have a basic understanding of musical scales and intervals, but it's easy just to ignore the bits you don't understand.

It was the narrator who kept me interested - there are lots of funny bits which the narrator exploited to the full.

Overall, I don't think the story gave me much to think about but it was hugely enjoyable nevertheless.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-09-18

The life and times of astronauts laid bare

There's not much to say really - the story was totally fascinating and the writer/narrator sounds like a really good bloke.

But I wouldn't want to follow in his footsteps!

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-06-18

A bit 'specialised' but extremely interesting

I've long been 'aware' of Joseph Conrad, mostly because of my interest in our nautical past. I wasn't aware of the extent of his mission to try to issue some kind of warning about the way the world was shaping up.

This biography is written very much in the context of very recent events such as the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-06-18

An underbelly of the 'civilised' world

This is a story about people who dropped (or were thrown) back from the march of civilisation. The book's greatest strength is the way it manages to create the atmosphere of living on the skids of the Mississippi delta. This is partly the achievement of the narrator.

At first, I thought the final chapter (the epilogue) was superfluous but I now think it would have been better if I had waited until the drama of the preceding chapter had faded in my mind.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 25-05-18

A merry mix of mirth and magic

This audiobook includes jokes, philosophical and historical trivia, metropolitan street (and river) life, sex, violence, vaginal vampirism and all sorts of other things including a narrator who is obviously thoroughly enjoying himself.

The story itself is not particularly important, but it definitely works some kind of magic...

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-05-18

A long slog, but well worth it.

If this book sometimes seems a bit relentless, then that is a very good reflection of the relentlessness of Chinese communism over several decades.

The book is like a large and tightly woven tapestry and the reader expertly guides us through it with an even tone which could easily become monotonous but, for me, never did.

The book is very 'serious' and also very informative about what was. for me, an unknown world.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-05-18

A very good yarn

This is a great story about the mad adventure of the Wild West with all sorts of overtones and undertones about right versus wrong, life as a game of chance, human imagination, inventiveness and endeavour and blood being thicker than water etc etc. I loved every minute.

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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-04-18

A pointless exercise

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Different content, different narrator

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Puzzlement - why was the book deemed worthy of publication and how did it win a prize?

Any additional comments?

The writer's apparently perfect life, in which nothing bad ever seems to have happened, came crashing down when her father died. Her decision to make a record of how she tried to come to terms with her loss was entirely reasonable, but I didn't see any reason for copies of the record to be put up for sale - I made it nearly to the halfway point before deciding that the book contained no new insights at all into the process of grieving. It came over to me as an act of self-indulgence peppered with pretensions of literary and philosophical merit.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-04-18

Very scary. Not for the faint-hearted.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes - the book has a great deal to say to anyone who is prepared to listen.

Have you listened to any of Julian Rhind-Tutt’s other performances? How does this one compare?

This is the only one of Julian's narrations I have heard. He was quite superb and probably contributed almost as much as the author to the effectiveness of the project.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

I believe it is already a film, but my experience is that films based on books are rarely as good as the original book.

Any additional comments?

Listening to this book is to spend 11 hours trapped in a deranged and evil mind. I didn't find any of it funny although, of course, Hitler is such a monster that it is hard not to laugh at his madness sometimes.

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-03-18

Formulaic, but also completely original

Where does Girl Zero rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Quite high - I haven't listened to many.

What did you like best about this story?

It's location.

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

This is my first listen to Muzz Khan - from reviews I have read, I was prepared to dislike it but I think it contributed to the originality of the book's overall style.

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

The book is loaded with 'attitude' which is presented very bluntly - this made the book interesting but, for me, not particularly moving.

Any additional comments?

When Girl Zero was released on Audible, I decided to buy the paperback of the original instalment and I'm glad I did. I'm not sure if the author is planning an open-ended series or a fixed length one. I'm thinking that one more novel has the potential to complete a very satisfying trilogy but, after that, it will be hard to maintain the intensity.

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