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I must admit, I hated Neil at the time for calling time on Rush , who decreed it's All or not at all..
This book brought the necessary closure, explaining why retirement was necessary, and for that I thank him.
The closing line of "The Garden" has backed up my understanding of its message, Neil Peart had planned this at the time of writing "Clockwork Angels" , the message was there, cryptic but as clear as day.
Thank you for the memories, and the lifetime I have been one of Rush's adoring fans.
Excellent narration, could easily have been Neil Peart, maybe we will find out in a couple of years.
As a drummer myself, I am well aware of Neil Peart’s status as one of the most talented players around, respected by both fans and peers around the world. So you can imagine my reaction when I saw the cover of this title; A lonely desert road stretching to the horizon, a powerful motorbike and a drummer on his way to play a gig with one of the most successful and loudest rock bands around. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, quite a lot, actually. I am aware that my illusion that this book would be all “rock ‘n roll and lock up your daughters” was mine and mine alone, and bearing in mind the members of his band Rush are all well established family men, there was always a chance that this may not be the walk on the wild side I was anticipating. But all the same, he doesn’t actually get on the bike until Chapter 9! The first 8 chapters are used up with background information and meandering observations on the environment in general and the author’s in particular, with long sections talking of the little island he owns in a lake in Quebec, and how enjoys the peace and solitude there. That’s all fine and dandy, but I personally have a taste for some road stories.
Finally, at Chapter 10 they saddle up, and the whole book shifts to, for me, a more engaging and entertaining gear.
Neil has a real taste for going off the beaten track, and during his long trip planning sessions he does extensive research to ensure he and his biking buddies get the most from each leg of their cross-country rides. And it’s fair to say that when Neil does go off the paved highway he doesn’t do so by halves. Winding gravel roads give way to deeply rutted muddy tracks and, in one case, no actual road at all when a sink-hole removes the actual pavement of the road and Neil and his biking wingman on that day have to edge their bikes gently around a very precarious drop. The fact that this hazard was marked by a large road sign some miles earlier which Neil chose to ignore just adds to the occasion.
Interspersed with tales of adventures and obstacles on the road, Neil also shares his observations on the vast land known as the USA; the farms, the small towns, abandoned factories and welcome diners along the way. As a Canadian who only recently took American citizenship he has an interesting view of the people and events that impact the country during his ride, and is repeatedly surprised and yet touched by the simple kindness of strangers. On one occasion he discovers that one of his saddlebags has fallen off the bike, containing a very expensive watch, his wedding ring and other personal items. He places an ad in the local paper and receives a voice message from a person saying they found it. Unfortunately, Neil then accidently erases the message and the caller never calls again. Almost ten years later, with the event all but forgotten, he receives a message from a person who heard him tell the tell as part of a book launch, and they’ve still got the saddlebag, its contents intact, and soon they are returned at last to their very grateful owner.
There are a couple of places where I laughed out loud as Neil recounts, with not a little self-deprecation, tales of his well-known reputation as not exactly being ‘Mr Sunshine’. This disposition has not mellowed as he entered his 60s, and his consequent run-ins with photographers, selfie-hunting fans and local law enforcement in the deepest heart of the country are brilliantly told and highly entertaining.
Narration by Paul Hecht is engaging throughout, his rich delivery putting you right on the saddle of the bike with Neil.
Once again, great book by Neil Peart, even though these stories are on his personal website it still makes an interesting read/listen. It really telling on why he doesn't want to tour anymore and not in a snobby way... Though that's where my issues with this audiobook lie.
Previously, Neil's book were read by Brian Sutherland who has a slightly higher pitched version of Neil's voice, but Brian's voice is still sombre and invites you in on the journey and he doesn't seem to force an attitude to the reader.
Now with this audiobook there is a different narrator. He still has an inviting tone, but it unintentionally feels pompous and snobby. I don't think it has to do with the narrator, but more so the narrator and Peart's words, he uses alot of "big words" and has certain observations that, in tandem with the narrators voice, bring out those snobby and pretentious undertones, which in turn gave me a less than enjoyable listening experience.
I must repeat, it's not the book or the narrator alone, it's them in tandem.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Every Rush fan should read this. He explains why he retired decisively. However, he does leave room for his mind changing. If this is the end, it's acceptable on all fronts. But, in my opinion, we'll get one more album and show.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful