The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Audiobook Review

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, narrated by Robertson Dean
Published in audio by Tantor Audio

Synopsis:

From the Scribner paperback edition:

The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

Thoughts on the story:

Dude, it is Gatsby, y’all. One of my favorites.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Robertson Dean was the first ever narrator that I just absolutely loved when he provided the voice for Ethan Canin’s America America. Somehow, though, I haven’t listened to a single other audio he has narrated in the intervening 3 years since I developed my audio crush on him. When I saw that he had narrated one of my favorite classics, The Great Gatsby, I jumped to listen. Robertson Dean is just as wonderful as I remember, he has a wonderful and sonorous voice and great delivery. That being said, by the end of the book I found him a slightly ill-fitting choice, primarily because the book is told from Nick’s point-of-view and Dean simply sounds a bit too mature for this young Midwestern man. Despite this slight disconnect, though, this is still a strong production that is well-narrated, although perhaps not perfectly cast.

Overall:

I love The Great Gatsby and I love Robertson Dean, but they didn’t quite mesh as well as I had hoped. Still, this was an enjoyable listen.

Buy this book from:
Powells: Audio*
Indiebound: Audio*

I’m launching a brand-new meme every Friday! I encourage you to review any audiobooks you review on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye – Book Review

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye
Published by Amy Einhorn/Putnam Books, an imprint of Penguin

Police reports are meant to read “X killed by Y by means of Z.” But facts without motives, without the story, are just road signs with all the letters worn off. Meaningless as blank tombstones.
-Page 1

In 1845, New York is already full of Irish immigrants;. the Catholicism of most of the Irish did not sit well with the majority Protestant New Yorkers, so when the Great Potato Famine hits and an influx of immigrants promises to pour into the city, tensions rise to an all time high. On the surface, this would seem to be a good time for the city to add a police force, but such a move is not without controversy itself. New York’s new police force is very much a part of the Democratic machine, which in turn relies on votes from the Irish, making many in the city – not least the powerful thugs and criminals – its natural enemies.

Although Timothy Wilde wants nothing to do with the Democratic party, he finds himself appointed to the police force by his older brother after a terrible fire takes both his home and his place of work. Although being a copper star doesn’t really appeal to Tim, it seems that he is in the right profession when he literally stumbles across a case involving a murdered little Irish boy, a case Tim is determined to solve.

Faye excels at bringing history, mystery, and phenomenal writing together. She did so in her first novel, Dust and Shadow, and she has done so again with The Gods of Gotham. In Gods of Gotham the reader is fully immersed in mid-19th century New York, with racial, cultural, and political conflicts. Particularly good at setting the scene is Faye’s masterful use of flash in the vocabulary of her characters. In order not to confuse her readers, Faye includes a dictionary of selected flash terms at the beginning of the book, as well as weaving explanations into the context of the story. It is impressive how she manages to do this without it seeming as if she is explaining what is being said on each and every page, but while still remaining true to her characters. As far as the mystery, Faye provides enough clues that a reader can begin to guess who might be involved and perhaps even why, but not so many that there are no surprises left during the climax. As for Faye’s writing, her prose is beautiful and evocative, without getting in the way of the fascinating story she has to tell.

Mystery, history, and prose, The Gods of Gotham has everything. Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher, for BOOK CLUB.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan – Book Review

31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan

When Dr. Harvey Burdell is discovered brutally murdered one morning at 31 Bond Street, his boarder and household manager, Emma Cunningham is immediately suspected. When a secret marriage certificate is found dating to two weeks before the murder, her fate seems to be sealed, until she manages to hire Henry Clinton as her lawyer. Alternating between the months leading up to the murder and the time after the murder leading up to the trial, “31 Bond Street” is grabbed my attention from the beginning and didn’t let go.

If you know my reading well, you know that I am often less than enamored with historical fiction set in the United States. There are a fair number of exceptions, but as a rule it doesn’t interest me – which is odd, because I have always loved American history. Happily, “31 Bond Street” was precisely one of those exceptions.

I was drawn to every aspect of “31 Bond Street.” First of all, real life murder mystery! It is a bit gruesome if you are squeamish about that sort of thing, but the details aren’t too pervasive, so you could probably sort of gloss over them. I loved the way that Horan drew the setting, I truly got the feel of mid-19th century New York. Then there was the way that the characters and their stories were unraveled: slow enough to keep me in suspense, fast enough that I didn’t get bored or annoyed.

I also thought the story and structure were fabulous. Horan did a wonderful job interweaving the historical facts as they are known with her own conjecture and conclusions. It kept the story moving and allowed for some sort of resolution to the mystery, instead of being left with the questions in the historical record. This is the kind of thing that breathes life into a story, and it was done perfectly. So too the decision to alternate between the time before and the time after the murder. Each storyline was told chronologically, and they both ultimately were leading to the same conclusion reached at different times, which lent a nice sense of balance to the story, while constantly building suspense.

Really, the only thing that disappointed me about this book is that it is Horan’s first, so I couldn’t pop out and grab another one to read. Even so, it was the kind of book that left me so high on the experience of reading it that I just wanted to keep reading anything I could get my hands on, even if it was completely different.

Buy this book from:
Powells.*
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound
.*
Amazon
.*

This review was done with a book received from the author.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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