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R Chacko

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A delightful audio production of a lovely story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-08-19

The Travelling Cat Chronicles begins simply with the rescue of an injured stray cat, eventually named Nana. We learn about the rescuer, Satoru, from this stray as the two undertake a trip to meet some of the people Satoru holds dear. I loved the cat narrator of this book. It seems so unmistakably a cat—that sense of calm, that snark... the feline voice is wonderful. Of course, this is fiction, so some suspension of disbelief is required. And Satoru himself is someone I, for one, would have loved to have known. He seems so forgiving, so loving that he seems unreal. But this is not the story of one man or one cat, it is about the bonds we build through life and how our lives are richer for it.

There is so much love in this book that it was refreshing to read in a time when the scales seem to be tipping towards hate. I usually listen to my Audible books when I am travelling, usually on public transport, but by the time I got to the last two chapters, I had to stop. It would have been difficult to explain my tears!

This is a well-written book, seemingly well translated too, but for me the highlight was George Blagden’s narration, which was simply delightful. There is voice modulation without unnecessary gimmicks, the pace is languid without being a drag, the characters are identifiable. Simply put, it is a pleasure to hear.

A myth made new

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-04-19

The book places front and center a woman who has been pictured in mythology as a seductress waylaying innocent travelers and using her power to create monsters. But Miller’s Circe is different and therefore, isolated and abused. But she is also a woman of agency, who eventually scripts her own life and learns to live on her own terms in defiance of gods and goddesses. Miller rewrites her story almost entirely, changing even the end. And it is a story I enjoyed thoroughly. Bewildered by where her life takes her, Miller’s Circe comes into her own after she is exiled. Little by little, she learns her own power, what she can and will do, and to what she will say no. I think, it might well supplant the original myth in my mind because I like this one so much better.

A brilliant pace and some skillful writing make this tale thoroughly enjoyable. Although it troubled me that Miller does not allow for the re-imagining of many other women. Pasiphaë, Scylla, Medea, Athena, all fulfill their original mythological destiny with little to redeem them. Penelope seems like the only exception, but her rather late appearance in the book leaves little room to get to know her well. It’s also a little troubling that Daedalus is almost saintly in this tale, with no mention of the mythical tale of him killing his nephew, a young prodigy who he was worried would emerge as a rival.

The highlight of this read for me though was Perdita Weeks. This was my first Audible book, and I discovered why the listening app is so popular. The quality of the book is brilliant. Weeks’ narration is magical. Weeks seemed to have employed some witchcraft of her own to inhabit the skin of Miller’s Circe effectively and powerfully. I think, Weeks played a strong role in the imprint the book left on me.

2 people found this helpful

Thoroughly enjoyable

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-04-19

If you know your Greek myths, there is hardly anything new here. But Stephen Fry knows how to tell a tale and when you are listening to him read his own work, it's absolutely delightful! Stephen Fry can almost convince me that we did not evolve but were formed by Prometheus "from Gaia’s clay... held together by my [Zeus] royal saliva and fired by the sun" and "brought to life by the gentle breath of my daughter [Athena]". Stephen Fry also peppers the story with etymological notes that make a copy editor like me extremely happy. A lovely read that I thoroughly enjoyed!