#AtoZChallenge 2019 #Audiobooks ‘F’ is for Ken Follett @KMFollett @Audible ‘The Century Trilogy’

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

I’m thrilled to continue my AtoZ Blogging challenge with one of my favourite authors, the masterful writer of thrillers and historical fiction, Ken Follett, who has been writing engaging, literary fiction for over forty years.   

Ken Follett

If I had to save a trilogy from the last library in the world which was on fire, I’d save The Century Trilogy, and if I had to save just one book, it would be The Winter of the World.

 

The Century Trilogy (3 Book Series) by  Ken Follett

Fall of Giants, Winter of the World and Edge of Eternity, make up the Century Trilogy. This Trilogy, is a tour de force, which narrates the main events of the 20th century, following the lives of five families in – America, Germany, Russia, England and Wales, who will gradually become interrelated, as the original characters and their descendents experience the First World War, the Russian Revolution, the struggle for Women’s Suffrage, the Second World War, The Cold War, The Civil Rights Movement, The Race to Space, and finally the reunification of Germany.

I loved every word of The Fall of Giants. Every single sentence, paragraph and page is engaging. The characterisation is extraordinary. Every character, and there are plenty of them, has a unique appearance and personality. The plot is thrilling with plenty of drama and historical detail that make it an unforgettable read.

Winter of the World, my favourite, is a brutal and honest fictional account of WWII. It should be compulsory reading at High Schools, because the historical events portrayed affect the reader, much more than a set of facts in a history book or lesson. Let’s not forget what happened in order to be alert and compassionate and never let it happen again. Ken Follett illustrates the horrors of war as well as the goodness and self-sacrifice that we are capable of.

Although the writing is brilliant, I’m really glad I listened to the trilogy as an audiobook, because John Lee is the best audiobook narrator I’ve heard.

Lee does all the voices so perfectly that you know at once who is speaking, and there are five nationalities, with their own accents and different social classes, as well as male, female and children’s voices. The novels are lively and authentic due to the great deal of dialogue included, yet it’s no easy feat for the narrator. Chapeau!

****

The Century Trilogy, is especially for readers who enjoy historical novels and dramatic family sagas, which explore political, social and personal issues through various generations.

Ken Follett’s Audible Author Page 

By the way, Ken Follet has a fabulous Author Webpage, which has ‘Writing Advice’. I’ve found it very inspiring and thought-provoking.

What? You’ve never read an Audiobook? Here are my 34 reasons why you should be reading audiobooks! 

I’ll be reviewing an audiobook a day throughout April, so come back on Monday! There will be a round-up tomorrow!

Would you like to read about the other authors and audiobooks I’ve posted about during the challenge, which started on 1st April? Here they are!

Find out more about this blogging challenge here!

 

#AtoZChallenge 2019 #Audiobooks ‘E’ is for Elizabeth Strout @LizStrout @Scribd @Audible ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’

I’m thrilled to continue my AtoZ Blogging challenge with another of outstanding writer, Elizabeth Strout, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, Olive Kitteridge, in 2009.   

Strout at the 2015 Texas Book Festival

The audiobook I listened to on Scribd, which I will be discussing in this post is, My Name is Lucy Barton, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2016 and the Bailey Women’s Prize for fiction in the same year.

This is the blurb

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.

My Review

My name is Lucy Barton isn’t an easy novel to read and much less to review. There’s no traditional plot, a confusing time-line, plenty of gaps in Lucy’s erratic story, and very little by way of characterisation.

The novel is about a writer, Lucy Barton’s, disjointed memories regarding her deprived childhood and dysfunctional family, mainly told with tense and sometimes unnerving conversations with her mother, while she’s in hospital, much later in life.

The timelines are blurred, as we learn that although she’s a successful novelist, she is a lonely and emotionally damaged person. After her first marriage broke up, she remarried and abandoned her family in search of ‘herself’. Her daughters never visit and don’t seem to  have a  close relationship with her, but strangely, it doesn’t seem to bother her.

There were times I wondered where the novel was going, as there was no plot or chronological order to help me find my bearings, yet I kept on reading, because it was well-written and I expected some sort of a plot might develop, but it didn’t.

When I finished, l realised it’s not about plot, or even character. It’s about the inexplicable and existential quality of life.

Resultado de imagen de camus quote on life

Lucy was born with a tragic destiny: the futile and obsessive search for the meaning of her life. The novel hints that this obsession was due to her loveless and emotionally and financially impoverished family. She has difficulty loving herself or anyone else, even her own children.

Lucy left her poor, narrow-minded and cruel family thanks to a scholarship, years later, she left her own family, still in search of herself and the elusive meaning of life. She’s trying to ‘find peace’ with herself through writing, but there’s a limit to the power of so much introspection. In the end, you’re responsible for your own choices and your own happiness or unhappiness.

Resultado de imagen de camus quote on life

I ended up not liking Lucy very much and feeling very little sympathy for her, because she could have done so much more to improve her own life and her relationship with her daughters and her husbands.

It certainly gave me a great deal to think about, especially regarding the art of writing a novel, because Elizabeth Strout breaks all the rules to great effect!  It’s the kind of novel I’m sure I’ll read again, at a later date.

It is a short read and it’s the kind of novel that really benefits from listening to the audiobook. The narrator, Kimberly Farr, does a really excellent job, because she reads each page with the appropriate rhythm and pace to Lucy’s changing moods. I could imagine Lucy as I listened. I’m sure I would have been more confused, especially at the beginning, if I had read the paper or kindle version.

****

My Name is Lucy Barton, is especially for readers who enjoy complex, almost experimental, literary novels, which explore a character’s psyche intensely.

Elizabeth Strout’s Scribd page

Elizabeth Strout’s Audible Author Page

What? You’ve never read an Audiobook? Here are my 34 reasons why you should be reading audiobooks! 

I’ll be reviewing an audiobook a day throughout April, so come back on Monday! There will be a round-up tomorrow!

Would you like to read about the other authors and audiobooks I’ve posted about during the challenge, which started on 1st April? Here they are!

Find out more about this blogging challenge here!