Simon Bowler

South Brisbane, QLD Australia
  • 7
  • reviews
  • 35
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  • 104
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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-16-10

Fry the young man: A life exposed and explained

An excellent autobiography of Stephen the Cambridge student and young comedian, actor, entertainer, broadcaster and chronicler of the 80's and early 90's. All delivered with honesty and his sonorous Oxbridge accent. Entertaining and informative. Wonderful.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-19-09

What a misery

A misanthropic war tragedy. There's not much light or redemption in this unrelievedly grim tale of an arctic convoy during WW2. Misery upon misery ending in disaster, death and disgrace. I guess a gritty true-to-life account of what it was really like is an appropriate antidote to the boys-own-annual view of the navy and war but pheeww this one is really depressing. The writing is taught and Quilly's cut glass accent is perfect. If you can stand the tragedy its an interesting well crafted work.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-19-08

Deighton and Whitfield - what a pairing

Deighton's second volume in his game set and match trilogy has everything a good spy novel should. Bernard Sampson's tough anti hero is an examplar in the genre. And Robert Whitfields narration is magnificent. His command of regional, international and gendered accents is alone worth the purchase price. I'm only sad Audible doesn't have the third Blackstone audio volume in this series. The price is attractive too!

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-28-07

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

I read this book some years ago but I'm astounded amazed and astonished by Francis Davidsons marvellous rendition of the book's subtlety and complexity. The story folds and refolds as George Smiley, the fat middle aged cuckold slowly gets to the bottom of the Circus's betrayal and reveals the spy, the "mole" who has been betraying his fellows and their "networks". The characterisation is superb and Fracis Davidson's vocal acrobatics cover the range of characters superbly. A much better recording than the earlier Le Carre works by Blackstone. Some American translations: "trailer" rather than "caravan" for example but nothing that get's in the way of the essential Englishness of the story. Magnificent!

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8 of 9 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-03-07

Call for the Dead

John LeCarre's first novel also features George Smiley for the first time with his fussy physically ineptitude but substantial intellectual prowess. His characters are complex and the plot pacing excellent though he writes without the surety that his later novels display. The gloomy grubbiness of coal fired post war England seeps out of the reading like the smog and rain and reflects the nascent cold war conflict in this pre Berlin Wall time. Frank Davidson's reading is accomplished with the tight upper class English vowels of 40 years ago and good portrayals of the "other ranks" voices. Sadly the audio quality is poor with what sound like "print through" echoes displaying the tape cassette origin of this recording.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-25-06

Gentle irony

Bittersweet tales of life in Victorian India centred on the hill town of Simla. Each story of human frailty, of life under the British Raj, of the machinations of its public official, of the long suffering Indian subjects is crafted with ironic affection and polished till it glows. The attitudes are colonial and imperialist but the characters come alive as if they lived in the 21st century. Martin Jarvis narration is gentle and flawless. I will listen to this again and again

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8 of 10 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-24-04

Acute observations of man

Maugham's observations of the weakness and strengths of men (and sometimes women) set in every corner of the world are entrancing. The colour and exotic locations are a backdrop for accounts of human universals; death love and ambition. Charlton Griffins mellow voice is ideal for the stories though his almost but not quite British accent at times is annoying.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful