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By Richard Delman on 04-26-13
A review with extremely mixed feelings.
I bought this book because Edoardo Ballerini narrated it, plain and simple. He is so gifted that it is a pure pleasure to listen to almost every book he reads. Almost. The precis notes that the book is about a man named Thomas Danforth, and it hints that there will be more than a smattering of WWII. As many of you know, O Constant Readers (I embarrass myself), I have had it just about up to here with WWII. Schindler's List said it all. Nonetheless, the book has strong points, and those who are still in the mood for WWII books will probably like this. Thomas Danforth is, at the time of the narration, a ninety-one-year-old man who is telling the story of his involvement in the war to a young interviewer named Paul. The mechanism of switching back and forth between post-September 11 New York and the world of sixty-plus years ago is an awkward device, which constantly makes the reader repeat phrases like "years later, Thomas would..." This does get a little annoying.
The crux of the book is an unbelievably naive plot to assassinate the Fuhrer, with a crew of only four or five people. One of them is the ferociously dedicated, dark, young, Jewish woman named in the title. Danforth helps train her and falls deeply in love with her, despite the fact that the assassination attempt is a suicide mission. No further spoilers here, but you can imagine what happens.
Thomas Cook is an extremely gifted writer. If I were you, I would start with "Streets of Fire," which is IMHO a much better book than this. No sense comparing the two books; I just feel that SOF is a much more accessible book, and is much more compelling (oops, I did compare, didn't I?). So what.
Once again Mr. Ballerini's talents are so remarkable that they cover some of the less interesting aspects of the book. His skills with accents and multiple languages are just astounding. It is possible that he speaks all these languages; if not, he has one heck of an ear for the musical sounds of languages. Even German, that most guttural and in other ways off-putting of languages, becomes soft and buttery in his mouth. I must warn you that there is some plenty gruesome stuff: you might want to skip the particulars of the guillotine. There is a deeply felt romance at the heart of the book, an opposites attract version between Danforth and Anna, and that part of the book is done pretty well. Maybe you could just skip the entire WWII part, but that would leave you with about a third of a book. Which, come to think of it, would not be a bad idea
10 of 13 people found this review helpful
By Dr. Alan J. Smith on 02-16-17
Thie book cannot reflect Cook's many accolades
Would you try another book from Thomas H. Cook and/or Edoardo Ballerini?
No, this is my first experience of Thomas Cook. I was influenced by the volumes of praise heaped upon his body of work. This book cannot possibly represent Cook's typical performance. I was bored to sleep by this slow, excessively detailed, fragmented content. I will not likely risk another audio book fee on this author.
Has The Quest for Anna Klein turned you off from other books in this genre?
\I am a fan of the genre. I simply could not find a reason to torment myself any longer with this boring and lifeless story.
Would you be willing to try another one of Edoardo Ballerini’s performances?
Will not try another performance unless a written or audio preview is available.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
DISAPPOINTMENT. Mr. Cook's works have been described as clever, skilled, emblematic, etc. This book, in my opinion, does not meet the press and hype that sold me on purchasing the e-book.