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What made the experience of listening to The Distance the most enjoyable?
How refreshing to be challenged by an audiobook!
What other book might you compare The Distance to and why?
I heard about The Distance on a podcast, where the critic chose it as one of her top 'undiscovered' books of 2014, and compared it favorably with Lee Child's Jack Reacher novels. Having enjoyed them (mostly), I clearly had to check it out. I can certainly see why the comparison was made, but in other ways the books are far apart. I found The Distance far more engaging, and demanding of my attention to follow the plot. In the Reacher novels, my mind can wander, but the text and plot are sufficiently simple that my peripheral attention has kept me up to speed, and I don't feel that i've missed anything when my focus returns. Not so with The Distanct, where I enjoyed the mental stretch of keeping track of the plot.
Have you listened to any of Rachel Atkins’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
This was my first exposure to Rachel Atkins, but at least my 100th audiobook. Her performance was marvelous, and amongst the best that i've listened to.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
I saw this book on a recommended reading list on NPR. I like a good intrigue / mystery book and had high hopes for this one.
I can summarized my review easily: It's a tribute to the basic story that I listened to the book twice straight through. It's a shame that because the reading and the crafting of the story were both so poor that I needed to listen to it twice straight through.
First - the performance. Rachel Atkins used a number of, um, techniques that I found difficult to cope with. The worst thing was when (as often happened) her voice would raise in pitch and volume during the tensest passages. This was helpful as far as projecting the anxiety of the situation. But often after a particularly loud sentence, her voice would drop to an unintelligible whisper. I drive an electric car - it's quiet, but I needed to use the skip-back button so many times I nearly wore it out trying to catch the name or word that might have helped me make sense of the story if I could have caught it the first time around. And the accents wore me out. Scottish, Cockney, Welch, London, Newcastle, American. Sheesh - it was hard enough keeping track of the characters (more on that in a sec.), but decoding these accents was nearly impossible to me. Maybe there were just too many characters to represent, but I don't know. It just didn't make for an easy listen.
The story skips willy nilly through the various times / characters / aliases / situations so quickly that I simply missed many important connections, I found myself befuddled a good bit of the time. Who beat whom to a pulp this time? Why was that again? Was there a reason for the beating this time or was it just to prove again and again and again who pathological someone can be? Wait! Now who is this speaking? I was just listing to a conversation to these two people, and suddenly it jumped like a packet of quantum story-telling to a different time, place, and set of characters. But was the last conversation over? I don't remember (and I had such a hard time just hearing it....). Better back up and listen to that again. And again.
The thing is - I actually liked the story and I like the main character Charlotte Alton / Karla. The fundamental story, if one cuts through all the needless convolutions, is really quite good. But MY GOD, it takes a difficult path to get from point A to point B.
I'd like to say that it's me, that I am a bit hard of hearing and I have a touch of tinnitus that affects my hearing sometimes (which I do). But no. I have a 2 hour daily commute in my car and I listen to audiobooks almost exclusively. I listen to a lot of non-fiction on technology and science, a lot of history, and also many novels. I just don't normally have this kind of trouble following a story line or a dialog at all, except for this book. Around the same time I listened to this book I also listened to the complete Tom Clancy Jack Ryan Jr. series, read by Lou Diamond Phillips. I didn't have any of the same difficulties with hearing or with the continuity of the story, and I don't think those books suffered do to their relative continuity. Actually, it was just the opposite.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful