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Mike Reiter

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A collection of stories, only two really landed

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

Reviewed: 2021-03-06

This is a collection of short stories. All of them are listenable and the narrator does an excellent job with the material. Only two of the stories really caught my attention. I guess it was more based on the subject matter of the other stories and the endings. There is nothing wrong with the subject matter of any of the stories, they just didn't peak my interest. Given the length of the stories I guess I was expecting more plot twist or poignant endings just because the space only allowed for limited character development.

Short stories of women in different life places

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

Reviewed: 2021-03-01

All the stories take place in Canada. Some I found interesting, some I didn't. Some I would have like to see go farther in the persons life. It is a pretty mixed bag,

Meandering Memoir

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2021-02-10

Leon Theremin recounts his life. He does it sort of as a letter to a lost love. Overall it is pretty boring. I got through the whole thing but even though it is only an 11 and a half hour book, it felt so much longer. It isn't bad, just boring.

The Sentimentalists cover art

It was ok, sort of a Vietnam story

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

Reviewed: 2021-01-15

The narrator tells the story of her interactions with her father over the years. His story sort of starts in Vietnam but it isn't revealed that way. They there is a parallel story about an event in Vietnam. Even though it was supposed to be a first person narrative, it sounds very third person. I am not sure if that is the performer or the text.

Interesting concept, well done

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

Reviewed: 2021-01-08

Two Greek gods make a bet that if they gave an animal human intelligence they would be more unhappy than humans. The bet ends up that the animal has to be happy at the time of death. They decide on 15 dogs that are at a kennel. The story then follows these dogs.

As you get introduced to the dog they start to develop personalities. SPOILER - but as dogs don't have long lives you are quickly down to four main ones.

The stories are interesting and both ask the big metaphysical questions of humanity, as well as hold a mirror to humanity. The style is engaging and the narrator sounds a bit like Donald Sutherland.

Through Black Spruce cover art

In the tradition of Robertson Davies

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

Reviewed: 2021-01-03

The story is told of a family. The two main protagonists are an uncle and his niece. One of his nieces got involved with the brother of a biker drug dealer, the other went after her. The uncle gets targeted as a snitch by the bikers. The setting is mostly in the northern community Moosonee Ontario, with some of it in Toronto, Montreal and New York. The family is of Cree descent.

Over all the story switches between the uncle and the niece until their stories meet up. The style reminded me very much of Robertson Davies. It is the type of style where you feel you are sitting on somebodies porch being told a story. The characters feel familiar and relatable.

Starts slow gets better

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-12-24

This is a story about 419 scammers in Nigeria. The story starts off slow and somewhat frustrating but it picks up speed and actually gets quite good at the end. While the narrator wasn't bad, he sounded like rod serling from twilight zone and that was distracting.

Kind of boring

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2020-12-11

Yes I know Mordecai Richler is a Canadian treasure and who am I to not like it!! It was boring. The only other Mordecai Richler I have read was the Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, which I enjoyed.

This is the memoirs of Barney Penofsky. I guess it captures the voice correctly. It is quite boring but then again maybe that is the point? If you were rambling over the end of your life would most people find your life boring? The protagonist is quite boring. All characters are Jews, which is neither here nor there, but all of them are portrayed as judgmental, wildly racist and having massive inferiority complexes. I could see one, two or a few characters being this way but all of them are. The subtext is that all Jews are this way, which doesn't foot with the Jewish people I know, but then again none of the ones I know are from Montreal. Since this is supposed to be one man's remembrances, there again, maybe that view is how he sees the people he knew.

I guess where I am going with this is that maybe all the colouring that seems wrong to me makes sense in the context of the point of view of the narrator. But even if I accept that, it just moved very slow. It was filled with all the things that I could see as the CBC can lit checklist which kind of made it extra irritating.

A touching unemotional love story

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

Reviewed: 2020-11-19

Don definitely has Asperger's syndrome, but he doesn't seem to know it. He knows he is different. He creates the wife project which sets out a bunch of criteria that his future life partner must have such as non-smoker, math literate etc. He approaches the world logically and works for efficiency. He has an analytical mind and an amazing memory. In the spirit of all sappy romance novels he meets Rosie who aside from being physically attractive fails on all his criteria and to nobody's surprise, she is "the one".

I am not quite sure why this is under humour and satire as it is the plot of every romantic comedy you have ever seen and it is just as predictable.

What elevates this above your standard rom-com fair is that it is told from Don's point of view. The book has, and the narrator reinforces a "Flowers for Algernon" feel to the story. This makes it very much worth the listen. While I did enjoy this book I probably won't get the others in the series as the literary device employed feels very much like a one trick pony and the plots will just be predictable fish out of water stories. I could be wrong but I enjoyed this book enough that I don't want its successors to sully it for me.

1 person found this helpful

Worth the listen if you pay attention.

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

Reviewed: 2020-11-14

It is a well written who dunnit with a bit of ground hog day and Vantage Point/Bad Times the the El Royal thrown in as well. I don't think you could have solved the actual murders from the clues, although I may have just missed something. Even near the end Aiden Bishop seemed to know some things I don't remember him discovering. When the various reveals come it does make sense though. But that doesn't really matter because I found myself concentrating more on Who is Anna?, Who is Aiden Bishop? Why are they there and how long have they been there? Who is he plague doctor? And a bunch of other stuff that went into it.