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Beginner's Greek : a novel
James Collins
Adult Fiction COLLINS

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Often the audio medium can make a book an even richer experience, as elegant phrases and colorful characters are brought to life. Unfortunately, this production amplifies the novel's flaws. Peter keeps missing chances to reveal his true feelings of love to Holly, a woman he met by chance on a plane and who married his best friend. The book's clunky, repetitive prose ("This was flattery, meant to amuse and flatter her") comes across worse to the ear than to the eye. The abridgment is often confusing and reduces dialogue scenes to dry summaries of discussions, but some of this is the author's fault. Instead of allowing the listener inside the heads of the characters, Collins simply describes their motivations in a detached, clinical way. This technique is more detrimental on audio than in print. Jerry O'Connell's bland, uninspired narration doesn't bother to differentiate character voices at all, apart from pitching his voice slightly higher for women's dialogue. He self-consciously enunciates each syllable, instead of using his acting skills to convey emotion or bring the story to life. The result is an audiobook as tedious as one of Peter's business meetings. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 1). (Jan.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

From Library Journal:

Peter Russell, an up-and-coming financial trader, is a romantic at heart. As he boards a transcontinental flight to Los Angeles, he is eager to see who will sit next to him, fully expecting-if it's a female-to find his true love. When the captivating Holly takes the seat, Peter is convinced he was right. Imagine his dismay after parting when he loses her phone number and realizes that he doesn't know her last name. So begins this tale of star-crossed lovers and their circle of family and friends. Peter and Holly will each travel a perilous path over the years to come. Treacherous office politics, adulterous liaisons, and a host of fascinating characters round out the story. Despite the contemporary setting, Collins's fiction debut has all the traits of a 19th-century romance-an omniscient and sometimes playful narrator, elegant prose that meanders through the lush terrain of disparate lives, an occasionally arch but always dulcet tone, frequent flashbacks, characters whose minds are plumbed (the females are especially well sounded), sophisticated dialog, and a much-delayed but delightful resolution. Jane Austen fans will feel right at home. Recommended for public libraries.-Ron Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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