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Pierre Gauthier (Montréal)
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Treasure Island
Treasure Island
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Edition: Audio CD
Price: CDN$ 23.79
20 used & new from CDN$ 16.28

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun!, April 2 2012
This review is from: Treasure Island (Audio CD)
For anyone who accepts to play along, this classic adventure novel is extremely enjoyable.

Of course, the storyline is both implausible and largely predictable, there is a strange and temporary change in narrator halfway into the novel and there is absolutely no romantic twist to the story (and indeed no significant female character). Still, this novel is never irritating and highly entertaining.

In fact, it is quite amazing to realize how it seems to have set standards for later pirate stories: a map to a hidden treasure, a one legged ruffian with a parrot on his shoulder, lots of rum drinking, etc.

The audio version is very well rendered, with short musical interludes between parts as a bonus.

Ennoblir et embellir
Ennoblir et embellir
by Paul Claval
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 29.42
8 used & new from CDN$ 28.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Quel livre sublime ce serait s'il était illustré !, March 17 2012
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This review is from: Ennoblir et embellir (Paperback)
Malgré son titre un peu pointu, cet ouvrage constitue une synthèse de l'histoire de l'urbanisme, de la Renaissance jusqu'à l'époque contemporaine. Il découle d'une recherche fouillée et comprend de nombreuses références à l'histoire de l'art, en particulier bien sûr à celles de l'architecture mais aussi de la peinture. Bien qu'universitaire et marqué de fréquents renvois à d'autres livres, le texte est concis et d'un style fort dynamique.

On doit toutefois souligner une lacune déplorable : ce bouquin ne comprend absolument aucune illustration ! On ne sait pas si cela découle d'une volonté de l'auteur ou de l'éditeur ou d'un manque de temps ou de ressources. Quoi qu'il en soit, il apparaît aberrant à notre époque de mise en page informatisée de discuter de l'évolution des villes sans cartes, ni photos, ni images.

Cela, ajouté à plusieurs fautes de frappe malheureuses, diminue énormément la portée et le sérieux de l'ouvrage qu'on ne peut donc recommander qu'à ceux connaissant déjà le domaine à fond.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
by Charles Dickens
Edition: Audio CD
Price: CDN$ 60.58
5 used & new from CDN$ 60.58

3.0 out of 5 stars Only For Dickens Fans!, March 15 2012
This work is all the more mysterious that Dickens died before finishing it and left no clear indication as to its resolution. Apparently, dozens of hypotheses have been devised and debated since it was published almost a century and a half ago.

Yet, the story about the novel is perhaps more interesting than the work itself. As is frequently the case with Dickens' tales, the characters are numerous but they all lack depth. None is particularly engaging, including Edwin Drood and his fiancée. The plot and sub-plots are thin and largely predictable. Dialogues are artificial and drawn-out. Dickens' trademark tongue-in-cheek is remarkably absent.

It must be pointed out however that the audio rendition is impeccable, with a touch of music inserted between chapters to lighten things up.

Overall, though, this work can only be recommended to die-hard Dickens fans.

GOÛT DE BUENOS AIRES (LE)
GOÛT DE BUENOS AIRES (LE)
by JEANNINE BEAUDE
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Une bonne introduction à Buenos Aires !, March 3 2012
Fidèle au concept guidant l'ensemble de la série, cet ouvrage portant sur Buenos Aires réussit à mettre en valeur plusieurs de ses facettes géographiques, culturelles et historiques à partir de courts extraits d'une diversité d'aeuvres littéraires.

Il est décevant de constater de grossières erreurs typographiques : rue `Forida' plutôt que `Florida' (page 51) et `sueur' plutôt que `soeur' (page 100). Pire encore, on traduit `Puente de la Mujer' (pont de la Femme) par `pointe de la Mère' (page 51).

Malgré cela, ce petit livre constitue un agréable compagnon de voyage et est tout à fait recommandable à ce titre.

Bleak House
Bleak House
by Charles Dickens
Edition: Audio CD
Price: CDN$ 153.91
13 used & new from CDN$ 91.87

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Original but Drawn-Out!, Feb. 26 2012
This review is from: Bleak House (Audio CD)
A marking originality of this novel lies in the fact that there are two narrators who alternate every few chapters. One is omniscient and uses the present. The other is the main character, a young woman, who speaks in the first person in the past tense. The threads of each story only link towards the end of the novel.

This very particular arrangement is never explained (at least in the audio version. Is the girl's point of view published in order to defend the character of certain individuals? Is the traditional narrative inserted to present facts that she could not have known? Who then is in a position to be familiar with these elements and put them in writing?

As is frequent with Dickens' novels, a multitude of characters are included and, at times, sub-plots are quite difficult to follow. Some secondary characters simply disappear and their fate remains forever unknown.

The main plot rests upon a complex court case ... that is strangely never presented in any level of detail, as if the reader were incapable of understanding it.

Overall, it appears justified to consider this one of Dickens' best works, although of course by contemporary standards it appears very long. In that sense, an abridged version would definitely be recommended to anyone with limited time at his or her disposal.

CHANTEUR DE TANGO (LE)
CHANTEUR DE TANGO (LE)
by THOMAS ELOY MARTINEZ
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.95
12 used & new from CDN$ 10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars À découvrir !, Feb. 26 2012
Écrit à la première personne dans un style vif et enlevé, ce roman est bien structuré en six chapitres de longueur équivalente couvrant chacun une période d'à peu près un mois à compter de septembre 2011.

Bien que parfois un peu onirique, ce roman est bien ancré dans la culture argentine _ les références à Borges sont notamment multiples _, dans la période particulièrement troublée pour le pays dans lequel il est situé et surtout dans la ville de Buenos Aires.

Les références géographiques sont telles qu'il donne vraiment le goût de découvrir cette métropole complexe.

Il s'agit ainsi d'un excellent livre de voyage à recommander à quiconque visite Buenos Aires ou prévoit le faire.

Quintette de Buenos Aires (Le) [ancienne édition]
Quintette de Buenos Aires (Le) [ancienne édition]
by Manuel Vazquez Montalban
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.95
11 used & new from CDN$ 7.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Long, prétentieux et déprimant !, Jan. 29 2012
Ce roman est recommandé par le `Guide du routard' comme introduction à Buenos Aires. Bien qu'on y réfère à plusieurs lieux de cette ville, ils ne sont pas décrits et n'ont pas d'influence sur le fil des événements. Ils pourraient tout aussi bien être imaginaires.

Les personnages manquent de relief et sont cyniques et peu attachants. L'intrigue comme telle est absurde : le personnage recherché par le détective privé ne cesse d'apparaître et de disparaître au fil du roman. Plusieurs intrigues secondaires demeurent irrésolues à la fin du roman. Le tout est marqué de violence gratuite décrite en détail.

Il est difficile de ne pas croire que l'auteur se paie la tête des lecteurs avec de longues listes d'ingrédients, de longues citations de chansons ou de poèmes ou des références littéraires affectées. La plus importante scène du livre _ un banquet de gastronomes _ est parfaitement rocambolesque, divers meurtres et suicides se déroulant pendant le repas qui se poursuit pourtant sans interruption.

Les quelque 500 pages du bouquin sont réparties non pas en chapitres mais en seulement cinq sections. Au sein de ces sections, on passe sans transition d'un lieu à un autre ou d'un moment à un autre, sans doute pour faire `moderne' et `cinématographique'. On ne réussit qu'à mélanger le lecteur qui doit fréquemment revenir en arrière pour voir s'il a sauté une transition quelconque.

Bref, il apparaît impossible de recommander ce roman à quiconque.

Dombey and Son
Dombey and Son
by Charles Dickens
Edition: Audio CD
Price: CDN$ 148.56
13 used & new from CDN$ 99.54

2.0 out of 5 stars If You Have a Lot of Time on Your Hands ..., Jan. 9 2012
This review is from: Dombey and Son (Audio CD)
As in some other Dickens novels, `Dombey and Son' starts off well but seems to run out of steam about one quarter of the way through. Tongue in cheek humour gives way to long-winded descriptions and watered-down dialogues. Major characters disappear and plot development slows down to snail's pace.

Things do pick up about three quarters of the way into the book (and some characters reappear!). Yet, one can only consider that such literature is the 19th century equivalent of soap operas.

To those still interested in this work, I recommend listening to it part by part with other works thrown in between each in order to provide some relief.

The Roman Triumph
The Roman Triumph
by Mary Beard
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.97
31 used & new from CDN$ 16.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware!, Jan. 3 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Roman Triumph (Paperback)
This book is not intended for the general public. Very well researched with a bibliography that takes up no less than 24 pages, it intends to be a serious contribution to the apparently hot debate among certain academes regarding Roman triumphs.

For the non specialist, however, it is of very limited interest. The essence of the work is that the sources on the topic are very incomplete and not necessarily trustworthy.

The liveliness and originality demonstrated by the same author in `The Fires of Vesuvius' is totally absent here.

Consequently, this book can only be recommended to those who are already experts in the field.

Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco
by Iain Fenlon
Edition: Paperback
10 used & new from CDN$ 5.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!, Dec 27 2011
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This review is from: Piazza San Marco (Paperback)
In this short, lively written book, the history of Saint Mark's Square is presented in close connection with the history of Venice as a whole. One wishes that it were a bit longer so that aspects such as architecture could be more developed.

Illustrations are abundant and pertinent but, as can be expected for the price charged, only in black and white and printed with a disappointing resolution.

Overall, though, this worthwhile book is an excellent introduction to Venice before visiting the city or an excellent complement if you just came back.

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