Escape Audio Cassette – Dec 20 2000
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''James Clavell is a teller of stories. They are complicated and exciting, and you are desperate to know what will happen to his characters because they are like the people you know from your own life and experience, set in strange and sometimes terrible circumstances.'' --John Simpson, award-winning writer
''James Clavell does more than entertain. He transports us into worlds we've not known, stimulating, educating, questioning…a wonder of detail.'' --Washington Post on Whirlwind --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
About the Author
James Clavell (1921-1994) was a novelist, screenwriter, director, and World War II veteran and prisoner of war. The son of a Royal Navy family, he was educated in Portsmouth before, as a young artillery officer, he was captured by the Japanese at the Fall of Singapore. It was on this experience that his bestselling novel KING RAT was based. He maintained this oriental interest in his other great works: TAI-PAN, SHOGUN, NOBLE HOUSE and GAI JIN, and is best known for this epic Asian Saga series of novels and their televised adaptations.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Mr Clavell is master writer who studies the subject well and then weaves it well. All of his books have been quite informative, educative and absorbing. I wish, every book lover must read his books.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is a buddy read with my dear friend Iset, who gave me this book, citing it as one that she had read when younger and enjoyed greatly. I was intrigued; while I had read Persepolis, my education about the Iranian Revolution was highly limited to the sketch information I retrieve while in high school. We discussed doing a Buddy Read and this was the book we decided we had to read.
Now that I've (finally!) finished, I must say that it was a thrill-ride, but some of the characters were irritating and it definitely feels like a "Cliff Notes" version of a more complete story - criticisms I see on several reviews of this book.
Firstly, the characters. While this book did include some interestin females (Genny), for the most part, I felt they were "pretty set decoration" and had little to influence the plot and other characters. Certainly 1970's Iran wasn't necessarily the best time to be a woman, but I have a hard time believing that they were all nearly the doormats that Azadeh and Sharazad were in this book. As for the men, they tended to be one type: that super-ultra masculine manly man you expect in cheesy 80's movies. (Perhaps appropriate because this was written in the 80's? Maybe, but still, if the women don't wield weapons like Sarah Connor or Ripley, then the men don't get a free pass for being the Terminator or Rambo.) Erikki in particular wasn't a very likeable "hero"; he was a jealous, angry, violent man who would frequently boss his wife around. (Some may be part of a "ploy" but still deplorable.)
Secondly, the plot. I feel there is a fabulous story that is just barely touched on in this book. Frequently, we pull away from characters for hundreds of pages, just to summarize what happened in a mere 4 pages. (The Fates of Ross and McIvers fair this way, leading to zero tension and only a big question mark, wondering what happened that the reader missed.)
The one thing this book has going for it is that it never stops. It's always moving. This is a true thriller in that stuff is happening on every page - political machinations, manipulations, escapes, espionage, plotting, planning, etc. You wouldn't be remiss for not noting the above because the plot twists and turns faster than a roller coaster at Disneyland.
This book was 584 pages and not once did I feel something was dragging and irrelevant. The problem was, I felt that, somehow, 584 pages was not nearly enough to truly tell this story.
Just skimming "Whirlwind"'s entry on Wikipedia reveals a much larger, more complete cast. I have no doubt that that book better describes this harrowing escape. I don't know if I'll get around to reading it, as I have many other books to get through. But it would be interesting to see what was cut and what was not in the full story "Whirlwind".
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