See it still sounds brilliant. View all 4 comments. I loved this epic. Bryce Cortenay is an excellent story teller and Humphrey Bower did an amazing job narrating. The voices and different dialects helped bring these interesting characters to life. Sep 23, Debby rated it really liked it Shelves: When I read in my case, listen to a book, I want a story. I like epic stories, with history mixed in. I'm not a literature major, nor an editor. I don't pick apart an author's use of grammar or prose. If the storyline draws me in, and I feel as though I get to know the character's well, and find myself wishing that the story won't end-- then I'm happy.
That's why I like Bryce Courtenay's books. Add to the mix that Humphrey Bower is the narrator, I've listened to the majority of his books. I kn When I read in my case, listen to a book, I want a story.
I knew that this was Mr Courtenay's last novel, before his death. The reviews are all over the place, and that's why I hesitated listening to this story. A sale on audible is what closed the deal, and I downloaded it. I wonder if Mr.
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Courtenay had a bad experience with Christianity, because in most of his books, he creates characters who are an embarrassment to my faith. Many of his characters are hypocrites, and I cringe at their character. I found myself taking a mental inventory of people I do know, who are good Christians. As is my review style, I don't write a book synopsis. I will say that Jack Spayd is a person of integrity, and a loving son.
But, good grief, he does get himself into a bind several times! He keeps getting run out of town, and goes into the next adventure Critics say it's like "The Power of One" and I don't agree.
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Sure, there is mining involved, but that's a small part of this long saga. There's some history in this novel, like the beginnings of Las Vegas with mobsters like Bugsy Siegel. Was this my favorite novel of his? It's a very long story, and I admit that the ending was a bit anticlimactic. I can see there could have been a sequel with this story, but sadly, this the end of the road for all of Bryce Courtney's characters. Dec 16, Sarah rated it really liked it. Bryce Courtney will always be one of my favorite authors, the way he is able to evoke such emotion out of simple things in his novels truly inspires my love for reading.
I am definitely at a loss now he has passed away; and I feel a void where his characters always danced to life in my imagination. This book was very different to the Bryce I have been reading; but none-the-less it is a beautiful journey of Jack growing up through adverse situations and overall overcoming the odds haha no pun in Bryce Courtney will always be one of my favorite authors, the way he is able to evoke such emotion out of simple things in his novels truly inspires my love for reading. This book was very different to the Bryce I have been reading; but none-the-less it is a beautiful journey of Jack growing up through adverse situations and overall overcoming the odds haha no pun intended.
Though the ending was a bit rushed for obvious reasons I wish he was able to spend a bit more time on the remainder of the book as it was a tad cliche' but i completely understand and congratulate him on this fantastic piece of literature. I personally enjoy the more mature reading,and even though I am only 17; I feel like I can draw some pretty important knowledge and understanding from other 'peoples' experiences. Especially situations that force me to question my own reaction and identity; I love having my beliefs challenged so I can remind myself why I stand for these things and this is the true value of a good novel.
I know i am being a bit vague in my review; but if you love Bryce Courtney and his other books im sure you will love this one too. Thank you Bryce and may you rest in peace. Mar 08, Matt rated it it was amazing Shelves: Courtenay's final book is as much a treat for the reader as any of his previous literary works. Set in the bustling city of Toronto Canada in the middle of the Depression, Courtenay paints a picture of the Canadian inter-war years and the struggles of a poor boy trying to make sense of life and all its obstacles.
What begins as a wonderful story of young Jack Spayd, who discovers the wonders of music, turns into a great tale of love, adventure, and the power of self-discovery. The reader is tr Courtenay's final book is as much a treat for the reader as any of his previous literary works.
In true Courtenay style, the book makes numerous major turns, unforeseen during the story's progression, and the reader is forced to hang on for face being left behind. A story that is sure to touch the heart and open the eyes of the reader, Courtenay may have saved some of his best writing for last. While some draw strong parallels to The Power of One, I found this book to stand nicely on its own.
Courtenay has written some spectacular series, though his stand alone novels are just as thorough and leave the reader with an uncanny connection to the characters woven into the story. No two books are alike and the stories seem to flow from his mind as freely as the open sea. These books stand the test of time and will entertain readers for years to come. Start with any book well, unless you read the series and dive in. Expect to be blown away and become a quick Courtenay addict. If I had to offer a small criticism it would be that the last segment of the book seems to rush through to the end.
This is so unlike Courtenay, who used hours and hours of audiobook narration to paint the wonderful pictures of life in Canada, and then seems to drop the story off the edge of a cliff and quickly wrap itself up in the last few hours. I might speculate that Courtenay was trying to tie up loose ends to finish the book before the cancer that overtook him made finishing this book all but impossible. This is, of course, only idle speculation, though is totally out of character for him.
No Courtenay book would be complete without commenting on the work done by Humphrey Bower. Accents and nuances are no issue for Bower, who appears able to do anything put before him. Nothing is too daunting and his trademark narration gives a Courtenay book even more power. I will sadly miss Bower almost as much as Courtenay, as it was the former who presented the latter's work to me in all but a few occasions. Rest in peace, Mr. Courtenay, and know that your name has become synonymous with excellent writing, powerful storytelling, and the ability to draw attention to social issues without making the reader feel browbeaten.
I will miss you, and your writing, as will a vast number of people around the world! Feb 12, Jackie rated it it was ok Shelves: I remember reading "The Power of One" as a teenager, and it had a profound effect on me, leaving an indelible imprint of a harsh African vista and a powerful punch to the solar plexus. Boxing, boys, apartheid and the most wonderful and horrible characters. Who will ever forget the black prisoners standing up to the brutal prison guards, and the carnage that followed? I next delved head-first into "The Potato Factory", and was mesmerised once more by conniving characters and a protagonist who endured so much - and overcame it all - to our intense satisfaction.
So I will say that the faults of this book are mainly in the editing — a good editor would have done the tale justice. Alas, it was full of repetition and paragraphs ordered about the wrong way, and spoilers for the very chapter he was about to reveal to us. The other major fault I found with this book is that things were too easy for the protagonist Jack , and he was also a little arrogant. Sorry to say, I only gave the book 2 stars. A sad way for a wonderful writer and human being to end his career and his legacy to publishing in Australia.
Mar 31, Kathleen Hagen added it Shelves: He passed away very soon after finishing it. In this book he places his hero, Jack, in Toronto Canada. He has a father who is a drunk and beats his mother and him. Finally, with the help of the police chief, they rid the family of the father, who moves on to live with someone else. He leaves Canada and comes to the United States. He is convinced through an army buddy to come to Las Vegas and throw in his lot with a casino owner, Bridget Fuller. But Jack has another addiction, poker playing, which ultimately throws him into terrible trouble with the mob.
Oct 15, Tony Nielsen rated it really liked it. I had mixed feelings about Jack of Diamonds on two fronts. Firstly I knew it was Bryce Courtenay's 21st and final book, in fact he died before I got to start it. Secondly although I have read all of his novels and really liked many of them, of late I felt that they were getting a little on the "soppy" side, even condescending, dare I say it.
By the time I was halfway through this one I was already marking it down as a 2 or 3 stars, but I then got drawn more into the story. Jack is a self depreca I had mixed feelings about Jack of Diamonds on two fronts. Jack is a self deprecating young man with a love of jazz, and a talent to mix it with the best of the idioms pianists. He ends up in Las Vegas, as the heydays of the desert-town's transformation get under way. While he's appreciated by some, the local members of "the family" are not endeared towards him.
Jack is also has another talent, as a very handy card sharp at the game of poker.
Jack of Spades
However his luck runs out in every sense and he is on the run, finding himself in the copper mines of Africa. I guess this will go down as the last in Bryce Courtenay's storytelling career, but I'm pleased to say he redeemed himself for me with a worthy tale to sign off on. Mar 10, Peter rated it liked it.
Bryce Courtenay is a superb story teller but Jack of Diamonds was far too long. The first pages covered Jack Spayd's upbringing and this could've been condensed into a punchy pages. The book actually gets interesting when Las Vegas and the Mafia are introduced and Courtenay cleverly blends the true life events regarding the building of the Flamingo, Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky into his story. I read about 25 pages a night up until about half way I finished the last half in two nights Bryce Courtenay is a superb story teller but Jack of Diamonds was far too long. I finished the last half in two nights.
That really sums up the novel Yes, there were similarities to The Power of One, but in my opinion that was the author's finest work and did not contain one boring page. Jack of Diamonds is okay but it's not in the same league as The Power of One. I have read all of John Grisham's novels and he will always be remembered for The Firm Oct 12, Steve rated it it was amazing Shelves: This book is a coming of age story, and I could certainly see the similarities between it and the authors first book, The Power of One, and I found it fascinating to do so, since this book is his last; but that is not to say that it is a facsimile of his first book.
The chapters were overly long, and some parts were quite hard to read, due to the author puling no punches about calling a spade a spade -- even in the case of domestic violence, but even weighing in at over pages, it didn't feel This book is a coming of age story, and I could certainly see the similarities between it and the authors first book, The Power of One, and I found it fascinating to do so, since this book is his last; but that is not to say that it is a facsimile of his first book.
The chapters were overly long, and some parts were quite hard to read, due to the author puling no punches about calling a spade a spade -- even in the case of domestic violence, but even weighing in at over pages, it didn't feel overly long. I was touched by the authors note at the end of the book, and how he had felt compelled to finish the main character's story even though he could not do what he wished and write a sequel.
I am looking forward to reading more of his work. I am honered to have chosen to read Mr.
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Courtenay's last book as my first of his, and I am looking forward to reading his other It was a long story, but a good one. It was well written and the characters all seemed very real. I thought it dragged just a little in places, but I did not really mind. About piano bars and gambling, not to mention about Cabbagetown, near Toronto, in Quebec, Canada.
I learned a little about Canada's in I am honered to have chosen to read Mr. This was a story about black and white values and black and white characters. It began and ended with love. My first Bryce Courtenay book. And I must say I wasn't disappointed. Through the various life decisions he makes to become a great Jazz pianist and more than useful poker player. Unfortunately he falls foul of the Mafia in Las Vegas and high tails it to Africa, where unfortunately he falls foul of the miners he works with.
But it all ends well in London. A very entertaining book in which the master s My first Bryce Courtenay book. A very entertaining book in which the master storyteller really shows his skill. An enjoyable but very long story, I listened to it in the car and it took me some weeks to get through it. It would be quicker if you read it yourself, but then I might have not bothered to finish it.
Jack got a bit on my nerves in the end, he seemed too good to be true and too lucky. Jan 23, Jilly Lind rated it liked it. None of Courtenays' books will ever quite compare to reading The power of one but because of The Power of One I always keep coming back for more. I felt particularly sentimental about this book knowing this was his last. A good yarn with some lovable supporting characters. Bryce Courtenay you are an amazing writer and man you will be missed. Aug 01, Katrina rated it really liked it.
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This book was a mammoth read!! I got a little over the story after Jack left Las Vegas I think it just got too long! But overall I loved most of the story, particularly the jazz scene in the 30s and 40s and the development of Las Vegas as a casino city. The research really added a depth to this story that only Bryce Courtenay could achieve. His story telling will be sorely missed! Popularity Popularity Featured Price: Low to High Price: High to Low Avg.
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