• Mother Earth, Father Sky

  • Ivory Carver Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Sue Harrison
  • Narrated by: Holly Fielding
  • Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (116 ratings)

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Mother Earth, Father Sky  By  cover art

Mother Earth, Father Sky

By: Sue Harrison
Narrated by: Holly Fielding
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Publisher's Summary

In a time before history, in a harsh and beautiful land near the top of the world, womanhood comes cruelly and suddenly to beautiful, young Chagak. Surviving the brutal massacre of her tribe, she sets out across the icy waters off Ameria's northwest coast on an astonishing odyssey that will reveal to Chagak powerful secrets of the earth and sky...and the mysteries of love and loss.

©1990 Sue Harrison (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Mother Earth, Father Sky

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance
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Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Aleutian reader, liked the story

Would you listen to Mother Earth, Father Sky again? Why?

I will not listen to this book again, however I might purchase the books and recommend them to friends. (Note: Mother Earth Father Sky is book 1 of a trilogy, and my review covers my experience with book 1- but you are not finished with this story until you read all three!)

What did you like best about this story?

I live in the Aleutian Islands. I can look out my window at the harsh beauty and imagine the characters' lives and spirits here so easily.

What three words best describe Holly Fielding’s performance?

Monotone, pinched, gulping

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Harsh world for a woman! I feel really fortunate. The book kept my interest and I enjoyed it. Since it is set in the Aleutians, I would have enjoyed more detailed descriptions of the setting. I have the luxury of looking out and seeing the very islands and seas she writes about, and throughout the "listening" used my eyes to add to the imagery of the plot, where I would have enjoyed reading the author's unique perspective on this place.

Any additional comments?

In the busy season, rarely do I make time to sit and read, and audio books are a fantastic way to enjoy literature while pressing forward with tasks. This book is very interesting in that the story line is set in the Aleutian Islands, where I live. However, the recording is distracting- the editors left in the sounds of vehicles and talking people passing the recording studio, (at first I looked around to see if a loud truck or neighbors were passing my house) The narrator's gulping swallows were not edited out, her mispronunciation of "Aleutian" also distracting. Note- I have great respect for anyone who reads this many pages- it's harder than it sounds! The sound engineers could have done a better job helping bring out the best in the narrator. That said--- did I turn the recording off? I'm not to book 3 yet, but I will be downloading it, and it will probably keep me listening until the end!

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing book, tragic narrator

I read this book more than 20 years ago in hardback, and read it several times after. It has always been one of my old favorites. There was so much room to make this amazing book even better with even a moderately good narrator. Sadly thats not the case. I just can't say how awful the narration was. Ok so I can, It was tragic. This was a flat, monotone reading with many unsightly stumbles. Instead of performance with feeling and emotion, it's just a girl reading a book aloud with very poor breath control (gasping breath after every 5 freaking words) and a sticky sounding dry mouth. I think I wanna scream and cry at the unfairness of ruining one of the best books ever.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Captivating

This author writes so beautifully, and researched this so well. I've read it multiple times, but listening was so much better.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator is Flat, but Story Shines

I read this book as a teenager and loved it, so I thought I would give it a listen. The narrator really reads the story flat, very monotone. You can hear her swallow and smack all through the story, which is very distracting. I would honestly have to say she finds her flow at the very end of the book where she has to do several voices.

The main character has such a sad story, but don't let this stop you from reading it. If anything read the Kindle version.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Terrible narration!!

The most annoying narrator I have heard. The story was ok but the narrator ruined it. I am one that hates mouth noises like lip smacking etc. She talks like she has a dry mouth and a nasally voice. I tried enduring it but it drove me bonkers. There is no description as far as the time frame this occurred. No definition to any of the objects like dwellings, clothing and the ikyaks or whatever she was calling the paddle boats (guessing kyaks). I was annoyed and had to research myself to try and form a picture of what the author was talking about. Lacks description. Pair that with the awful narration and I ended it at chapter 40.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Read this book long ago

Read this book many years ago. Love the historical detail and story line. Highly suggest!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

stopped after book 1

I enjoyed the story, but not enough to want to read the next book. The narrator was adequate.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Moving Tale of Survival

My first exposure to this book came as a supermarket impulse buy by my mother, a pulpy paperbacks she then dropped in the suds while reading in the bath. I picked up the replacement copy when I was a young girl, never anticipating how it would shape me as a woman and a human. Survival alone in such a harsh time and place as ice age Alaska makes for a gripping read on its own, but Mother Earth Father Sky also offers a moving story of cruelty and tenderness. Hearing about the foods, clothing, tools, beloved possessions, and language of this people was fascinating. Empathizing with the hardships of womanhood, emotionally deepening. I for one loved the narration, and where others found it monotone, I perfectly suited a simple and ancient story. This intimate and detailed immersion into a world and culture so far removed and so rarely explored is a treat for those who, like myself, feel a calling to know the human experiences of others.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved

The narrator said Cache wrong but other than that, it was good. I had a hard time listening to her but hour used to it after a while. I love the book, I've read it countless times.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good but with some weaknesses

The story was ok. The reader had a monotone that I had to fight to stay awake. The voice would have been ok if not monotone. I was irritated when the story just stopped. No ending. In effect if you want an end of the story you have to buy the next book. That makes me mad enough to NOT buy the next book. A book should stand on its own merits.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Just a reader
  • 08-17-21

Worst narrator ever

This is such a great story. I've read it in book form many years ago and always remembered it. I was excited to see it added to the plus catalogue, but unfortunately it has been a big disappointment.

The narrator literally gulps for air every ten seconds. This is not an exaggeration. Like big, drawn out inhaling of breath before she starts a new sentence. Sometimes in between sentences. It sounds like she is constantly out of breath and it is very unappetizing. Like someone is gasping for air right next to you. The narration itself is very flat and monotone, too. Background sounds start to appear after a while (like street sounds). Odd pronunciations and stumbling over sentences is left in. The first few minutes of the book are alright, but then the gulping starts. I think this is someone who just sat in her room and pressed record and then just went on, getting more out of breath as she continued. No sound editing afterwards. It really ruins the experience. What a shame since the book itself is absolutely worth listening to. I doubt they will ever do a rerecording since this is an old book and probably not very popular due to the amount of people returning it because of the sound issues. But they really should. I would gladly pay a credit for it if it was properly narrated or even just sound edited.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Treehugger
  • 08-17-20

Amazing story spoilt by flat indifferent narration

I absolutely adore this hauntingly beautiful tale of a young 7th century Aleut woman and her life of hardship and love, which I have read several times in book form. I was hoping to have my enjoyment further deepened by hearing it read aloud.

Unfortunately the narrator Holly Fielding's flat, virtually emotionless monotone voice was a great disappointment. She sounds nasally bunged up too, which is a pity. Even when the author gives explicit directions suitable for a narrator to follow, such as "his voice filled with pride as if his son had taken his first seal", Holly's voice is empty and completely indifferent to the character's emotion. She even ignores punctuation and frequently re-punctuates perfectly good sentences her own way through careless reading. ("He harms no-one but men who have stopped at his beach. Say there is some magic in him..." ) Her flat, indifferent voice is an insult to this wonderful story, as if she's utterly bored by the book.
It was so bad I actually wrote to the author Sue Harrison about it, and she too was really disappointed. Apparently she had no say in the choice of reader and had no idea her wonderful stories were being so indifferently read. Sue is a really lovely lady and it's such a shame Audible picked this awful narrator after all her painstaking research and beautifully expressed storytelling, based on an ancient Aleut legend.

The bare minimum for a narrator is surely to be able to read expressively?! Apparently the bar is set pretty low.

Another minor issue is Holly's incorrect pronunciation of the Aleut words. The correct pronunciation is set out in the paperback version, which the narrator has obviously not read. Her pronunciation is also not consistent. Sometimes she says "Amigie", other times "Amgig" for Amgigh's name. She can't make up her mind about Kayugh. Sometimes he is "Kuyuh" other times "Kiiyoo" or "Kayoo". Cache (an ordinary word in common use!) is pronounced "cashay". Aaarrrgh!!! Just read the bloody glossary, woman! Even some English words are irritatingly mispronounced (limpets become "limPETTes").

I often buy a new book based on the quality of the narrator alone. I would have loved to hear the other books in this series. But Holly Fielding is definitely one to avoid....what a shame.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Celeste Blaize
  • 06-02-22

Poor sound quality

The producer should be fired. The sound quality is so poor and the narrator needs voice coaching. It takes away from what could be an interesting and engaging book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dr G.
  • 04-18-22

Brilliant story marred by the narration

The story in alive and gripping. It is as raw and uncompromising as the lifestyle described. I just ‘ could not put it down’.

The narration just the opposite, a monotonous and unemotive drawl lacking where the tale excels.

Fortunately, the narration fails to kill the experience and I am eagerly starting the next instalment.

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  • Caz
  • 05-15-19

Massively overlooked gem of a series - Enthralling

I'm a huge fan of "Clan of the Cave Bear" and the associated books in that ancient series, and this story of Chagak and the ancient Aleutian existence she experienced is most excellently portrayed in these books. I have no idea how historically accurate the stories are, but that does not mean that this story, told across all three books, is any less enthralling.

I loved them all on first listen and recently revisited the entire series to love it again. I found that this time, even though I knew what was coming, I was willing the characters to change their actions and desperately wanted to warn them of danger and follies that the irony of the story will bring on each character.

Other reviews have been scathing of the narrator, but I had no issue with her voice - in fact I enjoyed the tone and narration, although I can see that it could be annoying as the pronunciations sometimes were unusual. I would like to listen to the "Storyteller Trilogy" by the same author, but cannot engage with its narrator and wish Holly Fielding had been selected for that series as well.

I thoroughly recommend this trilogy and would say that it's one of those that stay with you, so that you miss the characters when it's over.

1 person found this helpful