trying to see the world with my ears
This is my favorite of the Chronicles of Barsetshire. If someone had told me six months ago that I'd ever even pick up a Trollope novel, I would have needed smelling salts. After recently coming across the very clever Trollope Society web site, I thought there must be some merit to the man's works and downloaded The Warden. I enjoyed every book in the series. There's no Dickenesque social problem exposition, but clever observations on human nature, some nice Victorian prose, lots of opportunity to "read between the lines," and for a Victorian man, some protofeminist ideas (but, unfortunately, he wasn't above his era's racism). I still don't think I would "read" Trollope, but I will listen to everything Audible offers for download. (very good narration though the entire series, too)
Felix is not a five, but better than a four. I found Eliot's Middlemarsh, Daniel Deronda, and Adam Bede to be more satisfying reads all round. Like Adam Bede, Felix Holt starts with a great deal of exposition that might put off some listeners --but If you like 19th century British lit and/or social history - or even engaging characters and action in "historical fiction" this (once you are past the opening exposition), is very satisfying. I think it much stronger as a novel and more engaging than Bronte's Shirley, for ex.
If you are new to Eliot, then think Austen meets all the Bronte sisters with a touch of Dickens, and a good bit more implicit feminism.
This listen managed to combine my two favorite types of lit - realistic depiction of another period (especially its social history) and reflection on faith in a troubled world.
I listened to this shortly after the more contemporary "Foreskin's Lament" and "Disobedience" -- and although I enjoyed those two (each in their own way)-- oh, how I wish I had listened to this first!
In addition to a beautiful "coming of age" portrait of two young Americans in the WWII/post war era, what a compassionate depiction of Jewish faith coming to terms with modernism! As other reviews point out, the novel portrays universal truths while giving outsiders to the Jewish faith a glimpse of its richness and diversity in the story's specifics. There are enough symbolism and imagery to satisfy a reader/listener without the literary complexity that demands much effort to digest.
I thank the reviewer who named Potok's follow-up novel, but since that is not on Audible (yet), I think as a follow-up, I will re-listen to Doctorow's "City of God" and hope for a re-release of "The Promise."
Our Mutual Friend is quintessential Dickens: memorable, sometimes over the top characters; decent plot; some fine descriptive writing; quite a bit of tedious sentimentality; biting satire directed against the ignorant, pompous rich on behalf of he honest poor. I found it a much more satisfying novel than Dombey and Son, and except for a few of the stretched out mawkish passages, pretty engaging.
David Timson's narration is simply brilliant. I cannot imagine it being bettered. He gives each character a distinctive voice that is wonderfully well matched to the personality, sex, age, and social station of each individual. To do this so well obviously takes a great deal of preparation. insight, and theatrical ability. He should receive an award for this reading. It's that good.