I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
I love Steinbeck and this has, for many years, been my favorite and was not available on Audible until recently. This early Steinbeck has exceptional writing and numerous elements appearing in his later works, in a pure, condensed, and powerful form. This novel has potent mystical imagery which might not sit well with some religious folks. Perhaps that is why this novel does not get the attention I think it deserves. The excellently narration complements the intensely beautiful and terrible writing. Like the Grapes of Wrath, this is an intense read without a lot of fun but with a thoughtful concentrated unflinching examination of life and death.
Dostoevsky did not write many short stories so this is a rare gem. This is a very, very good short story narrated excellently. It is dark, surprising, touching, and real. A real bargain at a buck (don’t waste a full credit).
This is the first book of an extraordinary seven part novel. I listened to the samples of all the versions available on audible, and as soon as I heard George Guidall’s narration I was hooked. With a narration the least bit pedantic or dry or florid or scholarly this could be quite tiresome. Guidall’s light touch and almost childlike tone was perfect for the story. This is less a story than ephemerally connected evocations, exploring the associations between memory and sense and time. The writing is introspective, complex and beautiful.
The only downside that, after completing this first part, I found this narrator had not read the other parts on Audible. The samples by Rowe and Jason did not entice me. I hope Guidall will narrate the other parts.
"Dead Souls" is a wonderful book. It has all the wit and linguistic dexterity of Dickens, and still is utterly and completely Russian. The elusive "Russian spirit" is on every page. Truly a masterpiece, presented here in a very good translation. The reader does an excellent job, too; his voices do slip here and there, but never for more than a second or two.
There is, however, one thing to note about this audiobook: Gogol intended this to be a three-volume work. In his lifetime, he only published the first volume. He apparently wrote some of the second part, but then burned it. Now, it seems that some fragments of this second part have survived, and these are included in the audiobook. Listening to that half of the audiobook isn't really enjoyable: every time you start to follow the plot, the narrator says "at this point there is a long hiatus in the original" and jumps off to a much later part of the story, complete with new and unfamiliar characters and full of references to events you have no knowledge of. I think the audiobook would have been better without this rather pointless second part, and would recommend stopping after the first.