Painter, musician, bibliophile...
This second collection of "Great Classic Stories" is just as rewarding as the first, with something for everyone, including comedy, tragedy, suspense, and romance.
From Huxley's brassy lunchtime companion to the sad teller of Gilbert's love story, nearly every story reveals an unforgettable character or two, and the narrators are first-rate. I particularly enjoyed Bill Wallis and Simon Vance.
Here are the stories in order:
YOUNG GOODMAN BROWN by Nathaniel Hawthorne
THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO by Edgar Allan Poe
COUSIN WILLIAM by Harriet Beecher Stowe
HOW I EDITED AN AGRICULTURAL PAPER by Mark Twain
A PIECE OF STRING by Guy de Maupassant
ANGELA, AN INVERTED LOVE STORY by W. S. Gilbert
THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE ROSE by Oscar Wilde
THE STORY OF AN HOUR by Kate Chopin
A JURY OF HER PEERS by Susan Glaspell
ARABY by James Joyce
THE MARK ON THE WALL by Virginia Woolf
THE INTERLOPERS by Saki
HEAD AND SHOULDERS by F. Scott Fitzgerald
THE STRANGER by Katherine Mansfield
THE BLIND MAN by D. H. Lawrence
NUNS AT LUNCHEON by Aldous Huxley
There is no list of stories on the description, so I hope this helps. Here we have:
THE BRUTE (1906) "Strange are the instruments of providence," Conrad says, as he relates the story of a very odd ship.
THE LAGOON (1897) While traveling through a rainforest, a man must stop for the night. There he hears a story of filial deception and betrayal.
YOUTH (1898) Veteran sailors sit drinking as Marlow looks back to a time a couple of decades earlier when he was a second mate on a ship called the Judea.
THE INFORMER (1906) Our narrator is introduced to "Mr X" through a friend in Paris. While Mr. X espouses anarchist ideals, he is nonetheless steeped to the bone in self-indulgent luxury. He shows his host how the two seemingly contradictory things can dovetail quite neatly when the circumstances are right.
Richard Mitchley is a pleasant narrator of British stories. (He's very good on the trio of Bram Stoker stories, too).
As ever, one wonders at Conrad's skill both at telling a compelling tale and in writing in what was his third language (after Polish and French).
Poe is a favorite of mine, so I've heard a lot of great actors narrate his stories over the years: Christopher Lee, Basil Rathbone, Vincent Price, to name a few.
I wasn't expecting a narration of that level, though. I was just looking for a complete collection of the short stories. Sadly, the narration makes it almost impossible to enjoy listening to it.
Thomley's narration is flat and without any affect, more suited to the reading of a dry history than masterful tales of suspense, mystery, and humor.
Also, his mispronunciations are like fingernails on a chalkboard. Poe is strewn with Latin, French, and German. It is not unreasonable to expect a narrator of Poe to be able to pronounce the words with basic proficiency.
But for three dollars, you do get all the stories, including some of those rare treats that hardly appear in other collections, such as his humorous tales. I particularly love "The Angel of the Odd." Poe's twisted sense of fun is all too often eclipsed by his more macabre works.
You be the judge. It is a bargain of sorts, but don't expect too much.
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.