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ESK

ESK Moscow, Russia Member Since 2011

There are books of the same chemical composition as dynamite. The only difference is that a piece of dynamite explodes once, whereas a book explodes a thousand times. ― Yevgeny Zamyatin

HELPFUL VOTES
176
ratings
REVIEWS
329
58
FOLLOWERS
FOLLOWING
31
1
  • "The Anthology of 'Music-Makers'"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Poetic delight. Lyric ecstasy. Personally, it's the best collection of poems ever. Should you have any doubts about that, look at the list of poems and the narrators.
    (Part I/Disc I)
    1. Autumn from 4 Seasons/Capella Istropiltana - Stephen Gunzenhauser (conductor)
    2. Shakespeare, Seven Ages from As You Like It, Act II Scene VII - Sir Ian McKellen
    3. A Fancy - The Rose Consort Of Viols
    4. Shakespeare, From All the world's a stage: Infant (excerpt) - Sir Ian McKellen
    5. Thom Gunn, Baby Song - Catherine McCormack
    6. Ann Stevenson, The Victory - Richard Jackson
    7. Emily Dickinson, Surgeons - Gayle Hunnicutt
    8. Shakespeare, Fancy from Merchant of Venice, Act III Scene 2 - Mark Rylance
    9. Ogden Nash, Guppy - Prunella Scales
    10. Edward Lear, Quangle Wangle's Hat - Connie Booth
    11. Thomas Hood, I Remember, I Remember - Ralph Fiennes
    12. William Allingham, The Fairies - Juliet Stevenson
    13. Thomas Hood, A Parental Ode - Ralph Fiennes
    14. Robert L. Stevenson, My Shadow - Stella Gonet
    15. Edward Lear, The Owl and the Pussy Cat - John Cleese
    16. A. A. Milne, Sneezles - Andrew Sachs
    17. Lewis Carroll, The Walrus and the Carpenter - Joss Ackland w/ Peter Bayliss
    18. Ted Hughes, Jellyfish - Leo Sayer
    19. G.K. Chesterton, The Donkey - Emma Fielding
    20. Anonymous (or Christopher Isherwood?), The Common Cormorant - Andrew Sachs
    21. R.L. Stevenson, Where Go the Boats - Stella Gonet
    22. Ted Hughes, Crab - Leo Sayer
    23. A.A. Milne, The End - Catherine McCormack
    24. Midsummer Nights Dream (Uphill Down Dale) - Barry Wordsworth (conductor)
    25. Shakespeare, From All the world's a stage: School - Sir Ian McKellen
    26. R.L. Stevenson, To Any Reader - John Sessions
    27. Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood - Ioan Gruffudd
    28. Vernon Watkins, The Collier - Ioan Gruffudd
    29. Shel Silverstein, Sick - Catherine McCormack
    30. John Whitworth, Boring - John Cleese
    31. John Whittier, From The Barefoot Boy - Jenny Agutter
    32. Full Fathom Five from Tempest, Act I Scene 2 - Dame Glenda Jackson
    33. Oscar Wilde, Rosa Mystica - Michael Williams
    34. Rudyard Kipling, A Smuggler's Song - Michael Caine
    35 C. Day Lewis, Walking Away - Timothy West
    36 Hilaire Belloc, Tarantella - Terence Stamp
    37 T.S. Eliot, Macavity - David Suchet
    38 Rudyard Kipling, If - Michael Caine
    39 Shakespeare, From Hamlet: This Above All - Michael Maloney
    40. M. George Whitehead and His Almand - performed by Rose Consort Of Viols
    41. Shakespeare, From All the World's a Stage: Lover - Sir Ian McKellen
    42. W.B. Yeats, The Arrow - Art Malisk
    43. H.W. Longfellow, The Arrow and the Song - HRH The Duchess Of Kent
    44. Rabindranath Tagore, They Who Are Near to Me - Art Malik
    45. Christina Rossetti, The First Day - Felicity Kendal
    46. T.L. Beddoes, From The Song of Torrismond - Janet Suzman
    47. R.S. Bridges, My Delight and Thy Delight - Ralph Fiennes
    48. E.B. Browning, Sonnet 43 - Hannah Gordon
    49. R. Kipling, The Virginity - Terence Stamp
    50. P.B. Shelley, The Longest Journey - Samuel West
    51. Anonymous, We Have Known Treasure - Charles Dance
    52. Shakespeare, Sonnet 138 - Robert Lindsay
    53. C. Rossetti, Echo - Dame Glenda Jackson
    54. R. Tagore, Delusions I Did Cherish - Art Malik
    55. Shakespeare, Sonnet 18 - Dame Glenda Jackson
    56. A. E. Housman, When I Was One-And-Twenty - Pete Postlethwaite
    57. W. B. Yeats, The Mermaid - Juliet Stevenson
    58. Robert Herrick, Upon the Nipples of Julia's Breast - Terence Stamp
    59. Robert Burns, My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose - John Sessions
    60. Shakespeare, Sonnet 116 - Robert Lindsay
    61. D. H. Lawrence, New Year's Eve - Michael Maloney
    62. D. H. Lawrence, Green - Michael Maloney
    63. John Keats, A Thing of Beauty Is a Joy Forever - Mark Rylance

    (Part II/Disc II)
    1. Stravinsky: A Soldier's Tale - Nicholas Ward (conductor)
    2. Shakespeare, From All the world's a stage: Soldier - Sir Ian McKellen
    3. Shakespeare, Prologue from King Henry 5 - Mark Rylance
    4. Julian Grenfell, Into Battle - Juliet Stevenson
    5. W. B. Yeats, An Irish Airman Foresees His Death - William Houston
    6. James Russell Lowell, Once to Every Man and Nation - Dame Judi Dench
    7. Seamus Heaney, Whatever You Say, Say Nothing - William Houston
    8. John McCrea, In Flanders Fields - Robert Powell
    9. Vera Brittain, Perhaps - Dame Judi Dench
    10. Wilfred Owen, Anthem for Doomed Youth - Robert Powell
    11. Wilfred Owen, Dulce at Decorum Est / Lord Owen
    12. Eva Dobell, Pluck - Felicity Kendal
    13. W. H. Auden, From In Memory of W.B. Yeats - Art Malik
    14. John Jarmain, At a War Grave - Michael Malony
    15. John Jarmain, El Alamein - Michael Malony
    16. Ruth Fainlight, Handbag - Prunella Scales
    17. Elsie Cawser , Salvage Song - Michael Maloney
    18. Rudyard Kipling, England - Michael Caine
    19. Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach - Michael Williams
    20. Dan Pagis, Written With a Pencil in a Sealed Wagon - Janet Suzman
    21. John Donne, No Man Is an Island - Ed Bishop
    22. Luis de Narvaez: Fantasia - Shirley Rumsey
    23. Shakespeare, From All the World's a Stage: Wisdom - Sir Ian McKellen
    24. Shakespeare, The Quality of Mercy from Merchant of Venice, Act IV Scene 1 - Ralph Fiennes
    25. John Boyle O’Reilly , What Is Good - Dame Judi Dench
    26. Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass - Art Malik
    27. Anonymous, Addendum to the Ten Commandments - Michael Caine
    28. Geoffrey Chaucer, From The Canterbury Tales: A Student - Emma Fielding
    29. James Leigh Hunt, Abou Ben Adhem - Robert Powell
    30. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Song of Hiawatha (excerpt) - Clarke Peters
    31. William Wordsworth, My Heart Leaps Up - Robert Hardy
    32. William Blake, Auguries of Innocence - Timothy West
    33. William Blake, The Tyger - Timothy West
    34. Emily Dickinson, Of All Souls That Stand Create - Gayle Hunnicutt
    35. Percy Bysshe Shelley, Chorus of Spirits - Prunella Scales
    36. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Kubla Khan - Pete Postlethwaite
    37. Robert Burns, A Man's a Man for A' That - John Sessions
    38. Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken - John Cleese
    39. Anonymous, The Bleed'n' Sparrer - Michael Caine
    40. The King of Denmark's Galiard performed by the Rose Consort of Viols
    41. Shakespeare, From All the World's a Stage: Sixth Age - Sir Ian McKellen
    42. W. B. Yeats, Politics - Michael Caine
    43. Ogden Nash, Peekaboo, I Almost See You - David Suchet
    44. Ogden Nash, Samson Agonistes - David Suchet
    45. John Masefield , Sea Fever - Terence Stamp
    46. Emily Dickinson, Exultation - Gayle Hunnicutt
    47. Morris Bishop, We Have Been Here Before - Charles Dance
    48. Alfred, Lord Tennyson From The Brook - Janet Suzman
    49. William Wordsworth, Upon Westminster Bridge - Robert Hardy
    50. J. Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, A Song of a Young Lady to Her Ancient Lover - Janet Suzman
    51. Robert Burns, John Anderson, My Jo - Stella Gonet
    52. Stanley J. Sharples, In Praise of Cocoa, Cupid's Nightcap - Emma Fielding
    53. Rudyard Kipling, The Way Through the Woods - Art Malik
    54. Christina Rossetti, From Uphill - HRH The Duchess Of Kent
    55. Shakespeare, From All the World's a Stage: Last Scene - Sir Ian McKellen
    56. Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night - Ioan Gruffudd
    57. Christina Rossetti, Song - Jenny Agutter
    58. Leo Marks, Code Poem for the French Resistance - Ralph Fiennes
    59. Emily Dickinson, This World Is Not Conclusion - Gayle Hunnicutt
    60. Robert Louis Stevenson, Requiem - John Sessions
    61. Christina Rossetti, Sleeping at Last - Dame Judi Dench
    62. Shakespeare, Fear No More from Cymbeline, Act IV Scene 2 - Sir Ian McKellen
    63. John Banister Tabb, Evolution/Autumn from Four Seasons (Reprise) - Mark Rylance

    More

    Seven Ages: An Anthology of Poetry with Music

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Ted Hughes
    • Narrated By Ralph Fiennes, Dame Judi Dench
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (51)
    Story
    (49)

    This highly entertaining anthology of verse is the comic, tragic, tender, and telling story of life's seven ages, from childhood to old age. Within the framework of Shakespeare's speech, "The Seven Ages of Man," performed by Sir Ian McKellen, are 150 great poems from all ages, from Chaucer to Emily Dickinson to Walt Whitman and many others. The poem are presented by the finest cast ever assembled on one recording and includes Ralph Fiennes, Dame Judi Dench, John Cleese, Michael Caine, and more.

    ESK says: "The Anthology of 'Music-Makers'"
  • "Masterly reading"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It was delightful to listen to O. Wilde's fairy tales. Just look at the list of the narrators. They are virtuosos! I'm glad I bought the audiobook. It is a gem of my collection. Listening to the fairy tales was a captivating experience.

    More

    Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde: In Aid of the Royal Theatrical Fund

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 54 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By Judi Dench, Jeremy Irons, Joanna Lumley, and others
    Overall
    (95)
    Performance
    (73)
    Story
    (74)

    Here is a collection of the Oscar Wilde's famous fairy tales, read by a cast of leading British actors. Additional narrators include Geoffrey Palmer O.B.E., Sir Donald Sinden, and Elaine Stritch. Music: 'Reverie De Sebastian' by Steve Davies.

    Jefferson says: "Poignant Modern Fairy Tales Wonderfully Read"
  • "The quintessence of Romanticism"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    A collection of P.B. Shelley's best-known works, masterfully read. Here's the list of the poems:
    1.  The opening lines from Queen Mab
    2.  Mutability
    3.  To Wordsworth
    4.  Hymn to Intellectual Beauty
    5.  Ozymandias
    6.  Stanzas written in Dejection near Naples
    7.  From Prometheus Unbound
    8.  The Indian Serenade
    9.  Love's Philosophy
    10.  Ode to the West Wind
    11.  Song to the Men of England
    12.  Sonnet: England in 1819
    13.  The Mask of Anarchy
    14.  The Cloud
    15.  To a Skylark
    16.  from Epipsychidion
    17.  To the Moon
    18.  A Lament
    19.  One word is too often profaned
    20.  Chorus from Hellas
    21.  concluding stanzas from Adonais
    22.  With A Guitar, To Jane
    23.  Song: Rarely, rarely comest thou
    24.  To Jane: The Invitation
    25.  Time
    26.  Lines: 'When the lamp is shattered'
    27.  Music, when soft voices die
    28.  To Jane: The Recollection

    More

    The Great Poets: Percy Bysshe Shelley

    • ABRIDGED (1 hr and 18 mins)
    • By Percy Bysshe Shelley
    • Narrated By Bertie Carvel
    Overall
    (11)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    Idealist, atheist, outcast, political radical and, of course, poet - Percy Bysshe Shelley was, in many ways, the epitome of the Romantic artist. His poetry was an outlet for his passionately held and highly unpopular beliefs, beliefs which resulted in social exclusion, exile, and possibly even his premature death at the age of 29. His work is a monument to his convictions and to the power of the human spirit, and today it is recognized as a key contribution to Romantic literature.

    ESK says: "The quintessence of Romanticism"
  1. Seven Ages: An Anthology ...
  2. Fairy Tales of Oscar Wild...
  3. The Great Poets: Percy By...
  4. .

A Peek at John's Bookshelf

Helpful
Votes
100
 
54 REVIEWS / 61 ratings 15 Followers / Following 0
 
John's greatest hits:
  • The Count of Monte Cristo

    "Ok, so I was buying a lawnmower..."

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    ...and the guy says, "With a lawn as big as yours, you really need a riding mower." I smiled, knowing I had the perfect counterargument to his sales pitch. "That's ok, I have an iPod and I just started The Count of Monte Cristo."

    As the words left my mouth I realized I just forfeited any chance I had that this guy would treat me as a man and a brother. In the horsepower-and-self-propulsion world of your average lawnmower shop, literary discussions are not the ticket to respect. I imaged the thought that was forming under his feed cap: "What a dweeb."

    Instead, his jaw dropped, his eyes popped and he said "That's a great book! I read the unabridged version, and there's a lot of detail, but it's just fantastic!"

    A few weeks later I was catching the train to work. A guard I've become friendly with was supervising the restocking of the vending machines. My train wasn't for a few minutes so I made a detour. After a few casual remarks about the weather the guard noticed the iPod clipped to my jacket and asked what I was listening to. I said The Count of Monte Cristo, with that same shrinking feeling I had at the lawnmower emporium. But the vending guy stood bolt upright, his eyes wide and his hair a-bristle: "That's a great book!"

    I was now convinced I was the only person in the universe who hadn't read The Count of Monte Cristo. And thanks to John Lee and Audible, that flaw in an otherwise blameless upbringing has now been repaired.

    Yes, it includes everything I don't like about 19th Century novels (Jane Austen excluded): it is sloppily, even glutinously sentimental. It is overwrought. It is insanely improbable. It is Gothic. It is Romantic in that overly-ripe, Victorian/Dickensian way that gets under my skin.

    And it is also one of the greatest books I have ever read. Or listened to.

    For all its improbabilities it is true to life. For all it's sentimentality it almost moved me to tears. For all its Gothic cloak-and-dagger antics it is a profoundly, even beautifully Catholic work of literature. It is a big, baggy story full of cul-de-sacs and blind corners, memorable characters and quotable sentences. Yes, the good people are a little too saintly and the bad ones a shade too bad. But what holds it all together is the Count himself. What he suffers, what he does and, finally, what he learns about revenge, forgiveness and redemption are well worth the 56 hour journey. And the lawn looks really good, too.

    John Lee's clean, clear delivery seldom falters. In a six-part audiobook I needed to back up and re-listen only a handful of times to catch something I'd missed. Sometimes the male characters get a little mixed, but that's to be expected in conversations where 4 or 5 are speaking at once. And an invaluable aid to keeping the story straight is supplied by Dumas himself. Since the novel was originally serialized, he's always reminding us of when we last saw a character he's reintroducing to the story--knowing that the newspaper with that vital information has long since been wrapped around a fish in a Parisian gutter.

    I got this one on sale, but even at full price it is a bargain.

  • The Modern Scholar: Masterpieces of Medieval Literature

    "The Kind of Professor I Want My Kids to Have"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    First, there is Professor Shutt's infectious enthusiasm for the works he's discussing and even more for the insights that can be derived from those works. Then there's his openness to cultural concepts (Beowulf's heroic manliness, for example, or the piety of the Dream of the Rood) that aren't that popular in the academy these days. He never resorts to cheap shots at the faith or ideals of the Middle Ages, never lapses into that "chronological snobbery" (C. S. Lewis' term) that assumes everyone and everything that came before us is somehow inherently less worthwhile.

    Instead, he takes you on an amazing journey through many of the high spots of Medieval Literature, one that will either send you back to reread Gawain and the Green Knight and the Lais of Marie de France or send you forward to finally read those Icelandic Sagas and Troubadour lyrics you somehow managed to dodge in your undergrad days. Unlike most of the lectures I've heard in my life, these bear re-listening. Shutt is that rare type of professor who isn't afraid to admire what others marginalize, nor is he embarrassed by the concept of "truth".



  • Big Money

    "Another Dry Martini. Another Perfect Souffle."

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Someone, one of those big-brained chaps no doubt, like Darwin or Shakespeare or Thomas Hardy, once said that trying to describe the pleasure of reading Wodehouse was like trying to describe the perfect dry martini. Similarly, someone else equally brain-burdened likened any attempt at criticizing a Wodehouse story to taking a spade to a souffle.

    Just so. Therefore I'll limit myself to saying this story is standard Wodehouse fare, which means it's a cut above most other humor you're likely to find out there. Another tour of life among the inane and the earnest, the lovelorn and the broke. Of course, it all comes out right in the end. The fun is seeing how that happens. And the fun is also hearing Jonathan Cecil narrate how it happens. Like Frederick Davidson, Cecil gets Wodehouse and never overdoes it, giving the words and the humor the right, light touch.

  • The Scarlet Pimpernel

    "Great Performance, Awful Production"

    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    There are a round dozen recordings of The Scarlet Pimpernel available at Audible. Unabridged, abridged, a radio play featuring the great Leslie Howard and even a version in Italian. I chose the one by David Thorn for three reasons: it is unabridged, it is by far the cheapest and, to my ear anyway, it is the best performance. I’ll add a fourth: it isn’t in Italian.

    These impeccable reasons overcame my uneasiness at the cover art: a sort of CGI nightmare of two humanoids in non-period costumes swooning woodenly toward each other (if that’s possible) in the sort of faux-medieval atmosphere familiar to dedicated gamers (or “Barbie Princess” video viewers). But the real problems started when I hit “play”.

    First, my eager ears were saluted by a gaggle of kids chanting, “This is Audible Kids!” Really? This tale of intrigue and guillotines, set in the complex political atmosphere of Revolutionary, Republican France, riddled with references to Gluck and Burke and Fox, is a kid’s story? Granted, what the good baroness wrote is not great literature—in the pantheon I’d put her somewhere near Ian Fleming: a gifted spinner of tales, observer of people and writer of dialogue. Her book is one of the best examples of an iffy genre: popular historical fiction. I can’t recall another story I’ve seen spoofed more often. Still, this isn't kid’s stuff.

    Next came the musical accompaniment at the beginning and end of every chapter. I suppose it’s meant to cast a spell of mystery and intrigue. What sounds like a synthesized guitar (or harp?) wanders up and down the scale hand-in-hand with a toy piano—or possibly a miniature xylophone? I didn’t know what it reminded me of. And then I got it: 70’s lounge music. I could see the shag-carpeted electric piano, the cocktails with little umbrellas. Next thing I expected was Bill Murray belting out, “Sta-a-a-a-a-r Wars, nothing but Sta-a-a-a-a-r Wars!” (Youtube it if you’re too young to remember.)

    Then I discovered that the chapter divisions on my iPod didn’t sync up with the chapter divisions in the book. Instead, my menu showed eight “chapters”, each an hour-and-some-odd minutes long, each containing several actual chapters. In other words, lose your place and you’re lost.

    And in between every chapter was wedged a generous slab or two of the lounge music. But I shouldn't complain. Those oases of synthesized smarminess served as the next best thing to chapter divisions, making the job of finding your place a little easier.

    But the real problem, the thing that makes this recording a tragedy, is that there are words missing.

    At first it wasn’t so bad. At the end of chapter 5, the last few words of the final sentence actually begin to fade away in order to make room for the dreadful muzak. But at least I could hear them.

    Then, at the end of chapter six, the final sentence didn’t make sense at all. Looking up The Scarlet Pimpernel on the Guttenberg Project, I discovered that the sentence was missing its entire second half—words that reveal a detail I very much needed to hear if the story was to make any sense later on. The same thing happens at the end of chapter seven, the middle of chapters thirteen and fourteen and, I have no doubt elsewhere in places I didn’t notice. Admittedly, these later gaps are not nearly as crucial. Still, they’re flaws any competent producer would have caught.

    I called this a tragedy but that’s too strong a word. This is simply a waste. Because David Thorn’s performance—his delineation of character, his pacing, his ability to keep several simultaneous voices (and the narration) distinct and vivid—is very good. It is a shame that his fine performance should be marred by such slipshod production. And it’s a shame that such a good yarn—a story that has come, like the Three Musketeers, to define our collective image of the period in which it is set—should be robbed of it’s full vigor.

    I can give you no better proof of that vigor than by saying that, in spite of all the production flaws, I persevered because I was hopelessly hooked. It really is a glorious, swashbuckling rip-snorter of a story. Yes, at heart it is a bodice-ripper. The horns of Lady Blakeney’s various dilemmas are dwelt upon ad nauseum. One more reference to “a woman’s heart” and I probably would have given up. But there is good writing here and even shrewd insights.

    For example, this description of an empty dining room is something of a tour de force:

    “When Chauvelin reached the supper-room it was quite deserted. It had that woebegone, forsaken, tawdry appearance, which reminds one so much of a ball-dress, the morning after.

    “Half-empty glasses littered the table, unfolded napkins lay about, the chairs—turned towards one another in groups of twos and threes—very close to one another—in the far corners of the room, which spoke of recent whispered flirtations, over cold game-pie and champagne; there were sets of three and four chairs, that recalled pleasant, animated discussions over the latest scandal; there were chairs straight up in a row that still looked starchy, critical, acid, like antiquated dowager; there were a few isolated, single chairs, close to the table, that spoke of gourmands intent on the most recherche dishes, and others overturned on the floor, that spoke volumes on the subject of my Lord Grenville's cellars.

    “It was a ghostlike replica, in fact, of that fashionable gathering upstairs; a ghost that haunts every house where balls and good suppers are given; a picture drawn with white chalk on grey cardboard, dull and colourless, now that the bright silk dresses and gorgeously embroidered coats were no longer there to fill in the foreground, and now that the candles flickered sleepily in their sockets.”

    Not bad. Not bad at all.

    Then there are keen observations that get at the heart of the paradoxes of the French Revolution and, indeed, of all modern totalitarianism:

    “On seeing the strangers…[the innkeeper] paused in the middle of the room… looked at them, with even more withering contempt than he had bestowed upon his former guests, and muttered, "Sacrrree soutane!"

    “[One of the newcomers] had taken a quick step forward towards Brogard. He was dressed in the soutane, broad-brimmed hat and buckled shoes habitual to the French cure, but as he stood opposite the innkeeper, he threw open his soutane for a moment, displaying the tri-colour scarf of officialism, which sight immediately had the effect of transforming Brogard's attitude of contempt, into one of cringing obsequiousness.”

    In other words, the political saviors have quickly become even more terrifying (and hateful) than even the Church that had supposedly been oppressing everyone so ruthlessly up until then.

    Long story short: this is a good book and a very good performance, hampered by lamentable production. Which is probably why it was the cheapest.

Ian

Ian Farnborough, United Kingdom 09-14-12 Member Since 2003
HELPFUL VOTES
323
ratings
REVIEWS
149
66
FOLLOWERS
FOLLOWING
59
1
  • "I should hate this - but I don't."

    29 of 30 helpful votes

    This book has all the things which annoy me about supposed "great" literature.

    It is excessively poetic. (Not a fan of poetry).
    It is wordy for the sake of it. (Big fan of directness).
    There is relatively little direct narrative. (I like a plain and simple central thread).
    Its full of clever devices. (Like my English not mucked about with)

    But it is magnificent! I'm pretty sure that I didn't properly follow a lot of it but it doesn't matter. Some of the words made no sense but the sounded beautiful. Some of the scenes were meaningless to me but they were magic to listen to. The whole thing was a joy to listen to.

    One of the other reviewers suggest that you should be familiar with this book in print before listening to this but I disagree. I suspect that if I had tried to read this from paper I would have made it t about page 12 before throwing it out of a window. It was made to be read out loud and if there is a better version available than this I'm not sure I would be able to cope with it.

    Jim Norton gives each character just enough depth to make him distinguishable wthout creating any cartoon Irishmen in the process. There are a few sections read in a female voice. (Marcella Riordan - who should get a narrators credit). Double handed narration can be clumsy but this is perfectly judged. Overall - an excellent listen.


    More

    Ulysses

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 21 mins)
    • By James Joyce
    • Narrated By Jim Norton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (642)
    Performance
    (373)
    Story
    (360)

    Ulysses is regarded by many as the single most important novel of the 20th century. It tells the story of one day in Dublin, June 16th 1904, largely through the eyes of Stephen Dedalus (Joyce's alter ego from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man) and Leopold Bloom, an advertising salesman. Both begin a normal day, and both set off on a journey around the streets of Dublin, which eventually brings them into contact with one another.

    Peter says: "Ulysses (Unabridged)"

What's Trending in Classics:

  • 4.8 (191 ratings)
    To Kill a Mockingbird (






UNABRIDGED) by Harper Lee Narrated by Sissy Spacek

    To Kill a Mockingbird

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Harper Lee
    • Narrated By Sissy Spacek
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (191)
    Performance
    (175)
    Story
    (179)

    Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep south - and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred, available now for the first time as a digital audiobook. One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than 40 languages, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the 20th century by librarians across the country.

    Alan says: "Stunning"
  • 4.8 (172 ratings)
    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Volume 1: The Treason of Isengard (






UNABRIDGED) by J.R.R. Tolkien Narrated by Rob Inglis

    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Volume 1: The Treason of Isengard

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By J.R.R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    Overall
    (172)
    Performance
    (101)
    Story
    (104)

    Frodo and the Companions of the Ring have been beset by danger during their quest to prevent the Ruling Ring from falling into the hands of the Dark Lord by destroying it in the Cracks of Doom. Now they continue their journey alone down the great River Anduin, alone, that is, save for the mysterious creeping figure that follows wherever they go.

    Catherine says: "third book of the series"
  • 4.8 (26 ratings)
    Time Regained: Remembrance of Things Past, Volume 7 (






UNABRIDGED) by Marcel Proust Narrated by Neville Jason

    Time Regained: Remembrance of Things Past, Volume 7

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Marcel Proust
    • Narrated By Neville Jason
    Overall
    (26)
    Performance
    (25)
    Story
    (25)

    Lost in the blacked-out streets of Paris during the First World War, Marcel stumbles into a brothel and accidentally witnesses a shocking scene involving the Baron de Charlus. Later, at a reception given by the Prince de Guermates, his meditations on the passage of time lead to his determination to embark on his life's work at last.

    Darwin8u says: "Full of emotional/intellectual/experiential joules"
  • 4.9 (21 ratings)
    Master i Margarita [The Master and Margarita] (






UNABRIDGED) by Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov Narrated by Vladimir Ivanovich Samoylov

    Master i Margarita [The Master and Margarita]

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov
    • Narrated By Vladimir Ivanovich Samoylov
    Overall
    (21)
    Performance
    (19)
    Story
    (18)

    Master i Margarita - "posledniy zakatnyy" roman M.A. Bulgakova, roman zaveshchanie, voskresshiy iz pepla unichtozhennoy avtorom pervoy redaktsii. V Mastere i Margarite fantastika natalkivaetsya na realizm, mif na istoricheskuyu dostovernost, teosofiya na demonizm, romantika na klounadu.

  •  
  • 4.8 (19 ratings)
    Classical Archaeology of Ancient Greece and Rome  by The Great Courses Narrated by Professor John R. Hale

    Classical Archaeology of Ancient Greece and Rome

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor John R. Hale
    Overall
    (19)
    Performance
    (16)
    Story
    (16)

    Over the years, Classical archaeology has evolved from a pastime of collectors and antiquarians to a mature science. Today, the field is a multidisciplinary effort that involves not only traditional diggers, but also geologists, geographers, anthropologists, and linguists.These 36 lectures introduce you to this fascinating field of study. Professor Hale guides you through dozens of ancient sites with the skill of a born storyteller.

    Marcheta says: "Excellent material and presentation"
  • 4.8 (16 ratings)
    Complete Short Stories, Volume Two (






UNABRIDGED) by W. Somerset Maugham Narrated by Charlton Griffin

    Complete Short Stories, Volume Two

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By W. Somerset Maugham
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (16)
    Performance
    (15)
    Story
    (14)

    In June 1917, W. S. Maugham was asked by the British Secret Intelligence Service, to undertake a special mission in Russia to support Kerensky's government. The mission failed, and two and a half months later, the Bolsheviks took control. Maugham subsequently said that if he had been able to get there six months earlier, he might have succeeded. Quiet and observant, Maugham had a good temperament for intelligence work. The writer used his spying experiences as the basis for his collection of short stories called Ashenden: Or the British Agent. They became the prototype for the modern espionage novel.

  • 4.8 (14 ratings)
    Anne of Avonlea: Anne of Green Gables, Book 2 (






UNABRIDGED) by L. M. Montgomery Narrated by Laurie Klein

    Anne of Avonlea: Anne of Green Gables, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 20 mins)
    • By L. M. Montgomery
    • Narrated By Laurie Klein
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (12)

    This is the second story in the Anne of Green Gables series. Skinny little red-haired Anne has changed into a pretty 16-year-old and is all grown up - well, sort of grown up. The story opens with Anne as a school teacher at Avonlea school. When Anne reached the school that first morning, she was confronted by prim rows of "shining morning faces". She had sat up until nearly midnight composing a speech which she had revised and improved painstakingly. It was a wonderful speech with fine ideas. And then, she couldn't remember it!

    Susie says: "Good story and perfect narrator"
  • 4.8 (13 ratings)
    Tom Jones: The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (






UNABRIDGED) by Henry Fielding Narrated by Bill Homewood

    Tom Jones: The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling

    • UNABRIDGED (37 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Henry Fielding
    • Narrated By Bill Homewood
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Tom Jones, a foundling, is brought up by the kindly Mr. Allworthy as if he were his own son. Forced to leave the house as a young man after tales of his disgraceful behavior reach his benefactor's ears, he sets out in utter despair, not only because of his banishment but because he has now lost all hope of gaining the hand of the beautiful Sophia. But she too is forced to flee her parental home to escape an undesirable marriage and their stories and adventures intertwine.

    Lawrence says: "Fantastic narration"
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  • 4.9 (13 ratings)
    The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I (






UNABRIDGED) by Edward Gibbon Narrated by David Timson

    The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Edward Gibbon
    • Narrated By David Timson
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    Some 250 years after its first publication, Gibbon's Decline and Fall is still regarded as one of the greatest histories in Western literature. He reports on more than 1,000 years of an empire which extended from the most northern and western parts of Europe to deep into Asia and Africa and covers not only events but also the cultural and religious developments that effected change during that time.

    Allen L. Harris says: "DAVID TIMSON IS AMAZING!"
  • The Bonfire of the Vanities (






UNABRIDGED) by Tom Wolfe Narrated by Joe Barrett

    The Bonfire of the Vanities

    • UNABRIDGED (27 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Tom Wolfe
    • Narrated By Joe Barrett
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (862)
    Performance
    (432)
    Story
    (439)

    Tom Wolfe's best-selling modern classic tells the story of Sherman McCoy, an elite Wall Street bond trader who has it all: wealth, power, prestige, a Park Avenue apartment, a beautiful wife, and an even more beautiful mistress - until one wrong turn sends Sherman spiraling downward into a humiliating fall from grace. A car accident in the Bronx involving Sherman, his girlfriend, and two young lower-class black men sets a match to the incendiary racial and social tensions of 1980s New York City.

    JOHN says: "TEN STARS"
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (






UNABRIDGED) by L. Frank Baum Narrated by Anne Hathaway

    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

    • UNABRIDGED (3 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By L. Frank Baum
    • Narrated By Anne Hathaway
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1918)
    Performance
    (1777)
    Story
    (1768)

    One of the best-known stories in American culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over 100 years. Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Alice In Wonderland), fresh from filming one of this year’s most anticipated films, The Dark Knight Rises, lends her voice to this uniquely American fairy tale.

    Thug4life says: "Great for family car ride"
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (






UNABRIDGED) by Harper Lee Narrated by Sissy Spacek

    To Kill a Mockingbird

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Harper Lee
    • Narrated By Sissy Spacek
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (191)
    Performance
    (175)
    Story
    (179)

    Harper Lee’s Pulitzer prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep south - and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred, available now for the first time as a digital audiobook. One of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than 40 languages, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the 20th century by librarians across the country.

    Alan says: "Stunning"
  • The Hobbit (






UNABRIDGED) by J. R. R. Tolkien Narrated by Rob Inglis

    The Hobbit

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (8410)
    Performance
    (7559)
    Story
    (7678)

    Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire. But when a wandering wizard captivates him with tales of the unknown, Bilbo becomes restless. Soon he joins the wizard’s band of homeless dwarves in search of giant spiders, savage wolves, and other dangers. Bilbo quickly tires of the quest for adventure and longs for the security of his familiar home. But before he can return to his life of comfort, he must face the greatest threat of all.

    Darwin8u says: "Victory after all, I suppose!"
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  • T'was the Night Before Christmas (






ABRIDGED) by Clement Clark Moore Narrated by John William Cawthorne

    T'was the Night Before Christmas

    • ABRIDGED (3 mins)
    • By Clement Clark Moore
    • Narrated By John William Cawthorne
    Overall
    (39)
    Performance
    (28)
    Story
    (32)

    This is a wonderful rendition, set to the overture of "The Nutcracker", of the timeless Christmas classic by Moore to be enjoyed again and again from season to season.

    Marigold Galore says: "just lovely!"
  • The Fellowship of the Ring: Book One in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (






UNABRIDGED) by J. R. R. Tolkien Narrated by Rob Inglis

    The Fellowship of the Ring: Book One in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (4306)
    Performance
    (3869)
    Story
    (3944)

    The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume in the trilogy, tells of the fateful power of the One Ring. It begins a magnificent tale of adventure that will plunge the members of the Fellowship of the Ring into a perilous quest and set the stage for the ultimate clash between the powers of good and evil.

    Ellen says: "At last - The Definitive Recording!"
  • 1984: New Classic Edition (






UNABRIDGED) by George Orwell Narrated by Simon Prebble

    1984: New Classic Edition

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By George Orwell
    • Narrated By Simon Prebble
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (3751)
    Performance
    (2316)
    Story
    (2349)

    George Orwell depicts a gray, totalitarian world dominated by Big Brother and its vast network of agents, including the Thought Police - a world in which news is manufactured according to the authorities' will and people live tepid lives by rote. Winston Smith, a hero with no heroic qualities, longs only for truth and decency. But living in a social system in which privacy does not exist and where those with unorthodox ideas are brainwashed or put to death, he knows there is no hope for him.

    Jay Stone says: "Enduring Classic"
  • A Tale of Two Cities [Tantor] (






UNABRIDGED) by Charles Dickens Narrated by Simon Vance

    A Tale of Two Cities [Tantor]

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Simon Vance
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (821)
    Performance
    (622)
    Story
    (651)

    A Tale of Two Cities is one of Charles Dickens's most exciting novels. Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, it tells the story of a family threatened by the terrible events of the past. Doctor Manette was wrongly imprisoned in the Bastille for 18 years without trial by the aristocratic authorities.

    Teddy says: "Truly a Classic"
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  • The Two Towers: Book Two in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (






UNABRIDGED) by J. R. R. Tolkien Narrated by Rob Inglis

    The Two Towers: Book Two in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2906)
    Performance
    (2620)
    Story
    (2676)

    The Two Towers is the second volume of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic saga, The Lord of the Rings. The Fellowship has been forced to split up. Frodo and Sam must continue alone towards Mount Doom, where the One Ring must be destroyed. Meanwhile, at Helm’s Deep and Isengard, the first great battles of the War of the Ring take shape. In this splendid, unabridged audio production of Tolkien’s great work, all the inhabitants of a magical universe - hobbits, elves, and wizards - spring to life. Rob Inglis’ narration has been praised as a masterpiece of audio.

    Anna says: "Thank you, Audible! Tolkien at long last!"
  • The Grapes of Wrath (






UNABRIDGED) by John Steinbeck Narrated by Dylan Baker

    The Grapes of Wrath

    • UNABRIDGED (21 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By John Steinbeck
    • Narrated By Dylan Baker
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1449)
    Performance
    (1266)
    Story
    (1272)

    At once naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s, The Grapes of Wrath is perhaps the most American of American classics. Although it follows the movement of thousands of men and women and the transformation of an entire nation during the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s, The Grapes of Wrath is also the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads, who are forced to travel west to the promised land of California.

    Dan Harlow says: "Almost more relevant now than when it was written"
  • The Return of the King: Book Three in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (






UNABRIDGED) by J. R. R. Tolkien Narrated by Rob Inglis

    The Return of the King: Book Three in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 18 mins)
    • By J. R. R. Tolkien
    • Narrated By Rob Inglis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2637)
    Performance
    (2367)
    Story
    (2417)

    The Return of the King is the towering climax to J. R. R. Tolkien’s trilogy that tells the saga of the hobbits of Middle-earth and the great War of the Rings. In this concluding volume, Frodo and Sam make a terrible journey to the heart of the Land of the Shadow in a final reckoning with the power of Sauron. In addition to narrating the prose passages, Rob Inglis sings the trilogy’s songs and poems a capella, using melodies composed by Inglis and Claudia Howard, the Recorded Books studio director.

    Natalie says: "Finally!"
  • Dracula [Audible Edition] (






UNABRIDGED) by Bram Stoker Narrated by Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren, Susan Duerden, John Lee, Graeme Malcolm, Steven Crossley

    Dracula [Audible Edition]

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Bram Stoker
    • Narrated By Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, and others
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2208)
    Performance
    (2012)
    Story
    (2035)

    The modern audience hasn't had a chance to truly appreciate the unknowing dread that readers would have felt when reading Bram Stoker's original 1897 manuscript. Most modern productions employ campiness or sound effects to try to bring back that gothic tension, but we've tried something different. By returning to Stoker's original storytelling structure - a series of letters and journal entries voiced by Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, and other characters - with an all-star cast of narrators, we've sought to recapture its originally intended horror and power.

    N. Houghton says: "Gothic Horror Never Sounded So Good"
  • Joe Harwell Classics Presents Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol: A Story That's Not Just for Christmas (






UNABRIDGED) by Joe Harwell Narrated by W.B. Ward

    Joe Harwell Classics Presents Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol: A Story That's Not Just for Christmas

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 53 mins)
    • By Joe Harwell
    • Narrated By W.B. Ward
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Ebenezer Scrooge is a man who does not recognize the true riches of life, which is the friendship of family and friends. He goes out of his way not to give to others, even those with great need and especially at Christmas. The experiences brought upon Ebenezer on Christmas Eve show him the error of his ways and what he's lost out on by being miserly.

  • Rikki-Tikki-Tavi (






UNABRIDGED) by Rudyard Kipling Narrated by Phillip J. Mather

    Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

    • UNABRIDGED (40 mins)
    • By Rudyard Kipling
    • Narrated By Phillip J. Mather
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Rudyard Kipling's classic tale (first published in The Jungle Book, and considered by many to be the best of those stories) details the fearless exploits of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, a young mongoose whom misadventure had fortuitously brought to live at the bungalow of an expatriate British family in India. Rikki Tikki through great presence of mind, fortitude, and simply by being a mongoose saves the family from the murderous intent of two cobras.

  • The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies (






UNABRIDGED) by Beatrix Potter Narrated by Sharon Hoyland

    The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies

    • UNABRIDGED (8 mins)
    • By Beatrix Potter
    • Narrated By Sharon Hoyland
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    This charming tale has been enchanting children worldwide for four generations. Brought to life with crisp articulation and beautiful acoustic guitar, everyone will enjoy this updated creation.

  • The Old Apple Dealer (






UNABRIDGED) by Nathaniel Hawthorne Narrated by Glenn Hascall

    The Old Apple Dealer

    • UNABRIDGED (14 mins)
    • By Nathaniel Hawthorne
    • Narrated By Glenn Hascall
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Before there was 'mall watching' there was Nathaniel Hawthorne. Watching a poor apple seller at the local railroad allows the author to share how he became connected to the old man and what he learned from him. There is no indication that the author actually spoke to the man, but you may just leave empathizing with a man observed.

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  • The Stories of Frederick Busch (






UNABRIDGED) by Frederick Busch, Elizabeth Strout (editor) Narrated by Chris Sorensen

    The Stories of Frederick Busch

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By Frederick Busch, Elizabeth Strout (editor)
    • Narrated By Chris Sorensen
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    The stories in this volume, selected by Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout, are tales of families trying to heal their wounds, save their marriages, and rescue their children. In "Ralph the Duck," a security guard struggles to hang on to his marriage. In "Name the Name," a traveling teacher attends to students outside the school, including his own son, locked in a country jail. In Busch's work, we are reminded that we have no idea what goes on behind closed doors or in the mind of another.

  • The Man Who Stole a Meeting House (






UNABRIDGED) by John Townsend Trowbridge Narrated by Cathy Dobson

    The Man Who Stole a Meeting House

    • UNABRIDGED (39 mins)
    • By John Townsend Trowbridge
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    A group of travellers are telling increasingly tall tales about horse thieves and robbers...but one traveller's story trumps the lot. It is the story of a miserly farmer who steals a meeting house and carries it off. But his plans do not go at all as he expects...

  • The Best American Short Stories (






UNABRIDGED) by Edgar Allan Poe, Hermann Melville, Mark Twain, O. Henry, Ambrose Bierce, Kate Chopin, Sherwood Anderson Narrated by Cathy Dobson

    The Best American Short Stories

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Edgar Allan Poe, Hermann Melville, Mark Twain, and others
    • Narrated By Cathy Dobson
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    A wonderful collection of short stories" by some of the all-time great American writers: 1. "The Diamond Lens" by Fitz James O’Brien; 2. "Titbottom’s Spectacles" by George William Curtis; 3. "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Edgar Allan Poe; 4. "The Eyes of the Panther" by Ambrose Bierce; 5. "The Lightning Rod Man" by Hermann Melville; 6. "Seeds" by Sherwood Anderson; 7. "Who Was She?" by Bayard Taylor; 8. "The Man who stole a Meeting House" by John Townsend Trowbridge; 9. "Memoirs of a Yellow Dog" by O. Henry

  • Charles Dickens and the Making of 'A Christmas Carol' (






UNABRIDGED) by Michael Norris Narrated by Tanya S. Bartlett

    Charles Dickens and the Making of 'A Christmas Carol'

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 14 mins)
    • By Michael Norris
    • Narrated By Tanya S. Bartlett
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    In this penetrating study narrated by leading British voice artist Tanya S. Bartlett, Michael Norris tells the complete story behind Dickens' writing of the book. Norris dives deep into his topic to discover the altruistic angels and monetary demons which drove Dickens, the public debates and rancor which informed him, and the terrible childhood memories which both haunted and inspired him.