T.S. Eliots words are exsquisit as always. I've read them many times.
I was very disappointed in this audio version, however. The background music is LOUD and overpowering. At times I could not make out the words AT ALL for the overpowering background music. In addition, there are times when the narrator uses a really annoying, unnecessary hallow echo effect as if speaking into a metal tube. It is distracting, strange and not needed. Really. Just Elliot's words are enough. Just read his words, please. No cheesy, silly, over powering music or special effects are necessary.
Up front, I will admit, I was expecting more straight poetry reading than commentary. However, this audible offering is mostly a lecture on the lives, learning, deaths, influences, and poetry analysis of Sexton and Plath. There was very little actual poetry.
However, my biggest complaint was with the audio quality. This sounds like an old and porrly done casset tape recording of a lecture a student took while in class, or a terrible phone connection on some radio show. In addition, the lectuer speaks very fast, stumbles of her words, sometimes says the wrong word and has to repeat. She also repeats statements and ideas and analysis more than once, which I find irritating.
Overall, not a good offering. If there is a sample available, I suggest listening to it before purchase.
Audiophile since the days I had to check 'em out on rickety cassette tapes at the local library. Currently working the other side of production as an author of romance and scifi/fantasy.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this book has been sold to us all wrong. Show of hands: who among you has heard mention of either The Iliad or The Odyssey and rolled your eyes over yet another "classic" work of fiction forced on unsuspecting high school students meant to bore us into submission? Dudes, this is seriously one of the most exciting books I've ever read. It's practically a ... Um, who's the current go-to action hero actor? Anyways, this is the movie he would star in. It's like if you took Quentin Tarantino to ancient Greece, told him to find inspiration, then let him go gonzo on the script without limits.
What's weird is that I thought I hadn't read this, somehow escaping it through my academic career. What I realized later was that I had read parts of it in my "Gender in the Classical World" honors lit class my freshman year of college. (I remembered only when I came on the tale of Circe. I remember having a quiz on this and failing horribly, because I didn't understand the context, but let's not go into a discussion of how poorly my high school prepared its students for the world of higher education.) Even then, I didn't enjoy the book, because the focus was on analyzing. No fault on the instructor; that's appropriate for a college course. But seriously, I feel like I missed out on taking in a landscape painting by a master, because someone blotted out all the canvas excepting a single blade of grass.
I have to admit, there were a few points that made me cringe as a modern reader, but one has to remind themselves that Homer reflected the values and morals of his time, not mine. Still, it was hard to stomach that Penelope is exalted for her commitment to Odysseus, remaining true to him for twenty years. Meantime Odysseus while trying to get home to her has no qualms about being sexed up by whatever goddess or nymph takes a fancy to him, and that's considered okay. Different times, different expectations...
You know why Homer has been passed down and survived through the centuries? Not because he gives us a picture into an ancient culture, religion, and history. Not because of its consequential anthropological richness. Not even because of its lyric quality for those who can read it in its original tongue. (ee cummings proved that language could be beautiful for beauty's sake without being purposeful.) It's because it's one hell of a story, and takes you on one-- actually numerous thrilling, epic adventures.
AUDIOBOOK notes: Ian McKellen's rendition was superior. However, I can't give the audiobook performance in whole 5 stars due to production value. This seriously needs to be remastered. It was obviously adopted for digital format from a copy of the tape production. Numerous times between chapters there was a huge change in the audio quality (getting softer, slowing down, sounding warped, etc.) There were even a few parts where there were "hiccups" in the flow, ie where a few words blotted out.