Emma ranks high. Stevenson's performance is masterly, and really, I can't think why I was so surprised, given that she is a favourite actor.
Miss Bates. I can't help but think that Stevenson drew on Sophie Thompson's wonderful Miss Bates from the 1996 film Adaptation of the book for her own rendering. Miss Bates is a mad, lovely, and favourite of the characters of Emma, and I've loved Thompson's Bates since I first saw the film. She's like a kitten with wings, fluttering around in a squeaky and endearing way, and clumsily bumping into walls. Stevenson could readily be confused for Thompson.
The personalities are bang on. From the first time each character appears you KNOW what they are, because of Stevenson's acting. She really is brilliant. All her voices are fantastic and so distinct, and very few actually sound like Stevenson herself.
Emma's realisation of herself toward the end really cuts to the quick.
I'm not a fan of Emma. I prefer Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice by far, but because of Juliet Stevenson I foresee much re-listening to Emma in future. Highly recommended!
I've loved Jane Austen's novels for a long time, but I recently decided to go on a little audio-version kick. I'm not going to review the novel itself, but I will say that Juliet Stevenson's performance of this novel is outstanding. Her Harriet is just a bit ditzy, her Mrs. Elton is properly condescending, her Mr. Knightly stern and upright.
Whether you're already an Austen fan or you just want to know what the fuss is about, this is a great recording to go with.
Live life Joyfully!
I find that audible books allow you to savour moments in the story that one tends to rush otherwise keeping pace with story. As such, I appreciated Austen's writing in a new way. Juliet Stevenson eloquently brings each character to life. I love both, and intend to experience them again and again
Emma's horror at who Harriet is in love with is priceless as are the conversations between Mr Knightley and Emma, always entertaining.
Ooh, difficult question without giving the story away, but I'm a romantic so the confession of reciprocated love is my favourite
If only time allowed, work and life interfered, but yes!
Buy it, love it, crave to hear it again!
Juliet Stephenson's performance is, again, phenomenal. Her gift is, at least, worthy of the great works she narrates. (I can vouch, at least, for this fact in Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook; the auditory experience of which not only did that great and beloved book 'justice,' but revealed layers I'd missed in my own previous readings.)
Especially praiseworthy is the distinctness of each character's narration; one rarely questions whether a particular snippet of dialogue belongs to Emma, her father, or her young charge, Miss Harriet Smith - etc. Those of us who take in these readings while simultaneously engaged in other necessary pursuits - housecleaning or driving, for instance, may be particularly grateful for this.
Alternatively, if one has been too intimidated - or simply overwhelmed with other duties - to read certain classics in the past, one could not hope for a better introduction than that which Stephenson makes possible. (While I'd previously read - and thoroughly fallen in love with - the aforementioned book by Lessing - this audiobook has been my first introduction to Jane Austen, and now I find myself alternating between the narration and a Kindle edition, highlighting especially brilliant passages - each complementing the other quite richly. And, even better, I am able to manage this while juggling all sorts of motherly and other responsibilities.)
In short: I would listen to Juliet Stephenson's reading of a phone book - but, blessedly, she narrates classic works instead, bringing them to life in unexpectedly vivid ways. ***APPLAUSE.***
Emma is delightful. The people around her, her family, her friends are delightful. It made it difficult for me to stop listening. Bad for work. I wanted to stay in the car and listen more.
Emma. I liked her controlling personality.
Absolutely a book I wanted to listen in one sitting.
"fabric artist and quilter"
Emma is probably my least favourite Jane Austen novel - Emma is spoilt, her father is a paranoid hypochondriac and everyone seems to dabble in everyone else's business. However, Juliet Stevenson brought the whole story to life. She has a superb ability to give all the characters an individual accent and/or manner of speech and it becomes an audio play with parts being intersperse with narration. I loved it - I loved it so much I am about to go for the third Jane Austen novel read by Juliet - they are such a treat. If you love Jane Austen these versions are the versions for you.
Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!
This great classic of early 19th century English literature tells the story of Emma Woodhouse, a wealthy young woman of twenty-one years of age who has all the desirable attributes of beauty, intelligence and good breeding on her side, but surprisingly for her time, has no intentions of marrying, which makes her a rather modern heroine. She likes to think of herself as a talented matchmaker and decides to take young Harriet, a trusting and unsophisticated, though very pretty girl, under her wing. She proposes to educate Harriet and teach her the refinements of the upper classes to prepare her for a brilliant match to a real gentleman. Emma is a heroine that many readers find unpleasant, and her archness and snobbery combined with willfulness and naiveté certainly set her up for humbling experiences. Though I can't say I thought her especially likeable, I did think her rather amusing and I found the process by which Emma grows into womanhood to be delightful, especially as I was finally able appreciate for all the subtleties and humour in the play on social conventions which Austen is most known for, which signalled a great change in my attitude towards Jane Austen's work. I have yet to listen to a recording by Juliet Stevenson that is anything less than excellent.
Retired to mountains of California. Sell on eBay as Prsilla. No TV. Volunteer in wildlife rehab. Knit, sew or embroider while listening.
This book is about young ladies in England over 100 years ago. Their mail service was better than ours today, plus they had servants to run errands. As ever, these young ladies possess varying amounts of confidence, beauty, money, education and talent. The whole idea is to marry well, preferably for love. About like now except it was much more difficult then for a single woman to earn her own living and do her own "thing."
I majored in English and probably read this book and probably saw the movies, but I don't remember being so engrossed in all the fine points of the story. If I saw this on PBS, it was too many very similar girls in little tight dresses walking in gardens with foppish gentlemen. Actually listening to the words -- and more than once, please! -- delivers a wonderful experience! You can't tear through this material just to see what happens next! You already know almost everybody gets married off in the end. I found Sparks Notes for the novel and after two listens am not 100% clear on who is who. I think the more listens I give this, the more delicious the story will be, as in, "Oh, here comes the good part!"
One Audible reviewer said the characters were dis-likeable. Yes, wonderfully so. One new wife is nauseating, coarse and presumptuous, a huge snob. Juliet Stevenson gives her a horrible nasal voice! Most disgusting! The woman is a total bitch. She leans on one young lady to push ahead and get her a governess job with one of HER high-class friends! The girl sweetly and repeatedly tells her no, not to do that, but there is no taking no for an answer! The woman goes ahead, with disastrous results which she doesn't even realize! She is too stupid to be uncomfortable when the whole business falls through and has to be smoothed over with others.
Another character, a well-born but very poor maiden lady who is included in all the parties and never EVER shuts up, is wonderfully portrayed by Stevenson. This took preparation because Miss Bates is just gasping and so full of gratitude and sweet nonsensical comments. I think I do that sometimes. . . And the main character makes fun of Miss Bates in the presence of several other people. Snide comments are nothing new. The poor little lady doesn't even quite get the joke, but the others do. Emma is not very nice at the beginning, but she gains in compassion and graciousness through the story. Near the beginning she discourages a younger girl from pursuing a love interest that would have been suitable. She comes to regret that. And before it's over, she tells the same girl she would not presume to advise her about such a thing. How many of us today lean on each other for this or that reason -- rather playing God when it is not our place!
This tale does have sex and violence, but it is certainly not fifty shades. They talk about platonic man/woman friendship versus "making love" which only means carrying on a romance, but -- well, fully dressed and talking in a flirtatious way -- not what it means now. But they know when they're teasing or leading someone on in an expectation of engagement and marriage. These girls are up for auction, and people in the market should not waste someone's time. All the fine points are discussed. Much of the fun is in imagining! As for violence, two girls are walking in the country when they are overtaken by a gang of gypsy kids, a woman and large boy. Very rough characters! One girl gets away, but the other girl is helpless. Today we would say they mugged her. Pretty frightening even today when it happens to travelers!
I don't think this is satisfying literature for everyone. Maybe if your real life is complex and upset at the moment, this would help you calm down and relax. I think in the past I thought it was just silly business of ladies and gentlemen in drawing rooms talking about the weather and their health. Oh, no! These are real human situations; and that is what makes the book a classic and Austen deserving of all her fame. Lovely book! Lovely narrator who does men's voices very well also.
This is one of those books that I read in print years ago - and I skipped over great portions. Jane Austen's description of manners, manors and love in Victorian England is exquisitely detailed, but for the modern reader, it can be a bit of a slog.
I had listened to Pride and Prejudice and really enjoyed it, so I decided to give Emma another try, but this time on Audible. The first couple of hours were dense and I kept when anything was going to happen. Having watched the movie "Clueless" (based on Emma), I knew it would eventually.
Things finally got moving, and I enjoyed the book. I was amused by some of the characters - particularly one introduced in Part 2. Saying who it is would be a spoiler, so I won't do that - but I found the character as cringe-worthy as Emma did. In modern times, the character is someone you would friend on Facebook, but shortly have to turn off the person's update feed on your News page because the person is so annoying, opinionated and has a complete lack of social grace. That person would be the kind of person who would desperately troll for "likes".
Juliet Stevenson's audio narration brought the characters to life, but there were a few times when she narrated in the voice of the wrong character.
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I listened to this recording several times while pregnant with my daughter, Emma.
It was beautiful to share the story with her while she was still in my womb.
I will never forget the afternoons loving Jane's Emma and My Emma.