The narration by David Case is tedious at best. When reading in the 3rd person, he sounds as bored as only the British upper class can. When reading the Japanese characters he strains as though he was just gut shot.
I was one that had read the book earlier in life and regarded it as the single best book I had EVER read. However, the serious reservations expressed by many earlier listeners about the narrator had caused me to hesitate -- for years -- from buying this book, as i did not wish to destroy a great memory. Recently I got a gift of several credits, and decided to take on the risk, and am thrilled that I did. I appreciate that this narrator is not the best, but I have found that the richness and intricacy of the story simply overwhelms any shortcomings of the narrator, and I am simply loving the experience. I was right the first time -- this is still my favorite book, and I am going to give it to others for the holidays
No, because the reader's voice is robotic and annoying.
The book is a classic, one of the best I've read. I thought it would be a good book to listen to on long rides.
His voice is robotic, grating and took me out of the story.
The narrator ruined the potential masterpiece for me.
Yes, I read Shogun years ago and was looking forward to hearing it, like returning to an old friend. After visiting many historic sites in Japan, I wanted them to come alive with this story.
His characters were stilted and his representation of the Japanese characters was robotic and insulting. I just returned from a wonderful trip to Japan and had worked hard to learn Japanese with a good accent. The reader's horrible pronunciation was like nails on a board.
I usually can't wait to listen to an audio book, but with this one I was gritting my teeth and trying to get past the sound of his voice. I gave it around 5 hours but couldn't bear the thought of spending 40 more hours with him. I'm abandoning it. Too bad I can't get my book credit back.
I have no problems with James Clavell and would definitely try an audiobook performed by the reader the other reviewers gushed over.
Save your credit or money and move on to another book. I hope they will re-record this book with someone else.
I absolutely love Shogun, the novel. I read it when it was first published, and I re-read it fairly regularly. When I found it was available on Audible, I was thrilled, and looked forward to it eagerly.
Unfortunately, this was by far the worst narration of any audiobook ever! That is not hyperbole; this was the worst ever. While I am not fluent in Japanese, I was stationed in Japan while in the Navy and picked up enough to know that this performance was stunningly inept. One would think that the narrator himself would want to be accurate in his pronunciation, and certainly the producers of the project were criminally unprofessional -- that's how bad it is.
Furthermore, the narrator's stilted, breathy performance was at times painful to endure. It is unclear to me whether he affected this approach with some kind of deliberate intent, or whether he is simply that painful to listen to as a matter of course. There were times when he seemed a bit better than others, but not nearly often enough over the course of the text.
In short, I continue to love Clavell's SHOGUN, but I will never, under any circumstances, purchase another book narrated by David Case. I know these things are expensive to produced, but please consider scrapping this version and hire someone who can actually perform the text appropriately.
I've been addicted to reading since high school. I started with pulp novels, switched to great literature in college and now read everything
Sometimes you just want a narrative that will take you for a ride and not try anything too fancy like jumping around in time or employing a lot of other literary devices. Shogun is that book. Its narrative momentum is powerful, and you soon feel like you're in 1600 Japan. The story doesn't always move quickly, but at least it keeps moving, and I was never bored. The ride got bumpy in a few places when he described certain Japanese customs like seppuku (ritual suicide). Every Japanese person in the book is all too happy to slit their bellies at the drop of a hat – for any interruption, insult, mistake, etc. The main character hangs a pheasant carcass and orders light-heartedly, "Nobody touch this." A servant touches it and slits his belly. At such times the novel seems to descend into self parody. The skepticism an alert reader will feel about the farfetched behavior distracts from the story. If everybody was so willing to die at a moment's notice, wouldn't you see more apathy about life and less passion? I paused the book to google "Shogun" and "seppuku" and found a lot of haters but nothing about this issue specifically. It's a big part of the book so I finished feeling skeptical, but I was entertained throughout.
The reader grew on me. He does an odd robot voice during some of the dialog, which I suppose is meant to express a military quality. But he sounds more robot than soldier. And he seems out of breath at the end of some of his sentences. Nevertheless, he makes the characters come alive.
The story itself seemed interesting. I just couldn't finish it. The narrator was that bad.
Never finished it
The narrator had a strange sing-song way of reading. His voice would rise at the end of every sentence. I felt that he was asking me a question at the end of each line. Additionally he never changed his tone. He read straight through as the point of view would change and I would have to rewind to try and figure out which character was "speaking" now.
I have never had a narrator so bad that I quit listening to a book. I struggled through about 4 hours hoping I would grow used to it. I finally had to give up. Overall should be a single star. My first review and I can't change at this point.
This is one of the best narrated audio books I have come across. The voices really express the characters and are very distinct.
There are very few books that can hold a candle to Shogun simply because of the length and breadth of the story. Beyond that Clavell really captures the mutual feeling between the japanese and the foreigners where both consider eachother 'barbarians'. Having spent 2 years abroad in China, I can totally sympathize with this perspective and was marveled at how well it was captured in this book.
I have never listen to any of David Case's books before but I will definitely be seeking out more of his books.
The most memorable character is hands down Toranaga, He is incredibly smart and conniving.
“the book I was reading turned out to be crack” ― Elizabeth Norris, Unraveling
I wish there was a second book! A great insight into Japanese culture. I kind of wish I was a samuri.
Probably J Clavell's best book, but I could't get past the first few chapters because of the terrible performance. Flat, absolutely flat. Would if I could have rated zero stars on that.