I would definitely try another by Virginia Leishman. With the exception of her American accent, all the regional British and Scottish accents were very good. The American accent sounded vaguely southern, despite the fact that Cropper was from New Mexico. I figured that was the best she could do, and it wasn't too terrible. I have definitely heard worse.
As for Ms. Byatt, I would need some really strong recommendation to read her again. At its core, this book has some intriguing characters, an interesting story, and a satisfying ending. But the journey was not enjoyable. I found much the writing somewhat tedious, and I debated whether or not I would actually finish. I'm glad I did, and I'm actually looking forward to the movie, which may "cut to the chase" and be a bit more satisfying.
Yuck. A.S. Byatt is a total dullard. Boring, dry characters and a stuffy British narrator made this book impossible to get interested in. Not recommended.
There are two big mistakes in this reading. There is NOTHING in the background of the character of Mortimer Cropper that suggests he should have a southern accent. He's an academic from New Mexico who happens to be rich. He's not a plantation owner or even a wealthy businessman from the south. Having a grandparent from Mississippi would not account for the southern drawl he's been given either. It's very, very annoying to listen to him whenever his character shows up.
Also as a literary person he would know that Swedenborg is not pronounced
Except for the two things I've mentioned I thought the narration was excellent. There was sufficient change in the voices to distinguish the different characters and the acting was very good. I would be happy to listen to another audio book by that reader.
brilliant story, beautiful prose and then there is the poetry, to say nothing of the dog.
This is a mesmerizing novel, beautifully written and beautifully narrated. The story just won't let you go - you have to know what happened to these characters - both the ones in the past and ones living in the present day. I'm sorry this novel is over.
One master-passion in the br east, like Aaron's serpent, swallows all the rest. A. Pope
"[A]ll great poetry asks us to be possessed by it."
Harold Bloom, The Best Poems of the English Language, 2003.
“I am two fools, I know,
For loving, and for saying so.”
"i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)”
My initial reaction here is 5 stars for pulling off a complicated structure surrounding the romances of 2 pairs of poets. Prior to the last 20 minutes, I might have said 4 stars. The last 5 minutes were absolutely heartbreaking, but not hopelessly so.
I enjoyed it and found it worth a credit.
I'm an English professor, so I love literary books, but this one about English professors is the epitome of everything that is wrong with my profession. There are a lot of people trying to become the guardians of "special knowledge" that they don't want others to discover or critique.
There are also a lot of people trying to examine literary works in microscopic detail. This literary criticism is described slowly and excruciatingly by Byatt and it's all the more uninteresting because it's based around fictional authors. Truthfully, in real life, the type of criticism she describes does three things:
1. Looks only at a small sample of the work that does not speak to the work itself, the genre, or the author (Usually called a "close study")
2. Excludes other themes or concerns to look at something small which only the critic thinks is important (for example, the female gaze as written in third-person narratives by octogenarian male authors in early Victorian England)
3. Takes all the joy out of reading
Unfortunately, this is encouraged in colleges today. It is something which I abhor, but which this author loves. I could maybe get past that if the pacing, plot, or characterization were better, but alas, they are not. This book is dull as well as pretentious. I tried to read it three times only to realize I was only 7 hours through and could not withstand the last 14 hours.
The one bright spot is the use of fairy tales throughout the text. Although also somewhat pretentious and written with an odd feminist slant, these were somewhat charming. I only wish that a better book could have built around them.
Although it was an interesting book, listening to it as an audiobook was a little too much for me. There were a lot of flowery language that got to be too much for me.