I am a latecomer to George Eliot. I'd read Thackery, Dickens, and Trollope, but was intimidated by Eliot's reputation as a formidable intellectual. Then last year I listed to Middlemarch (also narrated by Nadia May) and loved it, so I moved on to Daniel Deronda.
DD was Eliot's final novel, and it shows a mastery of the novelist's art. Some people complain that it is really two novels, but I think that the parallel stories, which always intersect, are a deliberate device and enrich the tales of both Daniel and Gwendolen.
Eliot's style can make some of the writing hard to understand on first hearing, which is why I recommend keeping a paper (or electronic) copy of the book handy to go back over passages that you don't quite get the first time. I also like returning to parts of the book that I fully understood but want to savor again.
Nadia May is one of the best audiobook narrators, IMO. I've listened to several other books she's read, both fiction and nonfiction, and when I have a choice of readers (as with DD), I'll usually choose her. Her strengths are clarity of speech and a full command of each writer's sentence structure. The latter, in Eliot's case, is crucial, as her sentences are apt to be long and complex. She's usually great with foreign languages, too, although here she mispronounces "Mainz" and can't seem to get a handle on "Mordecai." And she's a terrific actress, effortlessly lending each character a distinctive voice. The double climax of the book--Daniel's meeting with his mother and Grandcourt's . . . well, no spoilers--was thrilling. I didn't want to get out of the car!
If you're new to George Eliot, I wouldn't begin with DD. I would ease into her by starting with something simpler. But don't miss reading this book when you're ready for it.
This is a wonderful and interesting novel ruined by sloppy narration. The woman cannot even pronounce 'Mirah' correctly. Furthermore there is a nasal quality to her voice that makes it unpleasant to listen to, particularly for so many hours.
Daniel Deronda is the eponymous character but he shares the main focus of the novel with Gwendolyn Harleth, a young woman who falls from egoistic selfishness into a rollercoaster of unfortunate events.Their lives entangle but their relationship is not what you might expect. The novel is filled with wisdom that George Eliot presumably found in her extensive reading but she must have lived as well. She must have experienced so much in order to understand humans in their various economic, religious and moral dilemmas. The performance rattles along terribly quickly which is sometimes a bit bumpy but mostly entirely great storytelling. I wanted it to keep going.
Yes. Classic with so much depth it bears reading over and over
Way too long to listen in a single sitting. I enjoyed savoring it in segments as, no doubt, George Eliot expected her readers would when she wrote it.
Eliot likes to have beautiful, vain women and see the trouble they get into or cause. So half of the novel is as we might expect--and great. The Deronda half of the book is less expected, and somewhat less convincing.
She does the accents and the idiosyncrasies of the speakers very well.
No, but some of the accounts are moving.
Eliot is for knowledgeable, sophisticated readers. It helps to be interested in subtle psychology; to like little essays along the way; and to like, or tolerate, learned allusions. Not everyone should try Eliot.
I really enjoyed listening to the fine language of this story. It's a tad longish but lots of fun.