As an Audible Editor I listen for a living! British classics, YA novels, speculative fiction, and anything quirky, fascinating, or heart-wrenching.
Persuasion was the only Jane Austen novel I had not read so I recently decided to remedy that. Juliet Stevenson had cracked me up as the neurotic mother in Bend It Like Beckham, so I was sure I could count on her to bring out the comical side of the story (and Jane Austen always offers up some comedy). But I had no idea Stevenson was such a subtle and talented actress. As the omniscient narrator she sounds sensible, measured, and lovely. She delivers the story while not allowing the listener to get bogged down in Austen’s sometimes antiquated language. She successfully confers masculinity to the male voices without attempting to impersonate. And the women who are meant to be laughable, such as Anne’s sister Mary, with them she is ruthless. And it’s delightful.
In terms of the story – this is probably Jane Austen’s best. Pride and Prejudice will always be my long-standing favorite, having been the first book in my life that I couldn't put down, but Persuasion is Austen's smartest work, and you can sense her own maturity in it (it was her last completed novel). It takes the kind of characters we meet in her other novels and fast-forwards them ten years. These are grown women – not girls – dealing with love and loss, and learning about second chances.
Juliet Stevenson has a perfect voice to interpret the characters of Persuasion, especially those of the haughty Lord Elliot and his eldest daughter. Having watched her performance as the arrogant vicar's wife in the recent filming of "Emma", I felt that she would provide exactly the right tone. Watching other of her performances in more sympathetic roles also assured me that she would give a strong character to Anne. Very enjoyable.
This is among my favorite downloads. It was the perfect combination of story and narrator. Juliet Stevenson has an amazing ability to not just read, but act all the characters, male and female, and to make them come alive before my eyes. I will download all her Jane Austen readings.
Jane Austen is always a pleasure, and Persuasion is one of my favorites but Juliet Stevenson makes it even better with her excellent reading. I found myself laughing out loud at her characterizations. I'm certain I'll listen to this one again and again.
If you are trying to decide which of the many version to buy, look no futher, this one cannot be beat. Next to P&P, Persuasion is my favorite Austen book and I've always loved it, but Juliette Stevenson's narration made it even better--she's the audiobook equivalent of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy in the BBC production of P&P! Her voice is just a joy to listen to. As soon as the book is over, you'll want to listen to it all over again. What are you waiting for? Download this one!
When I first read Persuasion, I was a young, romantic teenager. I thought that 26 was too old for a heroine, and did not appreciate this particular Austen. After reading (listening) to it now as an 20-something, I have changed my views completely. It is now my favorite, not to be discarded for the young Emma, who had no troubles. This particular narrarator brought to life the subtle poetry in this writting. Every character had a personality and face unigue unto themselves. Some might say that the romance between Anne and Captain Wentworth was too subtle, too suddenly restarted, but the more you read it, the more cues you find all throughout that show it was there all along, only needed a little watering and sun to bring it to the surface.
SET REVIEWS TO BE SORTED BY 'MOST RECENT' INSTEAD OF 'MOST HELPFUL'!
This was Austen's finest novel, written when she likely knew she was dying (almost certainly of Addison's disease, now treatable, which makes her untimely death at 41, when she had produced only six books, all the more tragic). The effect of this knowledge on her writing, however, was nothing short of transcendent. Razor-sharp, lean (there's not a phrase, not a sentence anywhere that could be cut) and bitter, biting yet gorgeously wrought prose plus a heartrending (and, not to give too much away, ultimately elating) story combine to make this a book you'll return to year after year.
I own every available audio version of Persuasion (which easily ranks at the top of my Top Ten list of favorite books), but this is the only one I've bothered to write a review of, because it is far and away the best. Juliet Stevenson is not only the perfect narrator for the material, she's also one of the ONLY audiobook narrators I've ever heard who somehow gives voices appropriate to each character while simultaneously avoiding the tendency to try to act out, as it were, a kind of one-woman play. She simply reads the book to you with perfect tone and inflection and pacing and intonation at all times, as only she and a handful of other talents (think Meryl Streep and Alan Rickman) seem able to do. I caught only one error in the entire recording, and it occurs twice or thrice: She pronounces the word wont (as in, she was wont to complain whenever it rained) as "won't." But this mistake is as a tiny gnat flying in front of the most gorgeous canvas ever painted.
I'd give this recording six stars if I could. Highly, highly recommended.
I love listening to books when cycling, paddleboarding, etc but I press pause when I need to concentrate. Its safer & I don't lose the plot!
I had read only one Jane Austen book before ‘Persuasion’. It was ‘Pride and Prejudice’, which I read in the early 90’s in the Himalayas, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I’ve seen films of other books, such as ‘Emma’, but what attracted me to ‘Persuasion’ was the fact that I knew nothing at all of the plot.
Like ‘Pride and Prejudice’, I enjoyed it a lot. I enjoyed entering another place and time, where life was as different as if you were to visit a planet in another galaxy.
The only beings that exist on this planet are middle class people from rural England. No one works, and the most important thing in the World is the art of conversation. Even the least articulate of Austen’s characters speaks beautiful genteel English, and they all have the ability to remain within the limits of what is considered respectable, never getting even close to discussing vulgar subjects like sex.
The next most important rule of the game is that you must try to find the most eligible available spouse. They must be well-situated within the English class system and have a reliable source of income. Of course, they must also be respectable, eloquent and good looking. All this has to be done without anyone actually admitting that this is what they are up to.
Persuasion is the same as ‘Pride and Prejudice’, in the sense that it is another delightful chocolate from the same box. I enjoyed the clever way people talk to each other, and the storyline was light-hearted fun, like a Hugh Grant romantic comedy. The narrator was superb.
Juliet Stevenson does a perfect job of performing this audio book. I cant imagine Jane Austen read by anyone else. I was carried along by the story, made to laugh and cry. I just couldn't get enough. Which, given that I have read the actual book many many times, is a real testament to the reader. My next Jane Austen listen will be Northanger Abbey, read also by Ms Stevenson.
"fabric artist and quilter"
I didn't know Persuasion - I knew that it was her last novel, published after her death and named Persuasion by her brother but other than that it was a blank. I guessed that as it was a short novel and her last it might not be quite as good or polished as P&P, S&S or Mansfield Park and certainly not being as famous as her other novels suggested that.
HOW WRONG CAN YOU BE! This is now my favourite Jane Austen, its charming, its gentle, its witty and as observational as any of the other novels. Its understory is constancy, doing things as etiquette dictated or for other people and how persuasive actions by others can alter your own personal history and not always for the best. It really is a complete delight.
Juliet Stevenson is also a complete delight - she brings Jane Austen alive and is perfect as the narrator - don't even think of listening to Austen read by anyone else!
Absolutely loved it and is totally recommended to all classic lovers - 7 stars! (what do you mean I can't give it 7 stars - it deserves them!)