I wasn't quite sure what to expect of "North and South." I downloaded it on a bit of a whim, and I'm very glad I did.
Reviewers have compared Gaskell to Jan Austen, which seems very strange to me; they have very little in common. Gaskell is trying to explore the effects of industrialization and labor unrest through the eyes of her heroine, who has moved to industrial Northern England from the more bucolic South.
Gaskell has nice characters to represent the capitalist class, the workers, and others. If anything, they're a bit too good to be true, but it also lets her set out the conflicts without putting in straw men. Her workers and capitalists are at odds with each other, and Gaskell doesn't draw out an easy solution, which is probably just as well, since it would destroy any realism the novel has.
For some reason I thought this book was about the Civil War kinda like Gone with the Wind but no it was more Pride and Prejudice. I ended up speeding up the narrator to 3 times the speed just to get it over with. GEEZ
This story is so much more interesting than (sorry Miss Austen), Jane Austen's books. Yes, it's 50 years more modern and that really shows. Elizabeth Garskell's character development is really good. And Juliet Stevenson's performance is spectacular!... you will not tire of her voices, both North and South.
A great listen!
Full of saddness and beauty. Lots of Bravery in the face of difficulty and a clash of cultures as well.
Always love Juliet Stevenson. She gets it right. She's also spot on with the accents.
If you like Jane Austen you'll like this too.
Although this novel has some structural problems (which are understandable since the serial publisher put constraints upon Mrs. Gaskell, she then reworked the novel before it's non-serial publication, and all this was happening near the end of her life) this is a fascinating book. Yes, there is a marriage plot (full of pride and prejudice on both sides) but there is so much more--and the more is something that is still timely, while also being of historical interest. The thematic material includes gender, class, geographical distinctions, and religious beliefs. Please, my list might sound tedious but the novel is anything but.
The narration by Juliet Stevenson is lovely, revealing the humanity and intelligence of the writing, and an array of smart, articulate characters in many walks of life.
This is my first Mrs. Gaskell foray, and it won't be my last.
P.S. I am not demeaning Austen, but because this was written at a later date, under different circumstances, and with a somewhat wider social view, there is a bit more meat here for the modern reader.
Also recommended: Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now.
North and South is great writing with deep and challenging themes. I love it! To think I had lived most of my rather long life without even reading Gaskill!
I particularly appreciated her handling of the complicated relations between management and labour in those earliest days of trade unions and the growing industrial revolution.
Both hero and heroine in the "romance" part of this book are complex, interesting, and strong characters. And the very last lines of the novel have me chuckling yet -- so well read, and so "perfect" .
The BBC drama I had already seen and appreciated; the full novel is even better.
Number 1. This was the ultimate read for me in the last year or so. Absolutely adore this book--audible, text and BBC production. Everythibg about it is enjoyable. I've recommend it to all the readers I know, It's probably not for everyone, but I will read it and listen to it over and over. Already have.
There were so many. Every chapter was memorable.
Most obviously, I think, was when Thornton proposed and was rejected.
It's just a great listen.
I never consider any audio version to be better then the print version. This is one of the few books I listened to without first reading it in print. I enjoyed it very much.
Oddly, I can't remember her name, but the main character is the standout. She learns to change with her circumstances and it is fun to watch this change. She faces great losses with courage. I also like Mr. Thorn who is an equal match to Miss Hale. It's fun to watch these two people, very different on the surface, discover that underneath it all; they complete each other. There is some contrived business about mistaken identity with the brother that doesn't seem equal to the writing, but it's not enough to ruin the fun.
I have listened to most of the books Juliet Stevenson has narrated. In fact, I down loaded this book because she was the narrator. She's one of my favorites.
It was not. I first encountered the book in the form of the BBC miniseries based on it. I've long read about the mills in this part of England, but this is the first book I've read set there. You can listen to this book in stops and starts and if you miss bits, it's not a great a loss. It's a mood book. When you're in the mood for this type of story, you'll be glad to have it in your library. I will listen to it a few times, I'm certain.
I have never heard of the author prior to listening to this book and I wonder when it was written. The plight of the mill workers and the mill owners durning this time is very interesting, but there are a few things that don't seem authentic to me.
I got far too distracted from work listening to this book. I had a wonderful time listening to it not only because of the plot and writing, but also because of Stevenson's careful and fluid narration.
I've listened to it multiple times now. I thoroughly recommend it.
Gaskell captures the ambiguity of the situation for "masters" and "hands" through the sensitive attention of Margaret Hale. Juliet Stevenson reads beautifully, interpreting the sense of the characters and the feeling of their struggles.