I've read Bram Stoker's Dracula twice and I listened to it as an audiobook about 20 years ago. That was my last exposure to the novel so I was looking forward to hearing this full cast performance and it doesn't disappoint. The readers all do a superb job and the novel itself holds up well. As an epistolary novel (a novel written as a series of documents) it's perfectly suited to a full cast reading.
Stoker's staunchly forthright, never less than honorable gentlemen and wholesome, loving ladies may seem a little quaint to some modern readers but they serve the story well and Dracula's menace looms over the novel like a great shadow. The book is as compelling and memorable as ever. It's an eerie, chilling story, well worth any listener's time. You can't go wrong using a credit on this one.
I'm a web developer based out of Sacramento, I listen to books while I work, and love audible.
What can one say about one of the most influential books of all time? A book that one feels one has read due to the great amount it's been copied in one way or another by various authors, movies, radio shows etc. One can't accuse it of using over used plot devices that the book itself invented.
Honestly this book was very well written and would have felt completely modern if there had been a touch more action and a slight change to some of the dialogue. In fact the I felt if the final conflict with Dracula would have been much better with at least a little bit of fighting, but alas books written in the 1800's just didn't have the same amount of fighting that we are accustomed to today.
Since discovering audible, my life is richer. I live in a small rural KS community, with higher than average IQ which can be a bad combo at times. Audible allows me to be myself.
If you imagine you are reading this novel for the first time and are living in the time period, it would scare you and probably stick with you for your entire life i.e. The Exorsist for those living in the mid 70's. If you can imagine the horror they felt, it helps as you listen. However, because this is the 21'st century the story is tame by today's standards and to be honest, there were several places where the story line became cluttered. It's a classic, there is no doubt but a classic that has seen better days. I just couldn't give it much more than a 3 star rating. Good enough to spend a credit but not much more.
This book got me hooked on audiobooks and I still haven't found another to quite compare. The spellbinding story is nicely complimented by the flawless narration. I found myself looking for opportunities to keep listening to it so I started listening while I cleaned house. Never had such a clean house than I did the week or two I was playing this!
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
I recently undertook the personal challenge to listen to five different versions of DRACULA because listening to Bram Stoker’s classic years ago made me a fan of audiobooks. I enjoyed that experience so much that I decided to try to determine if I had just gotten lucky or if there was an even better version available. Besides, I wanted to listen to it again. With most books I feel fortunate to have just one audio version available, but with DRACULA there are so many versions offered that listening to them all is not practical. I first figured that I could handle maybe three different versions but then discovered two more that I thought deserved attention. The Audible list had these five that I thought might be contenders:
Listed in my order of listening preference:
1) Susan Adams & Alexander Spencer (Recorded Books 1980)
2) Peter Sciarrio & Kris Faulkner & a FULL CAST, (Books in Motion 2008)
3) Greg Wise & Saskia Reeves (BBC Audiobooks 2008)
4) Robert Whitfield (aka Simon Vance), (Blackstone edition 1998)
5) Alan Cumming & Tim Curry & cast (Audible edition 2011)
Review for this version:
5) Alan Cumming (m) Tim Curry (m) & additional cast, Audible Edition 2011 [run time 15:28],
This is the newest version on my list and the one produced by Audible Inc. This is billed as having a full cast and features Alan Cumming as Dr. John Seward, Simon Vance as Jonathan Harker and the usually fabulous Tim Curry as Dr. Van Helsing. This is a fine version even though it was my least favorite of the five in this group. My chief criticism is the failure to utilize the cast at every opportunity. This novel is a compilation of a series of journals, diary entries, telegrams, newspaper reports and transcripts of phonograph recordings. The editorial strategy for this version was to employ the actor reading his own journal even when that journal entry contains the quotes and dialog of other characters. Because of this Alan Cumming as Seward and Simon Vance as Harker get the lion's share of the men's voices. Tim Curry as Van Helsing gets scant air time because the character rarely writes down his own words. This under-utilization of Curry is a shame for he is wonderful when he does appear.
In chapter 12 Alan Cumming does all the talking during the reading of Dr. Seward's diary account of Lucy’s death, despite the many different characters whose words are captured. This is baffling since there are actors on the cast that elsewhere portray these characters and could have contributed to the variety and energy of the performance. I do not understand the decision of the producers to, at the onset of the project, hire multiple actors to portray the various characters, then fail to use those actors at every opportunity, instead choosing to restrict the actors to reading their character’s lines strictly to those instances where their character makes his own journal entry or sends a telegram. The producers seemingly want to preserve some of the charm of the diary format, that of Mina relating the professor's words, and also add richness by giving Van Helsing his own voice on occasion. But since Van Helsing's words are most often remembered by other characters we seldom get to hear Tim Curry.
Lest I start sounding as if this is a poor version, let me assure that it is good by any audiobook standards. I would be overjoyed to have a production of this quality available for many of my favorite novels that will probably never ever become audiobooks at all, but with four other quality versions to compete with, this version comes in fifth place. If this is the only version you ever listen to you will be pleased with it and become immersed in the novel DRACULA. You will, however, not be getting the greater enjoyment you could get from the novel in one of the other versions. Why not try several and see?
Chapter stops match book chapter numbers.
The sound quality is very good. Very high production values.
00:00:33 Includes the brief introduction: “How these papers have been placed in sequence will be made clear in the reading of them…”
7:18:39 (Repeated phrase) Mina’s telegram inviting Van Helsing is read twice.
10:27:40 Mispronunciation of “sentience.” (as SEN-t-ence)
Follows the text of THE ANNOTATED DRACULA (TAD)
1:25:00 “Occupied in bygone days,” (TAD p. 38.1) When listening to this it sounds like there is a break between the words "occupied" and "in bygone days." It is as if the words "by the ladies," as in the text of THE ESSENTIAL DRACULA, were initially read by Cumming then edited out in post production to match a different text.
2:00:32 “To-morrow night, to-morrow night is yours.” (TAD p. 53.5)
I am an Australian woman who enjoys reading many different styles of books, from history to sci fi and mystery to poetry.
Interesting to hear this book but reading it is so much better. If read you have time to enjoy the prose. Some of these narrators do not seem to be embracing the wonderful writing that this story enjoys. A pity because this is a book I have read many times since my early teens and I continue to enjoy.
The idea of having multiple narrators for this book is a good one: like the novels of Wilkie Collins, it seems made for that. And while most of the readers here are first-rate, I was disappointed in Alan Cumming's performance. To me (apparently in contrast to most of the other listeners), it seemed bland, hurried, almost phoned-in. This is particularly a problem because the journal of his character, John Seward, takes up much if not the majority of the novel. Cumming is an outstanding actor, but here (for me), he misses the mark. I much prefer the single-narrator versions of Simon Vance and John Lee, both of whom appear here as well.
Last year I began the Vampire Chronicles after reading Christopher Moore’s vampire series. In the Christopher Moore books, which are comedy, at one point the boyfriend of a novice vampire struggles to help her by collecting all the vampire fiction he could find. His comical references to the differences are funny and made me curious. Having completed 4 Anne Rice novels, I thought I’d go back to where it all began and read the classic.
The style is, of course, a bit funny since it is stiff, proper and full of words that are less used today. Never the less, the style of narrative via letters, diary entries and notes is clever and gives the reader the feeling of having stumbled across a secret archive. While there isn’t the blood and gore of some modern horror tales, Stoker creates real ambiance in his lavish descriptions and subtle details. This was a clever writing style and quite enjoyable. Now I know why this caught on and has become so iconic. Like so many classics, characters and phrases have entered the lexicon to the extent that I recognized much of this book. Well written, well read - I highly recommend.
Final Note: I had thought Carfax was a service that faxed reports of cars. In our modern age it seemed quaint that this business would make itself seem older by referencing 80s technology. However, Carfax is the name of Dracula’s estate in England! Could it be that the nice car history report people are actually blood sucker?
I think this performance is a good adjunct to the original text. The cast is strong and they bring great voices to the individual characters.
I always enjoy Simon Vance but Tim Curry was a rare treat and a fun voice for this book.
Overall this was an enjoyable book. Well done.
Travel a lot, so Audible keeps me educated and entertained.
This was a lot of fun and excellent listening. The narration was first rate and it was easy to get lost in the complexity and realism that Bram Stoker created over a century ago. Dracula should be on anyone's list that wants a great listen!