I'm a fan of George Eliot, but If you're wanting to get a start with her, I wouldn't recommend this one as the first to try. There are two stories entwined, one about spoiled, self-centred and self-indulgent Gwendolen Harleth, and the other about Daniel Deronda, brought up as the "nephew" of a baronet but ignorant of his true parentage. A large theme is Judaism, and I was hoping and expecting to find an examination of the attitudes of various upper-class and aristocratic Victorians to Jews.
It's just not there, and I was disappointed.
I was also a little disappointed with the narration: it's good, but it's not as good as the very best.
There is still plenty to like about Daniel Deronda. The portrait of Gwendolen Harleth in the first half of the book, before her marriage, is excellent, and the description of how she accepts the proposal of the rich but cruel selfish Grandcourt is outstanding.
I could not finish this audiobook, in fact I endured only about an hour of it. I put up with that much hoping that it might better, but it didn't, so I gave up.
Denis Olsen is a famous Australian actor and much loved for his Gilbert and Sullivan performances. But he utterly ruins this book. He seems to think that we, the listeners, want to hear him ham it up, using ridiculous vocal modulations and even an echo chamber.
Good reading is an art. The narrator must first of all understand what he or she is reading, and then he or she must read the author's words in a way that simply conveys that meaning.
The only reader I have heard in 20 years of regular listening to audiobooks is an AAAmerican called Charlton Griffin. I have learnt necer to buy anything read by him . Denis Olsen has joined that illustrious company.
This book should be re-recorded by a narrator who can read properly.
I thought this was excellent. I like Sarah Waters' books and I've read all of them, and I only wish that there were more available as audiobooks; I find that listening to a book that is well read gives new understanding to a work. Juanita McMahon is a very good reader. I have sometimes had the impression when listening to an audiobook that the narrator really doesn't understand or appreciate what he or she is reading, but that is certainly not the case here.
One of the really good ones.
This is one of the greatest works of English literature read with enormous intelligence and understanding by an excellent actor. I had read Dickens as a young man and liked him, but listening to this reading of Great Expectations was a revelation, showing me for the first time how truly great he is. If you only ever listen to one audiobook, this should be the one.
I couldn't even finish this one. Boring and portentous prose, boringly and portentously read.
The main disappointment with this audiobook is the reading. I'm afraid I found Charlton Griffin's voice almost unbearable. I'm not sure whether he's American pretending to sound English or whether there's some other explanation, but the reading spoiled the book for me. The book is also very dated. The best parts were the descriptions of the narrow, depressing life lived by the chief character's wife.
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