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Robin

Kew, Australia | Member Since 2006

3
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 6 reviews
  • 10 ratings
  • 1 titles in library
  • 23 purchased in 2014
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  • Daniel Deronda

    • UNABRIDGED (30 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By George Eliot
    • Narrated By Nadia May
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (176)
    Performance
    (86)
    Story
    (88)

    One of the masterpieces of English fiction, Daniel Deronda tells the intertwined stories of two characters as they each come to discover the truth of their natures. Gwendolen Harleth is the beautiful, high-spirited daughter of an impoverished upper-class family. Daniel Deronda, the adopted son of an aristocratic Englishman, is searching for his path in life.

    Tad Davis says: "An intense novel with a few flaws"
    "Good, but not one of the very best"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Book Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Markus Zusak
    • Narrated By Dennis Olsen
    Overall
    (151)
    Performance
    (141)
    Story
    (144)

    It is 1939, Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings.

    HDJ says: "Ignore the teen classification!"
    "Ruined by appalling narration"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Night Watch

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 29 mins)
    • By Sarah Waters
    • Narrated By Juanita McMahon
    Overall
    (35)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (13)

    Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked out streets, illicit liaisons, sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch is the work of a truly brilliant and compelling storyteller. This is the story of four Londoners, three women and a young man with a past, drawn with absolute truth and intimacy.

    Lisa says: "Atmospheric and suspenseful"
    "Excellent"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Great Expectations

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 31 mins)
    • By Charles Dickens
    • Narrated By Martin Jarvis
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (77)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (42)

    An orphan, brought up in a village on the Essex marshes by his sister and her husband Joe Gargery, the kind-hearted village blacksmith, Pip receives from an anonymous benefactor the chance of escaping the forge. Pip's expectations are fraught with difficulties as he passes from childhood to adulthood and discovers his true self.

    Neil says: "Great Expectations delivered"
    "Outstanding"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Revolutionary Road

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Richard Yates
    • Narrated By Mark Bramhall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (449)
    Performance
    (141)
    Story
    (137)

    From the moment of its publication in 1961, Revolutionary Road was hailed as a masterpiece of realistic fiction and as the most evocative portrayal of the opulent desolation of the American suburbs. It's the story of Frank and April Wheeler, a bright, beautiful, and talented couple who have lived on the assumption that greatness is only just around the corner.

    Diana - Audible says: "Soul-crushing...but in a good way!"
    "Don't bother"
    Overall

    I couldn't even finish this one. Boring and portentous prose, boringly and portentously read.

    0 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • The Secret Agent

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Joseph Conrad
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (10)

    The Secret Agent was one of the first espionage novels ever written, and it is certainly one of the finest in the oeuvre of Joseph Conrad. The story concerns the attempt by a group of back-alley revolutionaries to destroy one of London's most famous landmarks and thereby set off a revolution.

    Harmon says: "Dry Humor"
    "Not very good at all"
    Overall

    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.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful

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