Listening to this audiobook was the reason I joined Audible. The strength of this is the narration which is incredibly well done. I loved the fact that they had different readers for different parts as it totally brought the characters to life! Yes, as others have noted, this can be a bit wordy, but that's simply a reflection of the style of the times. Writers in the Victorian era never used 10 words when 20 would do.
Wilkie Collins was ahead of his time not only when it came to writing well-plotted mystery; but, like Austen, Dickens and others, he was a keen social observer and his characters, especially the women, reflect their relative place in society. The women characters may seem easily manipulated to us today, but their depiction by Wilkie is an accurate reflection of the times in which they lived.
Basically, if you couldn't care less about the genre and the social context in which it was written, how about just a good story, well-told and SUPERBLY narrated? If that's what you're after, then this one is for you.
Having listened to several hundred audio books, this is easily in my top ten. As many other reviewers have said, this is a really well-written story that you find yourself hoping will never end. Having grown up in part of the world set forth here, the authenticity of setting is just amazing. Add to that the literally unbelievable narration by Humphrey Bower and you have a listening experience you won't soon forget. Do NOT let the length of the unabridged version intimidate you. You will laugh, cry and be so mesmerized that the time will fly by. Truly, one of the best things you will find on Audible.
Since it won the Booker prize, you can pretty much expect that the writing is stellar. The topic is current, real, and TOTALLY believable. With the recent plethora of superb Indian writers, this is one not to be missed. For Audible listeners though, let's talk about narration. John Lee is becoming, for me, enough of a reason to listen to a book. - ANY book. His Indian accent is "spot on" and his reading sublime. If you enjoyed the narration of Pillars of the Earth and World Without End you will be even more impressed when you hear this. I guarantee it!! In only eight hours, you get a listen totally worth your time and money. I can't recommend this book and the narration highly enough. It's a MUST!!!
Look at the number or reviews for this audiobook and realize it is a WINNER in every respect. Aside from the superlative writing in this piece of realistic fiction, you have absolutely one of the BEST narrative performances found anywhere on Audible. I had read the book before I listened to the audio and thought it excellent. Listening to it, though, was a whole new experience. The reader totally brought the author's words to life for me and I felt as if I knew the characters. You will remember this story long after you have listened. Truly, it's a great investment of your time!
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