Just a quick appreciation for the reading by Timothy West: a wonderful job, including convincing regional accents and, perhaps even more impressive, subtle but effective response to the narrative.
I loved the Barchester Novels years ago but could never make much progress with the Palliser series; this reading has changed my mind; I find the reading, and the novel itself, rivetting. The kind of thing that gets you to clean up the garage just to have an excuse to keep listening.
As another reviewer suggested, I think, a newcomer to Trollope might be better off with Barchester Towers, but I liked Can You Forgive Her very much; a little like Mrs. Gaskell's North and South, without the social commentary. I'm no critic, but I think the exploration of female independence / willfulness has an interesting feminist dimension.
The Audible.com descriptions of what is where are wrong; e.g. Wisdom of Solomon is in vol. 2, not vol 1
Others can share their opinions of Powell's work; I have read it through three or four times now (once every decade or so) and continue to find it wonderful. Though I would find it hard to convince someone who needed convincing.
I do want to say that Simon Vance's reading is superb. As I write this I have listened to the first three movements and he rarely stumbles (the pronounciation of Sardis is the only one I can think of), and even sings the songs. Above all, each of Powell's characters is given the "right" accent and personality; his Widmerpool, the central character in a way, is a reading of real genius. Congratulations and thanks to all involved.
As been said, this is very difficult to hear; it's the worst audio quality of anything I've ever got from audible.
On top of that, the reader (firmly American) reads without any of the drama and irony that might help to communicate the point of Swift's satire.
Doing these kinds of texts badly is a sadly wasted opportunity.
This is a book ABOUT the Federalist Papers, not the real thing. It seems fine as that, but the reader "does" the quotations (e.g. by Hamilton) in weird pseudo-English accents which make them fairly painful.
I have mixed feelings about this. The idea of having conversations at normal speed interspersed with conversations spoken more slowly is great. And a quick 5-10 minutes listening to all three is a great little fillip for someone working on French.
But the thing seems to have started life as a CD plus booklet (it's available for only slightly more money at Amazon). And the booklet apparently contains a translation, and perhaps a text of the French as well. Given that this product is clearly for self-study, both the lack of both those features is a serious disadvantage.
That said, I think the product is useful, and good value. Except in a car I have no interest in those programs that require you to say "bonjour" after they say "bonjour".
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