I have to admit to buying this audiobook solely for the reason that I wanted an author I'd never read before, and a story that would last a while. At 32 hours it did that, BUT, I really enjoyed it. It took a few chapters to get into the scenery as there was a plethora of character's names to remember, but Timothy West convinced me that there was treasure to come. He does an awesome job with the accents and different voices for each character. It really seemed like a a full cast performing a perfectly timed dialogue. As for the storyline, I'll leave that to the publisher's description because my review would go way over the 2000 letters allowed. Put it this way, - hearing this book made me look up and watch the entire new BBC film version on youTube at 10 min intervals because the DVD was unavailable in my area. I look forward to more Anthony Trollope, and definately more Timothy West.
This is the third Dickens in a row that I've experienced, and was admittedly hesitant about the quality of this version because of the price. But, Alistair Maydon did a very reasonable job of the characters and gave excellent feeling to the story. He did in fact, a much better job of the female character's voices than some narrators in much more expensive audiobooks- (eg. John Bolen- kill me now!).
However the recording quality is definately inferior and occasionally you can hear a page turn or a few minor reading errors.
The story is a little slow to start and slightly depressing, but like most of the Dickens that I've listened to, the worse the predicament- the better the eventuality.
Overall, this version of Hard Times is value for money and I plan to listen to it again.
The Malefactor, is an intriguing story that I almost didn't get to hear the end of. John Bolen has almost destroyed the only E. Phillips Oppenheim story on Audible's current list. I found it painful to listen to, especially his attempts at any female voice (which all sounded the same), and at one point had resolved to turn it off and buy the text instead as my own imagination could hardly have been worse. My two stars rating are both for the story, - about a man wrongly sent to prison for ten years to save the honour of the woman he loved. Once his sentence is served, he emerges a different creature, sworn to create as much hurt and wreak as much destruction on society as he has suffered in his life to date. Can human nature really be so permanently warped by injustice, or is healing possible for Sir Wingrave Seaton? My advice is to find a good copy of the book, read it, and enjoy finding out. Hopefully more Oppenheim titles are added to Audible one day, but please find a better narrator, - it shouldn't be hard!
Thoroughly enjoyable! The first part relating Cunxin's childhood especially touched me in the way it revealed the love, humour and even small moments of happiness possible in such a desperate situation. I have to agree with other comments that an asian narrator probably would have sounded more authentic, but Paul English did a wonderful job none the less. If you have seen the movie and think you know the story, think again! The book is definately worth the listen, as the movie probably only contained 10-15% of the original story (as most movies often do, understandably because of time restraints) and most of my favourite parts weren't there! Get the book - You wont regret it!
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