To my shame I have never before read "The End of the Affair". To my joy my first experience of Graham Greene's extraordinary words was with the performance of Colin Firth. I have, for better or worse, begun to restrict myself to only a few narrators. Those voices, so intimate, like a lover in my ears. Listening to another can feel ... wrong, disloyal. As Colin speaks he inhabits the dejection of the abandoned lover, the hopeless innocence of the cuckolded and the faint quaver of the loved. Greene created a core of desperate longing entwined in a mystery. Colin's performance is compelling, evoking a searing honesty. His female voice is perfect; Colin chooses a modulation of his own, avoiding a character and thus striping further that naked, fragile honesty. I am unsure as yet, how I feel about the fourth and final act of the novel, merely because a theme jars with my own atheism. I easily forgive that mild uncertainty in thanks for the moment early in the third when my breath caught: and Colin and Graham took me somewhere...unexpected.
Mlodinow is inspired; he finds stories, analogies, mysteries and histories that make the development of probability theory fascinating. I really enjoyed the book. The mathematics and the concepts were so easy to follow - building so solidly from step to step. I think I truly understand probability better now than I did after years of university statistics. Without (visible) effort Mlodinow has gifted me with understanding of the heart of probability - without that slightly panicked feeling of groping over it's slippery, mathematical surface. Seriously.
Lloyd James performance is fantastic. I love his voice, his pace, his modulation. Lloyd adds greatly to Mlodinow's intent to make this a joy and a conversation. (Loyd's voice niggled at me for ages, so certain was I that I had heard it before. Finally I twigged that he was the gent of the Russian accent performing Heinlein's "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress"! Another excellent job.)
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