Juliet Stevenson is my current favorite reader, and I thought I liked Doris Lessing. This novel is no less difficult now that it was when I first read it 35 years ago. Historical, interesting and terribly close scrutiny of human relationships. And Stevenson never disappoints, but Lessings work is trying.
The story is a bit like a Jane Austen book, but with more social philosophy which was enlightening. And I have a weak spot for romance these days-- that was in there too, with the steadfast heroine etc. There was also a Christianity motif that would have been unbearable for me (an atheist) to read without being flung out of the story but above all of this, there is Juliet Stevenson who casts it all into perfect balance with astonishing skill. Cannot praise her enough.
The narrator is superb, once he gets comfortable. My only complaint is about the story: an awful lot of torture, darkness and despair. I almost gave up at one point, not sure I could trust Cornelia Funke. But it did turn and the narrator does such a great job with the Adderhead.
I understand the dismay of many listeners. Lynn Redgrave was impeccable. Brendan Fraser is anything but restrained. For some people, this was aggravating but lucky me, I enjoy his performance. While I'm disappointed in the director and producer for not taking the time to correct his missteps, I was able to recover my listening experience each time. In the end, must conclude the whole story would be better served by a full cast (as in GOLDEN COMPASS) vs. the punishing work of all those characters falling to one actor. Worth the listen, for me. And I would gladly hear other Brendan Fraser work. And I am saving up points to get the next volume, which reader sounds terrific too.
This narrator is pure pleasure to listen to and her command of the material is superb. The the writing itself full of compellling characters and exquisite descriptions, and the story holds layer after sumptuous layer all folded together with mystery and drama and an immensely satisfying range of emotions.
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