One of my favorite Hardy novels. Maybe, his best. Less preaching and display of erudition; more of a natural flow; wonderful characters, even when they are fulfilling "types;" great rustics.. Interesting, what I would call modern ending-but I won't spoil it. This is a mature writer who doesn't have to show-off or try too hard.
The narrator is outstanding. Great pacing and vocal quality. Avoids overly affected female voices. Captures the poetry in Hardy's writing.
Finally, why is Hardy still read when so many of the novels are sad or tragic-it's in the beauty of the language and the wisdom/truth of the speech. A book one can listen to repeatedly.
I admit I am partial to those wonderful English narrators like Simon West, David Timlin or Juliet Stephenson. Anthony Heald, for starters, has one of the finest-and really one of the few tolerable, American voices I have heard on any of these audio books. He is also a great actor. This is simply an extraordinary performance, a living out, hour upon hour, without a second of mistakes or lapse in effort, of this rich book. If I could, I would add a couple of stars just for Anthony Heald.
Moby Dick is a tapestry in many ways; an experimental novel. On one part, even with its global cast, Melville was trying to establish some "credence" for America, talking about the Erie Canal and so on. There are other parts clearly inspired by Shakespeare and his ilk. In places, it almost seems like a time-traveling Faulkner influenced the writing-or is it the other way. There are plenty of oddities, flaws and warts, but flights of language, imagination, scenario that stand the test of time. Books like this simply aren't written any longer, which is our loss.
Accepting the needs of Dickens' audience and serial publication, there is too much padding here. Scenes and characters that detract rather than add to the dramatic flow and tension. I was also disappointed in the narrator. Not enough spirit and energy for the Crummles interlude. The voice for Ralph Nickleby is much too wimpish, even nerdish. No cruelty or vigor. I can accept the interpretation given to Kate and Nicholas, but both voices were too old and mature sounding. This novel should chart Nicholas's growth into manhood and responsibility. Worse for me, Kate sounds like an aging woman, not a young woman of charm, exploration of life and growing discovery and self-confidence. Even audiobook performances need direction! I will likely listen again to another's interpretation.
Wonderful, touching novel. Anyone who has seen Juliet Stevenson as Mrs. Squeers in Doug McGrath's film of Nicholas Nickely will instantly understand the acclaim she has received for her narration in the other reviews. Splendid in all respects. Art of the highest order.
Audio books are a great advent-for those who can't read for whatever reason, when our eyes are tired, when we want to enjoy the spoken word. But audio books like this one transcend the conventional, for someone is just not reading us their book. Rather, this is a performance piece of the highest order. Here, the genius of David Timson is only exceeded by that of Dickens. As one reads or listens to Dickens, we are prompted to ask: is there any author alive who can still produce a work of this caliber or character, by which I emphasize the dialogue. Dickens' novels are not narratives, as are most novels I expect, as much as written down dramatizations. Herein lies the beauty and magic of this extraordinary audio book. It is not a substitute for reading, as are many audio books, but something else all together.
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