I purchased this, never having read the original, simply because I am a huge fan of Tim Curry's audiobooks. I defy anyone to listen to this without laughing out loud much of the way through, and then, silently weeping at the ending. I now think that only by experiencing J. M. Barrie's original story can one fully appreciate why it is a true classic. Curry's narration combines marvelous fun with a subtle sensitivity. This is a story and a performance with enormous heart.
Lorna Raver simply nails this wonderfully subtle story about a couple who begin to believe that their lodger is a serial killer. The suspicions of the couple are never actually spoken aloud, but the evidence they witness will bring the listener to harbor the same dark thoughts. Raver not only delivers living characters to our ears, she also keeps the narrative zooming along. No wonder this is a crime classic! Book and narrator: perfect!
Those who enjoy Umberto Eco's novels might like this combination of historical novel with science fiction. It's an intriguing idea: what would happen if scientifically advanced space aliens landed in a 14th century German village and encountered there a highly educated priest who tries to convert them to Christianity? How would the superstitious peasants respond? This really is an interesting story. It has depth, intelligence, a nice measure of pathos, and is well researched. The intellectual discussions in the novel are extensive and dense, however. Although they're well done, they won't be to the taste of those looking for escapist fare.
If you speak even an elementary level of German, though, I suggest reading this in print instead of listening to this production. Although the narrator actually is quite good on a general level, he has no concept whatever of how to pronounce German. Worse, he makes no effort to find out until the very last sections of the book, when he marginally, sporadically improves. I don't expect perfect pronunciation of foreign languages in audiobooks, but actors and directors in professional productions at least should find out how the consonants are pronounced. This actor reads every German word as though it were written in American English, including the simple "ja" (which means "yes," and is pronounced "yah," not "jaw.") He does, however, pronounce "Herr," which in this case means "lord," close to correctly. (The "H" in German is pronounced, as in English.) I found the constant, egregious mistakes to be literally eye-rolling. It ruined my enjoyment of the book, which otherwise might have had me turning handsprings.
I may buy a print copy and read it, without the aggravation. The book itself is worth a second look.
An imaginative, suspenseful and delightful story superbly performed. Lynn Redgrave not only does wonderful character voices, she keeps the narration lively as well--a feat pulled off only by the finest actors. This one fell into the "I couldn't put it down" category for me. Truly original and entertaining.
Having reached the end of "The End," I can only muse that the begnning and middle of "The End, and the end of the middle, mark this book as one of ther funniest of the series, but I'm not entirely sure of my emotions regarding the end of "The End." Without giving away the end, I can only hope fervently that "The End" is not the end, but rather the end of the beginning of a series of series in which the prodigious combined ironic talents of Messrs. Handler and Curry will continue to combine. Hilarious, all the way up to the end.
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