The quality of the works.
The Heidi Chronicles was simply sensational: funny, pointed, insightful, perfectly cast and refreshingly balanced.
The Young Man From Atlanta perhaps lacks suspense, but makes up for it in brilliantly fashion, subtly discussing social and sexual attitudes by not actually having them discussed (it makes sense when you hear the play trust me).
Anna Christie was an enjoyable romp, not a life changer, but a great way to spend and hour.
For The Heidi Chronicles it was the sheer believability. The characters have their extremes and the troupes of each era/character type are explored, but in an intelligent and ultimately moving fashion. You'll feel like you've have known the characters for 20 years by the play's conclusion, and you'll be saddened to leave their company. Incisive but affectionate, a study of women in the Baby Boomer generation that's flexible mixing feminism, comedy and realism, without having any one element undermine the others. Strangely heart breaking, and utterly brilliant.
The Young Man From Atlanta is all about what goes unsaid. You get to fill the judgemental emotional void, and drawing your own conclusions is essential to this play's success.
Anna Christie a breeze.
Great value for money.
Nicole Kidman's intonation and reading style is superb, so much of this novel takes place in the female mind/voice and Nicole just nails it. She brings what can be a tricky style to read to life. It seemed to me, that she truly understood the novel and it showed in her reading.
I do have to warn you, she does have a nasty habit of taking sharp intakes of breath in between lines, and I feel this must have produced an editing dilemma. As someone who regularly edits audio, I'm guessing that Nicole must have read at too fast a pace to smoothly edit out these sounds (although you could lower the sound levels and raise them appropriately). It can be quite annoying at first, but you soon get used to it. Ideally these kind of noises should be removed.
Still I can't fault Nicole for inhaling.
It won't be for everyone. It's about thought, perception, transience, meaning, understanding, gender and all kinds of abstract ideas. If you want a straight narrative with clearly defined actions and goals this will be tricky, but I loved it.
The characters and their search for meaning and their approach to understanding really reflected some of the half understood/explored thoughts that I myself have struggled with. Lily Briscoe is possibly my favourite character in any novel, and occasionally Woolf's prose is just stunning.
As I say, To The Lighthouse is written in a style that is destined to alienate some, and enliven others. I found it incredibly rewarding, but it might leave you cold, be warned.
A truly harrowing listen...
...one of the finest I've read/heard, and I've made a point of running through classics.
I'm not normally a fan of overly descriptive novels, but this one really won me over. The psychological exploration of the lead characters is tremendous, and so much of the detail used early in the novel is recalled and demented warped further down the road. So this modernist novel is far more rewarding than say a Gothic novel where the description is over-ellaborate and occasionally unnecessary.
Warning: if you prefer pace, dialogue, action and warm characters this might not be for you.
Therese Raquin: Not exactly likeable, but I loved the premise of her character, her growth, and how aspects of the early life recur/expand later in the novel (hard to explain without spoilers).
Kate Winslet is tremendous. Clear and quite haunting. When's she's tired of winning Oscars she'd make an excellent narrator.
I hope that if the A-list series continues you get her back to read another of her favourites.
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