Wodehouse's prose is hilarious - but Jarvis' performance adds comic timing that my own brain and imagination can't come up with. Somehow he manages to make the pauses before lines that I know by heart full of comic anticipation. Someone should create a Wodehouse narrating category for royal laureates and then dedicate it to Martin Jarvis.
The only other Tom Sharpe audiobook I've listened to is Porterhouse Blue, the first book in this series. Although I enjoyed listening to both these books neither of them were as funny as the two books I read as paperbacks - Ancestral Vices and Wilt in Nowhere. I couldn't read either of those two books in public because I laughed so hard that people would edge away from me in alarm. I'm not completely sure whether those two felt so much funnier because the stories were in fact funnier, or whether it was because the narrator sounded funnier in my head than it did read out loud by a professional.
I feel terrible for saying this because Jonathan Cecil is a great reader too.... but there is a certain kind of story that makes me think wistfully of Martin Jarvis.
I've long been a fan of Katherine Kellgren and actually chose this audiobook by doing a quick search with her name. Kellgren's renditions really soar when the narration itself has personality - either because it is spoken in character like Bloody Jack, or simply because of writing style like The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The narration in The Invisible Order is sadly not as full of forceful personality and the liveliness of Kellgren's voice suffers rather as a result. At times, the dialogue in the text can also feel forced or stilted, which prevents her from going full steam ahead with her hilariously over the top characterizations.
Overall, the story and the narration are good enough to keep one listening to find out what happens next.
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