I thoroughly enjoyed this book and this reading and was sad when it was over. I like Dickens but reading his novels (or even listening to them being read) can sometimes be a chore. Not so here. Vance's reading of the first-person narrative--an adult David recounting his youth--strikes just the right note. His performance of all the many characters and their various dialects is superb.
This is NOT the book of that title by Foldy, which I have in hard copy. The recording itself proclaims (after "This is Audible"): "The Trials of Oscar Wilde. Performed by Martin Jarvis. Compiled by Gyles Brandreth from the transcripts of the three trials heard at the Central Criminal Courts in London in April and May, 1895." This is interesting and useful but not what I ordered.
If you're prepared for a book written in James's late style, with its labyrinthine sentence structures etc., and plan to read it as well as listen to it, this could be a useful recording to you. The reader is pretty good, but the audio quality is often poor, as it is apparently transferred from old tapes. At times it even speeds up and slows down! Still, it was helpful to me in a first reading of the book, which I enjoyed immensely. Now I understand why many including James himself consider it his best novel.
The best thing that can be said about this recording of a great though difficult novel is that it exists, thanks to that great pioneer of audio books Flo Gibson. It is an old recording transferred from tapes and the quality is sometimes poor. The big problem, though, is that this is a difficult novel to begin with and Gibson's monotonous style doesn't help. She doesn't have much range for differentiating characters' voices and that is crucial here because the book is play-like, written almost entirely in dialogue. Having already read this novel once, I listened to this recording in the car strictly as a supplement to a careful re-reading at home, and to that limited extent it was useful.
Having struggled once through Henry James's late prose style in What Maisie Knew, I appreciated it a lot more the second time with the help of Flo Gibson's recording. This is the only audio of this book that I have been able to find, and Gibson's style works pretty well here, although it is sing-songy and monotonous at times. I often went back to read sections I had heard to better pick up the humor and nuances. The sound quality is not great; a few words here and there are inaudible.
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