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David

Seattle, WA, United States | Member Since 2010

40
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 8 reviews
  • 30 ratings
  • 262 titles in library
  • 7 purchased in 2014
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FOLLOWERS
3

  • Can You Forgive Her?

    • UNABRIDGED (28 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Timothy West
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (195)
    Performance
    (116)
    Story
    (117)

    Trollope inextricably binds together the issues of parliamentary election and marriage, of politics and privacy. The values and aspirations of the governing stratum of Victorian society are ruthlessly examined and none remains unscathed. But it is above all on the predicament of women that Trollope focuses. ‘What should a woman do with her life?’ asks Alice Vavasor of herself, and this theme is echoed by every other woman in the novel.

    David says: "Superb performance and sound"
    "Superb performance and sound"
    Overall

    This is a review of the audiobook narrated by Timothy West, not a review of the novel per se. (I would advise new readers/listeners to Trollope to start with Barchester Towers.)
    This is an superb performance of Trollope's speaking narrative. Trollope, I think, would love it; it is entirely in Trollope's service. Trollope's style, syntax, and voice are all excellently rendered throughout the 28 hours of storytelling. The acoustic quality is consistently perfect throughout all 28 hours. If West made any mistakes, they were edited out perfectly. The microphone was placed perfectly. I listened to the Audible enhanced MP3 format, which is 800 MB for the unabridged novel. The recording is so good that the lighter MP3 formats are sure to be of the highest quality also.
    West's differentiation of individual characters is excellent, as each narrative voice is specific and recognizable and yet not delivered with extravagance. West's aim is to be expressive yet subtle. (Perhaps the subplot with Mrs. Greenow and her two suitors is a bit extravagant, but that is as Trollope wishes.) West renders sustained dramatic dialogue perfectly (very important for one of Trollope's greatest strengths), with just the right timing and nuances of tone. Glencora's quick, witty, passionate voice comes through very well.
    In short: The narrator is performed as a speaking voice, and the characters are acted through the narrative voice. Trollope provided the score, and West is a great musician.

    25 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • In Chancery: The Forsyte Saga, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (11 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By John Galsworthy
    • Narrated By David Case
    Overall
    (49)
    Performance
    (20)
    Story
    (20)

    In Chancery, the second novel in John Galsworthy's epic social satire The Forsyte Saga, follows the events of A Man of Property. After suffering the death of her lover and abuse from her husband, Soames, Irene Forsyte finally leaves her marriage for good. Though socially disgraced by her affair, she forms a bond with Old Jolyon, a father of the Forsyte clan who had grown distant from the family after reconciling with one of his outcast sons.

    Chad says: "Keeps getting better"
    "Excellent: but note that end of file is incorrect"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I will someday write a review of the full Case reading of The Forsyte Saga, which as you see by my ratings I think is outstanding, but just wanted to note here that the last "chapter" in this download ("Interlude") includes instructions to "turn the cassette over", deletes some material, and repeats two large sections of text, which destroys the beauty of the Interlude. Just a warning for those who do not have a printed copy of the book. This corruption was noted by Chad in Texas way back on 01-27-09, and Audible should fix this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Trollope: An Autobiography

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 40 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Bernard Mayes
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (24)
    Performance
    (8)
    Story
    (8)

    Anthony Trollope is most famous for his portrait of the professional and landed classes of Victorian England, especially in his Palliser and Barsetshire novels. But he was also the author of one of the most fascinating autobiographies of the nineteenth century. Trollope was born in 1815, the product of a formidable mother and a tragically unsuccessful father who was socially ambitious for his sons. He was the victim of vicious bullying at Harrow and Winchester. But he had inherited his mother's determination, and managed later to carve out a successful career in the General Post Office while devoting every spare moment to writing. How he paid his groom to wake him every morning at 5:30 a.m. and disciplined himself to write 250 words every fifteen minutes has become part of literary legend. His efforts resulted in over sixty books, a sizable fortune, and fame, and his autobiography. Trollope looks back on his life with satisfaction. Perhaps as interesting as the facts he reveals and the opinions he records about Dickens and George Eliot, politics and the civil service are the judgments he passes on his own character.

    Fortunee says: "the meaning of work"
    "Required reading for Trollopians, praise for Mayes"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I read the Autobiography before I listened to it, and I was surprised how much richer the audio version is. As others have noted, Mayes here has a 19th century voice and delivery, and I really could imagine him as Trollope himself.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Persuasion

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Jane Austen
    • Narrated By Juliet Stevenson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (993)
    Performance
    (680)
    Story
    (687)

    Anne Elliot has grieved for seven years over the loss of her first love, Captain Frederick Wentworth. But events conspire to unravel the knots of deceit and misunderstanding in this beguiling and gently comic story of love and fidelity.

    Emily - Audible says: "Juliet Stevenson is Simply Amazing"
    "Excellent narrator, fine production values"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Juliet Stevenson does an excellent job reading this delicately nuanced novel. When the time comes to purchase other Austen audio novels I don't yet have, I'll simply choose Stevenson's performance, whoever else may be available.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Troubles

    • ABRIDGED (4 hrs and 41 mins)
    • By J. G. Farrell
    • Narrated By Sean Barrett
    Overall
    (12)
    Performance
    (7)
    Story
    (8)

    A listener follows Brendan Archer, a major in the British Army, to County Wicklow in Ireland, where he is supposed to meet the woman he thinks he will marry. When his plans do not turn out quite as he imagined, he decides to stay on at The Majestic - a crumbling coastal hotel - which holds a strange charm and many eccentric, often amusing, inhabitants.

    Linda says: "okay but jumpy"
    "A nearly perfect short, lyrical book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like all three novels in Farrell's trilogy, but this one, like Woolf's To the Lighthouse, has a perfect structure and is exquisitely written. It is performed admirably.
    The story will not be to everyone's liking. It is funny and melancholy at the same time, like other Farrell novels.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Room: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Emma Donoghue
    • Narrated By Michal Friedman, Ellen Archer, Robert Petkoff, and others
    Overall
    (4376)
    Performance
    (1857)
    Story
    (1847)

    To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, but what she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

    Kathleen says: "A truly memorable read"
    "Weird, funny, inspiring, a great listen"
    Overall

    I never listen to audiobooks unless I have read the book first. For Room I made an exception because I had a crazy notion of reading the Booker shortlist this year, and I anticipated that the 5-year-old Jack would be fun to listen to -- if the narrator was adequate. Fortunately, Jack is performed well; ma is fine and grows on one, but she seems to enter the narrative as a module, as do many of the voices (perhaps a result of how this recording was produced). The male voices are not so well done.
    But so what, ultimately. This novel made me feel weird when I listened to it and I still feel weird a week later, and I imagine I will keep on feeling weird, and if I don't, I'd better listen to it again.
    Finally, a comment on the tone of the book -- something that would have helped me in deciding whether to listen to or read it. Terrible as the subject is, the book is quite funny and is decidedly not depressing. Quite the opposite: Good beats Bad.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Phineas Finn

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Anthony Trollope
    • Narrated By Timothy West
    Overall
    (131)
    Performance
    (93)
    Story
    (93)

    In Phineas Finn, the second of the Palliser novels, Trollope balances the rival demands of public and private life, entangling political ambitions with the experiences of love. Phineas Finn, an irresistible but penniless young Irish barrister enters Parliament and comes to London leaving behind him an Irish sweetheart, Mary Flood-Jones. In London, Phineas wins friends on all sides and is admitted to high society.

    Leni Ramberg says: "The entire book is in the 3 parts of download."
    "Phineas Finn and West: 5 stars; Audible: 1 star"
    Overall

    As others have written, this is another extraordinary recording by Timothy West. The problem is, only 3 of the 4 parts are available. Audible customer service knows this -- or knew it -- and pulled the download for a month or so. Now it's back up, but part 4 is still not available (August 20, 2010). One star to Audible for making any Trollope narrated by West available -- one star, that is, if Audible tells their customers that this is incomplete.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • The Portrait of a Lady

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Henry James
    • Narrated By John Wood
    Overall
    (193)
    Performance
    (130)
    Story
    (134)

    When Isabel Archer, a beautiful, spirited American, is brought to Europe by her wealthy aunt Touchett, it is expected that she will soon marry. But Isabel, resolved to enjoy the freedom that her fortune has opened up and to determine her own fate, does not hesitate to turn down two eligible suitors. It is only when she finds herself irresistibly drawn to the cultivated but worthless Gilbert Osmond that she discovers that wealth is a two-edged sword and that there is a price to be paid for independence.

    Linda says: "Brilliant reading"
    "Highly recommended"
    Overall

    John Wood's narration is just about perfect. The "American" accents are not "realistic," but that is a minor quibble, especially as it is offset so well by the perfect rendition of the narrative voice. Wood clearly understands the arc of the novel as a whole, so each chapter, paragraph, sentence has the right tone and nuance; the little refracted ironies strewn about everywhere are nicely expressed. Best of all -- I say this without having heard other readings -- is that Wood reads slowly. He savors the words, and we have time to understand them. The production values and audio quality are fabulous. I echo Linda's comment: Please, Mr. Wood, record more James!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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