...and nice capsule biographies, not only of the four main figures--Edna Ferber, Dorothy Parker, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Edna Millay--but all the best writers of the time, including F. Scott, Edmund Wilson, and of course Hemingway. Zips along at a high rate of speed, pausing now and then to make you laugh at the zingers these ladies could produce.
This is easily the best version of the book I've tried. It is crisp, clear, focused and fast. By fast, I mean that it has narrative drive and speed, and never loses your interest. At 20 hours, it is the ideal length. In a book that needed surgery, the guy knew exactly where to cut. Not only is it abridged, however, it has been revised. The best thing he did was to dispense with the Russian patronymic. For example, he calls Ivan "Ivan," not "Ivan Fydorovich," which is an earful as well as a mouthful. Without sacrificing richness or depth--without sacrificing what makes Dostoevsky great--it reads like a contemporary novel in English, not a big, shaggy bear of a novel from the 19th century. I wish he'd do the same for "War and Peace."
Krist wrote a gripping prologue but then the narrative crashed to the ground on the first page of the first chapter. Bogged down by detail, it is dry and dull. All the helium leaked out of the story and it never took off again.
Gielgud hams it too much, reading as if he were on stage, trying to emote. More concerned with his interpretation than he is with the meter, he may be a good actor but he doesn't understand the music of verse.
I can't hear you because, as others have mentioned, the narrator felt he had to shout when giving voice to Gus McCrae. I really like the book so far, but the shouting is hard to bear. I hope I can get used to it.
The audio of this great poem is compromised by two problems: piano music intrudes at the end of each section, drowning out the words for a stanza at a time, and the narrator, Robert Bethune, turns in an eccentric performance. His reading isn't bad exactly, as his pacing is good and he stresses the right syllables. However, his voice has a slightly nasal tone, and he has a tendency to swoop and soar, coming dangerously close to a sing-song delivery. While this can be a little annoying, it is still much better than having no poem at all. Maybe I'll get used to it.
Sometimes when you read a classic, especially a classic in translation, it's hard to tell exactly why it's a classic. That isn't a problem here. The ghost of Virgil was hovering over Dryden when he rendered this epic in rhymed couplets. And the ghost of Dryden hovered over Michael Page when he delivered his vigorous narration.
The audio quality of this play, one of Shakespeare's most lyrical, is, at best, highly erratic, ranging from good to nearly inaudible. It sounds as if the engineers had the use of only one microphone, which they placed in the center of the stage. As a result, depending on his position, an actor's lines will be either amplified or almost completely lost.
So there goes another wasted credit. Thanks, Audible. You make me want to try piracy.
At more than 600 pages, this book is at least 200 pages too long. I could barely finish it. Two much better Vietnam novels are "Fields of Fire," by James Webb, and "The Things They Carried," by Tim O'Brien. For an even more harrowing, white-knuckle read, try Michale Herr's nonfiction account "Dispatches."
I don't know why so many people are gushing about "Matterhorn," but I suspect it has something to do with guilt--guilt about long-ago attitudes towards those who served at the time-- and a need to overcompensate now with excessive praise.
Not only hard to follow but slow in the extreme. I gave up after five hours.
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