I've got the wonderful (no longer available) John Cleese recording of The Screwtape Letters, as well as the Ralph Cosham version, also very good. But this performance is the best; it's beyond expectation and it might now be my favorite audio book. Ackland's voice is calmer and less cheeky than Cleese, but with much more gravitas.
Now, the case could be made that Cleese's less dignifiied Screwtape gives us a better laugh at the devil and thereby gives us a truer picture of the Underworld's ultimate loss of dignity. But for listening pleasure, which is an aid to absorption, this heavier reading is perfect. Very highly recommended.
C. S. Lewis is my favorite author, but I was almost horror-stricken the first time I heard his voice. He sounded to me like he was looking down his nose, and unfriendly. But I kept listening, mostly out of sheer novelty. And now, all sorts of qualties, tones, colors, nuances, and inflections have settled in and I find that not only do I enjoy his voice, but I almost can't understand how I had such an aversion to it. I think there's just been a lot lost in the lecture manner of 1950's Oxford/Cambridge, until what was excellent, clear, and forceful once comes off as cold and affected now. But in his day, nobody packed the house for lectures like Lewis. And it wasn't just his ideas, but his voice they loved. There are many accounts of this. So, if you are turned off at first, keep going and see if you don't end up loving it.I know, by the way, that this wasn't just a matter of "getting used to it" or forcing myself to like it because I like Lewis. Because I tried to apply the same acclimation to a particularly obnoxious narrator who happened to perform my favorite novel of all time. But try as I might, I couldn't take the guy.Lastly, if you find the commentary (I believe it's Dobson, but I could be wrong) before each of the loves to be jarring - as I did - you can order a CD version of these recordings plus two other CD's of Lewis reading a paper on The Pilgrim's Progress and a longish paper he wrote when he took his position at Cambridge, all for 20 bucks from the folks at Episcopal Media Center. They call the collection "C S Lewis Speaks His Mind." In addition to the extra material, the Four Loves recordings are presented without commentary. (I hope Audible doesn't mind my plugging their version here, but Audible doesn't have those other recordings available.) Just google "C S Lewis Speaks His Mind" and it'll pop right up.
Well, I have to read this monster for a college class. Not that I don't want to read it for pleasure, but in this case it's especially important that the translator and narrator are as clear as possible. I have liked all of the beginnings of the unabridged versions available here, but I've kept spending credits hoping I'd get one that really knocked me out. This is the one. After a bit of cursory research, I found the Grossman translation highly recommended. And my own ears tell me that the Guidal narration is the best. This reading is four hours longer than most of the others, and it sounds so far like the extra time is well spent in helpful pauses. There is the added benefit for me that Grossman's translation is easily attainable in printed, annotated form so that I can dig up good notes for my paper after absorbing the audio a few times. I can't say I've listened to the whole of any of these, but if the first hour of four different versions can be trusted, I can easily call this one the best by far. Happy listening.
Get this collection and also the audio of his essay collection called "The Weight of Glory" and you'll be in great shape. I'm so much a fan of Lewis that I don't know how valuable my review can be - indeed, I don't even go to him to find answers anymore so much as for the pleasure of his company - but I can at least say that if you like Lewis in general, these essays are not a step down from his books. They're just... you know ... shorter. Happy listening. Cosham performs well as always.
I tried all three narrators available for the unabridged Brothers K. I hated them all to begin with, but Covell is the one that I was able to settle into. Davidson's condescension, though I tried my best to ignore it, was just too much. Woolf and Clovell are both underwhelming, and it takes more concentration to hang on, but between them, I like Covell. In general, I've found boring narrations to be less offending to the ear across a long listening than obnoxious ones that might be more dramatic. Listening to Covell is sometimes like hearing those computer-automated voice, but it can actually become endearing after a while. In any case, while his voice didn't do anything to enhance the reading, in the end he didn't detract from it. I've read the book before, and I found the sensation of hearing Covell's reading exactly the same, whereas Davidson's narration jarred the spell completely for me.
It's a shame there is not a reading of this novel as great as Guidall's masterful Crime and Punishment, but this performance still amounts to a wonderful experience.
I'm sorry to say I couldn't enjoy Walter Zimmerman's narration. I've found this same story in a small, inexpensive collection of Dostoyevsky short stories called "A Disgraceful Affair." Since it isn't obvoius which stories that collection contains (odd to me, since Dream of a Ridiculous Man is pretty famous and I'd think the collection would sell better if they'd put it up front), I thought I'd come here and recommend that one as an alternative.The narrators for that collection are Michael Page and Kirby Heyborne, and I'm not sure which reads Dream of a Ridiculous Man. The performance there is a bit more manic than the voice I "hear" when I read Dostoyevsky, but it's a worthy intepretation.Anyway, if you want to give a different narrator a shot at this great story, punch "A Disgraceful Affair" into the search engine. I don't know the other stories it contains except the very early one called "White Nights," which is also lovely.
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