The narrator is a skilled reader by most technical criteria. However, I found the overall tone inappropriate for a novel of manners. There is a humorless sense of foreboding that might work in a horror novel but lost me. Although I was enjoying the content I could not get through more than a couple of chapters
I love long audiobooks, usually on the more challenging side (my two all-time favorites are Middlemarch and The Way We Live Now) but an author has to work to earn the right to my attention for this long. Barth has talent, and some of the basic themes and characters in the book are interesting. However, he lacks all self-discipline, throwing in every idea that came into his mind without regard to whether it advanced the book as a whole.
This one all but ruined audiobooks for me, Normally I go through them at a frightening pace, but just couldn't finish this one, I I kept saying, "I will stick with it, I will finish it." I found I simply stopped listening because I was so bored. After a few months of non-listening I decided to declare defeat and move on.
I actually wouldn't mind a plot synopsis find out what happened since I did care a bit about the characters, But not wasting any more of my life to find out.
Every book in the Hitchhiker's series is a delight, and all go at least a bit beyond. This is the one that has really stuck with me. The parable of the people of Krikkit has real depth: I find myself coming back to it constantly as something that helps me understand why good people do bad things.
And, did I mention, it's a blast, just pure fun. Freeman is great as always.
This is humor for misanthropes. What wit there is depends on the not terribly likable main character feeling superior to others. A great deal is slapstick, and the much loved speech scene left me cold. There is a special vein of misogyny that made my flesh crawl. In the last chapter, the hero's view (and evidently the author's) is spelled out quite openly: even a not terribly nice woman can be salvaged if she's attractive enough, while a somewhat less than average (though apparently not ugly) woman is to be avoided, because she's doomed to be bitter and crazy simply through the misfortune of her looks. Ugh. Well, if this is what you want, the narrator is good.
Nothing is ever going to top this one. Real characters, not just stick figures. I felt real dread of the sort that only great writing, not sensationalism, can produce. Even where I sort of saw what was coming, it had twists I did not expect - the most satisfyingly baroque plot ever.
Much better than the more highly regarded Moonstone, which was cute but not nearly as deep or satisfying.
I'm picky about readers but this was masterful. Agree with the few quibbles about Fosco's accent but minor.
A funny funny fairy tale with depth. Satiric without meaness, just what I want in a comedy of manners. And sorry to politicize this, but why is a misanthrope (and misogynist) like Kingsley Amis considered a great satirist and Gibbons so sadly neglected. I'm now dying to read more of her work -- please Audible, more, maybe Cold Comfort Farm unabridged?
The Juliet Stevenson version drove me mad with its melodrama, but I am glad I tried again. Clare Wille is superb. Some find her dry - I though she hit just the right balance.
The novel itself is excellent if slightly didactic. It's just a touch too a bit overt in the way it lays out the political issues of the time. That said, the debates are conveyed in an unusually even-handed way and put in the mouths of characters I really cared about.
And for those who found the ending a let-down: Read it again. It's a tiny bit subtle but when you get it totally satisfying. And yes, I agree with the person who compared it with Far From the Madding Crown -- if you like one you will probably like the other
The further I get away from this the more I appreciate it. I had heard repeatedly that this was a comic novel, which is not the first word I'd choose to describe a tale of murder, madness and a child's suicide. Yes, it has some funny parts but so does Lolita, which is not generally classified as humor. With these expectations I was sorely disappointed.
But Pale Fire is a tour de force of structure whose place in the canon I'd agree to. And the story and characters are compelling -- I couldn't stop listening. And the narration is as good as it gets, two gifted performances of extremely challenging roles.Just don't expect a light hearted romp.
Believe the other reviews- Critt really is horrible. If the themes in this book weren't adult I'd assume she was aiming at 6 year olds. The reading is IS.VERY.SLOW, WITH.LONG.PAUSES.,AND.EXAGGERATED.EMPHASIS.JUST.TO.BE.SURE.THE.BEGINNING.READER.DOES.NOT.MISS.ANYTHING.
Not all of us who read mysteries are illiterate, and I'd appreciate an audiobook premised on that assumption.
Well. to each his own. Obviously many people love Juliet Stevenson. but I found her melodramatic reading intolerable. I couldn't get very far because of it. It's my kind of novel and I think I liked what I heard so will probably try with another narrator.
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