I bought this because I love to listen to Alison Larkin. However, the book is so silly! All that heavy sex, etc. in the era of Jane Austen? And none of the characters had much "going on" in their lives, apart from following the tedious plot line.. The heroine kept telling us what a great and grand educator she is, but the author doesn't allow us to see her in this role.
Ms. Larkin's reding though really is wonderful. She has such a lovely way of rendering children.
I can't stop listening to this most recent recording of Pride and Prejudice celebrating Jane Austen’s 200th anniversary.. Over and over again I replay certain scenes. I don't know who deserves the most credit, Alison Larkin the reader or Jane Austen the writer. They are totally co-mingled in this remarkable recording. In all my reading of Jane Austen, over the course of many years, I somehow never did get how truly witty and wise Jane Austen was and is.
Alison Larkin brings it all to light. I fear that when reading to oneself one (me) may tend to become glassy eyed now and then. All I know is I missed much which came as a revelation through listening to Larkin’s wonderfully expressive reading. So many characters, so many voices. All crafted with delicacy, care and intelligence.
I could bring up many scenes from the whole great thing, but having just finished listening to the recording for the second time the scenes that stand out just now are those most recently read; those from the last chapters.
1. Mr. Bennet's reading of Mr. Collins' letter. I never in my earlier readings really took in either Mr. Bennet's wit or his really unforgivable indolence.
1. The confrontation of Lady de Burgh and Catherine.
3. The marvelous and ever so satisfying scene between Lizzie and Darcy where things are finally, thanks to each the other, worked out. In this day and age where people have a hard time expressing themselves it is refreshing that these two proud, prejudiced and splendid creatures make themselves beautifully clear to each other. Most satisfyingly indeed.
Plain and simple, and I hate to say it, but without this remarkable narration much of this great writer was lost on me.
Somewhere in "Aspects of the Novel" alluding to actors, E. M. Forster observed and, I paraphrase: "It is inexplicable to me how a handful of neurotic men and women can improve upon a perfectly good work of literature and yet time after time, they do". There you have it. It certainly is true for me.
And let me add that the music is dynamic and delightful, Wonderful work. The little known Mozart excerpts fit perfectly. Great pains have been taken to mimic musically what has just transpired between the characters. The music ends and begins each chapter and It makes one smile and sometimes laugh aloud.
I have other books I should get to. I just can't for the present.
The Great Master of the historical novel leads us impeccably through the Roosevelt/Truman years with wit, hindsight and revelation. May all this great series be soon recorded!
A huge cast of characters including horses, a Jack Russell terrier named Eileen, and even a pig. Their must be at at least a twenty men, women and 2 precocious children, whose lives we follow and who are caught up in Jane Smiley's world of thoroughbred horse racing.
The woman is a wonder. She writes of this world with a kind of love, even as she casts her eye and ours on the highly unnatural and often cruel fate that has been been bred into and eventually creating these glorious animals.
I enjoyed it immensely and didn't want it to end. As the book neared its end I would relisten at random - didn't matter where - just to put off being goodbye to it. It's all good.
Shelley Thompson does a fine job in wending her way through the myriad characters. Each character has his or her own voice .. including the animals. She reads with both passion and compassion. She is a fine reader.
This novel is all insight and irony. The writing is glorious. Listening to the superb reading of it by Edward Hermann it took my breath away.
I wonder if without that superb voice, I would have gotten it. It's amazing to me after a lifetime of reading books, to think that I might have missed a great deal by not having them read to me. A reader of intelligence and eloquence, brings to a great book much of what an actor such as Lawrence Olivier brings to Henry the Fifth.
As I write this I am nearly finished with it and will, as I often do with a book I love, start it again from the beginning before I do. This way I not only put off parting ways with it but get to savor it with a double appreciation, so to speak.
I wish I had the capacity to find the words to review it properly. Just have a listen.
Change At Jamaica is the story of Eddie, who is desperately trying to break away from his rich and powerful dad. There is a rich assortment of characters, who alone are worth the cost of the book: a Muslim cab driver named Moose; Eddie's first cousin, the randy Randy; the cursing Lipschitz, from whom Eddie leases a cab and rents a room. Each of the many voices--points of view, accents, emotions and all--are performed to perfection by the author on the audio edition, which is often NOT the case when writers read their own work.
The writing is tight, no extra words. Marshall Messer can't write a sentence that isn't good. The whole thing is full of irony and good humor. I found myself laughing out loud and then marveling so much at what I'd just heard that I had to replay it. I learned a lot too: about the geological birth of Long Island; the ins and outs of the rare coin business; horse racing; birds; the taxicab business; and more than I needed to know about human coupling. But I liked Eddie so much, I was able to slog through the sex scenes, and eventually I realized that they aren’t gratuitous; they fit, and they’re often hilarious, sad, and full of metaphor (as is the whole book). The language is superb, sometimes grotesque, frequently beautiful, and the novel reads wonderfully well. Needless to say, I recommend this book.
A Soldier's Wife tells the story of a thirty-something mother of two youngish daughters, who lived out the 2nd World War on the German occupied Island of Guernsey, a Channel Island and Bailiwick off the French Coast.
It is excellently told by Alison Larkin, who is able to read to us in the many accents and different voices that the many charactered story requires. You never are in doubt of who is speaking.
There is much suspense as Vivienne juggles finding food for her family during the five years of the war, her feelings of English Patriotism and the slowly developing attraction that develops between her and a German Captain.
She is a good person who is forced to cope daily, with unexpected events where she must question her patriotism, the wisdom of the many difficult decisions she is forced to make - and just the day to day effort of providing food and warmth for her family.
As the story unwinds it becomes a lesson in strength and courage.
Gore Vidal at the end of his long and over-the-top life, here exhibits his wisdom, his wit and his frustrations, as he settles old scores and drops many a name.
There is much to be learned from this too soon ended short account of a remarkable life.
Of all the Trollope novels, and I think, in a long life, I have read most of them them, if not all; I think I have enjoyed this one the most. Simon Vance's performance is past marvelous. He gives us a performance. He acts. He is able to switch between the varied voices and emotions of Trollope's always finely hewned characters seemlessly. I found myself happily enmeshed in these lives. He differentiates between the voices of each of the many characters, so you always know who is speaking, even in multi peopled conversations.
This book is full of 18th Century politics, which I find fascinating. I don't think any other novelist of his day took it on. In this novel Trollope could be the Gore Vidal of his time, with less scorn, and more wit, of course.
As is not true of Trollope's other books, this one he leaves us in suspense. I have just bought Phineas Finn Redux, and with the great Simon in charge once again, I look forward to the treat in store.
Part of The Palisser series. Great story and wonderful read by the great Simon Vance. More Pallisers, please.
Neal Stephenson is a genius. I can't ken his math/computer driven world, but I respect them and do the best I can. I get tremendous pleasure from his brilliant, intricate storries, his marvelously drawn interesting people, and his (in-spite-of-himself) romantic bent and above all his wit. He loves to play with language and it's a joy to follow him wherever he chooses to lead us whether we understand it all or not. You never can tell - we just might learn something.
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