An Ideal Husband is my favorite of Wilde's works, and I chose to listen to this version specifically because it was presented as an audio version of the play. And were it not for Yeardley Smith as Mabel, I would have given this 5 stars. Unfortunately, I had a rather nails-on-the-chalkboard reaction to Yeardley Smith's voice. That's what I get for not listening to the sample, I suppose. I'll probably listen to An Ideal Husband again, but not this version of it.
This recording is a performance featuring Rosalind Ayres, Jacqueline Bisset, Paul Gutrecht, Martin Jarvis, Robert Machray, Miriam Margolyes, Alfred Molina, Jim Norton and Yeardley Smith.
...where "complete" apparently means double the length of the last audio version, but still abridged. Usually I'd knock off a star for such shenanigans, but as this is such a good book in every other respect, I'll let that slide.
I do love a good disaster story, but to my mind, the best sci-fi--and indeed the best fiction--examines some aspect of the human condition and questions it. This book delivers that by examining the very human condition itself. It's absolutely gripping, and oh, the audio production!
As if the story wasn't enough, the 40-strong cast is a who's who of vocal prowess. Some voices are instantly recognizable--Nathan Fillion, Alan Alda, René Auberjonois, Parminder Nagra, Masi Oka, John Turturro--and somehow this only adds to the power of their stories. Some voices, like those of Alfred Molina and Simon Pegg, tickle at the back of the brain. Many more are wonderfully unrecognizable. And then there's the incomparable Mark Hamill, who in one line manages to convey some of the rawest emotion in a book that's filled with no shortage of breath-taking moments. This book is, quite simply, art.
It's worth reading in any format, but if you've ever wondered what the audiobook fuss is all about, listen to this.
Geisel as read by John Lithgow? Yes please!
This isn't even close to being my favorite Dr. Seuss book, but the performance is simply outstanding. Lithgow's energy makes him an excellent narrative choice, and the backing musical track is perfectly, superbly Seussical. At 7 minutes, it was well worth my time.
I want to begin by saying that this book really ought to come with trigger warnings for domestic violence, male & female rape, and animal abuse.
Now that that's out of the way...
This book was apparently first published in 1988, which surprised me because I'd only noted the mid-2000s audio publication date, but it feels even more dated than that. Just about every cliche from the late 70s/early 80s makes an appearance in this book, from the career woman epithet to the general dynastic drama. The author has a ton of subplots and spends a ridiculous amount of time building them up, and I frankly only kept listening to see how they would all tie together (predictably, as it turns out).
This cliche-ridden book is unfortunately made even worse by an atrocious narrator. I got used to his voice after a while, but I never came to like it or the fact that he occasionally used the same voice for multiple characters.
Apparently the author and narrator are both generally well-liked, but I will be actively avoiding them in the future.
Rasovski's adaptation easily earns its 3 Audie awards. The cast - including Martin Jarvis, W. Morgan Sheppard, and Rosalind Ayres - is superb. The same is true of each musical performance from by Tony Barrand and John Roberts between scenes. I always enjoy the Halloween season, and this macabre story definitely got me in the holiday spirit.
No, because this audiobook is unfortunately (in my opinion) a face value reading of the play that omits the opening bit with Sly. The play within a play element is lost, which means the farcical setup is also lost.
I tend to come down on the side of the farcical, ironic or commedia dell'arte interpretations of the play. Given the reception of the play in its own time, the outrageous behavior of the two protagonists, and Shakespeare's approach to female characters in his other works (while not always kind, he never gets anywhere near this ridiculous anywhere else), this play simply doesn't make sense to me when taken at face value.
I could hear John de Lancie's writing far more in this edition than I could hear Arthur Conan Doyle. The production was funny, mostly, and definitely cheesy, but unfortunately it sometimes also seemed racist. I'm not sure if that was due to how Doyle wrote it, how de Lancie wrote his adaptation, or how the narrator chose to play the part of Gomez.
I now have a decent sense of the book, but I'm going to have to listen to another edition to actually hear it in Doyle's words.
If you haven't previously encountered As You Like It in some form, be it print or performance, I don't recommend starting with this version. While I picked up on the overall plot, there were definitely points when I was completely lost because I wasn't sure who was speaking. This recording was also hard to hear in spots, which didn't help. The music was lovely though - this was the first time I've really understood how a chorus can contribute to a play.
I grew up on the John Wayne movie of this tale, but I had no idea that the story was based on a book until after the Jeff Bridges version came out a year or so back. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Portis' Mattie is ever so much more complex than the girl who starred opposite John Wayne. Portis' Mattie is matter-of-factly kick-ass, and sometimes stubborn to the point of hilarity and stupidity.
I was also surprised to discover that the book is quite a bit more brutally violent than the story on which I was raised. I plan to watch the Jeff Bridges adaptation now that I've read this, and I'll be interested to see how ugly it gets.
Full of humor, snark and action, this audiobook is well worth the listen, though it alters a few things from McCulley's original version. The most notable alteration, and the only reason I gave this particular version 4 stars instead of 5, is that it entirely skips the d??nouement, a.k.a. the last couple pages of the written version. Audio listeners thus miss out on Zorro's reveal, which entirely changes the end of the story. It's a shame, really, because this is otherwise a gloriously fun recording.
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