This is an excellent book completely let down by the narrator. I have heard two audiobooks read by this same performer and he has ruined both of them! It's quite a skill to make W.Somerset Maugham sound as thrilling as a telephone directory. If this was the narrator's intention then he has suceeded brilliantly.
Unabridged audiobooks of Dickens are a bit of a rarity therefore I welcomed this production. But I was quite disappointed.
As a rule Dickens’ work lends itself well to the audiobook format (after all the great man himself was renowned for his readings of his own material). But it requires that the narrator be up to the, not inconsiderable, task. Unfortunately this reader is not. As a Brit I find his artificial English accent rather strange. As if this wasn’t bad enough the electronic pitch treatment of the his voice, every time he renders the dialogue for the female characters, is distinctly creepy.
I don’t anticipate purchasing parts 2 and 3.
What do you get when you bring together a literary giant such as Dickens, and one of Britain's finest character actors? Quite simply ten-and-a-half hours of unbridled perfection. Martin Jarvis has taken the audiobook format to another level. He clearly knows Dickens intimately and never misses a beat in this outstanding performance. I cannot recommend this recording highly enough.
With his exquisite characterisations and unique witty style "Our Mutual Friend" is another of Dickens' literary masterpieces. However this rendition is painful to behold. The reader simply doesn't get it! His attempts at English accents make Dick Van Dyke sound like Sir Laurence Olivier. (For those non-Britishers out there Mr Van Dyke's has been widely acknowledged as the worst British accent of all time!). If you really want to hear what Dickens should sound like I urge you to download "Hard Times" read by Martin Jarvis.
If Jane Austen could be described as the Mozart of literature, then Iris Murdoch is the Mahler. As when listening to the works of the latter the reader must prepare to become absorbed and go with the flow. Fast moving this isn't. Long luscious and absorbing it certainly is. Juliet Mills' reading is excellent. So just lie back and enjoy!
Robert Whitfield's reading is the finest I have heard in any audiobook (and I've listened to a good few!). Dickens' world and superb characters are vividly, and atmospherically brought to life. This is better than watching a movie...it's more like being IN one.
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