Great story, hampered by inconsistent performance.
Dotrice could easily have reviewed his previous pronunciations of names (like Catelyn and Petyr) and, more importantly, voices. His Dolorous Edd went from a brilliantly deadpan nasal to a cross between Hagrid and Davos Seaworth. Sam has apparently turned into a halfwit, if his new voice is any indication. It is sad.
Sometimes you read a book that makes you just a little *better.* Bleak House is one of those books. The plot begins slowly and builds carefully, which will delight a good listener. The characters are memorable, believable, and varied. And what Hugh Dickson does with this reading is astounding: his Mr. Smallwood, his George, his Esther are just amazing. It's not just the perfect accents but the temperament, idiosyncracies and moods he brings out. What a book. Thanks, Mr. Dickens, and thanks, Mr. Dickson.
Maybe Les Miserables, for the rejection of legalistic and heavily moral religious institution in favor of compassionate action. Maybe some of Trollope's more deeply felt books... Phineas Redux, Dr. Thorne. A little Charlotte Bronte.
Hard to say, but I often thought about that as I listened. His brilliantly repulsive Mr. Smallwood I couldn't have created on my own. Likewise the stalwart George.
In "The Night Watch," we meet and learn to love several characters whose lives intersect in WWII London. Much is left to guess at, and I'm one who appreciates that: what is foregrounded is life itself in all its fragility and tenderness. Haven't encountered such a compassionate book in, well, a long time. The writing's quite lovely, too. And the reader... Juanita McMahon, you're an artist. Absolutely flawless. I really hope Audible will offer more Sarah Waters books soon, and that Ms. McMahon is the reader.
This book (and its myriad voices) will stay with me a long, long time.
I have been listening to audiobooks for a long time now, but I'm not sure I've encountered such a graceless, toneless reader before. I can imagine that these stories would be engaging and memorable when read well, but this is an ordeal. At times the reader seems to lose his place, pause, then bumble on in a dispirited way. I didn't mind the 15 minute preamble, though it didn't tell me anything new about Anderson, but the reading itself... sigh... not too good.
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