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Few could be the comparisons of a more remarkable tale - and fewer still the comparisons of those able to tell it...
Of course, the story itself needs no defense - the genius of the author will forever stand upon its own merit. But, for those of the persuasion that this wonderful classic deserves the best of narrators, I must declare that I am of the unshakable opinion that John Lee is just the man. His performance is truly exhilarating - even addictive. The ease with which he flows through the French pronunciations, the many colorful individuals he personalizes and brings to life, his ability to freely switch between characters (not to mention his precision and accuracy of "staying true" to the dialect he invents for each of them!), as well as the intrinsic quality of his deep, strong voice, all barely begin to give a glimpse of the incredible talent of this narrator. To listen to this man tell this tale is to enjoy with the greatest of pleasure...
I must confess that I was not originally a big fan of Tennyson...multiple encounters with Michael Pennington has quite altered my opinion. It's somehow all linked to the lack of communication - printed words, especially of poetic verse, must be rightly interpreted, and then verbally conveyed in such a way as enable the mind to embrace the depth and the beauty of the authors meaning. This narrator has the gift to do just that.
One technical negativo is the format - the poems are not divided in such a way as to allow for the selection of individual works, rather, it is simply one large recording with no breaks...
It is incredibly difficult to find a GOOD narration of the King James Bible - Heathcote Williams is an exception. Why? Let me count the ways:
1) an English accent is psychologically demanded by this Southerner in order to fully enter into the historical beauty of this translation - his is such an one;
2) the ability to appropriately "bring the characters to life" and to portray the emotions hinted to in the various contexts is what often makes or breaks the narrator - Mr. Williams has such an ability;
3) the serious listener desires a dramatic rendition, yet with lack of flippancy - such is the case here.
I will not go so far as to say that it is a perfect narration, but given the many narrators I've tried, Mr. Williams is by far the closest to the ideal that I have long sought after...my only real complaint is that he has not narrated more of the King James Bible.
There are voices - and there the voice of John Lee...
This is a tragic tale of one man's psychological struggle to seek the romantic revenge that ever weighs upon his mind - no matter the costs. The voice of such a tale requires a firmness and a resolve equal to that of the place and characters involved. That voice is found in the voice of John Lee. His strength of diction, range of inflection and swift pace create a captivating and irresistible listening experience.
1) A penetrating analysis of human nature
2) A heartfelt search for the true meaning of life
3) A beautifully written story that evokes the full spectrum of one's emotions
4) An incredible performance by David Horovitch
5) One of the rare audiobooks I plan to listen to again, and perhaps again
Reason and observation, says the wise Qoheleth of old, compels one to admit that there is no enduring satisfaction under the sun. The whole of natural life per se, he proceeds to elaborate, offers only an enticing, and often very believable, mirage, viz., that some cause or some ambition or some ideal state, will somehow attain some lasting value, will somehow provide complete and enduring fulfillment. Upon recognition, one often finds this a rather repulsive and untimely sense of reality, and thus one finds it more convenient to suspend belief in the said recognition in order that life may find have some significance; others may even try to come to grips with the implications. For the latter there is a shocking, seemingly contradictory, discovery: a desire for the ideal state in spite of it having no ultimate point.
Rarely have I found a more penetrating, painful, but liberating exposition of this idea of the ‘vanity of life’ than in Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina”. Mr. Tolstoy’s genius is displayed as he eloquently guides his readers through the exhilarating emotional heights experienced in the passionate pursuit of the ideal state, and, then, to the slow, terrible recognition of it all - futility. So intense is the description that one is made to almost believe that it is one’s own inner self being so vividly exposed to the delusion of a heretofore satisfactory and delightful sense of purpose. There is no escape: one must mentally relive the joy and the horror of it to the bitter end. Yet, through it all there is Konstantin Levin, whose views shall likely never be in vogue with society, but nevertheless finally begins to see a way out of the madness of vanity.
David Horovitch's narration is built of the rare stuff that carries one directly into the very time and place - a captivating and exciting world of 'real life' characters. Simply put, its some of the best reading I've heard...
It may be enough to say that, I began this book with a keen interest in Inca lore – and finished fascinated by it…The primary purpose of this book is to describe the clash of two great peoples, viz., the mighty Incas and the endless Conquistadores. Thus, if the listener desires in depth accounts of the times before 1492, then other books would make a better choice. However, for an overall introduction to the Inca’s, for rich descriptions of bygone wars and cultures – all written in a way to present complex material for the ease and enjoyment of laymen - the listener would do well to delay purchase no longer…
While this book is no doubt of great literary value, and while its author should be lauded for his genius - the masterstroke belongs to the narrator. Indeed, Mr. Muller uses the talents of his voice to liberally enable the listener to not only appreciate the intrinsic qualities mentioned, but also to feel convinced that such appreciation would have been lost if one less able had set his voice to the task…
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