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Jan Jacob Mekes

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands | Listener Since 2008

  • 3 reviews
  • 3 ratings
  • 205 titles in library
  • 1 purchased in 2015

  • Anna Karenina

    • UNABRIDGED (38 hrs and 5 mins)
    • By Leo Tolstoy
    • Narrated By David Horovitch

    Anna Karenina seems to have everything - beauty, wealth, popularity and an adored son. But she feels that her life is empty until the moment she encounters the impetuous officer Count Vronsky.

    Marcus Vorwaller says: "Beautiful story, amazing narration"
    "Emotional rollercoaster"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely. Particularly if said friend was thinking of getting married. Tolstoy does a tremendously good job writing about all aspects of love and human interaction.

    What did you like best about this story?

    The grand life events. Without wanting to spoil anything, events like birth, marriage, and death are the ones where Tolstoy really shines here. He takes his time describing not only the events themselves, but also the effects they have on the people involved in them.

    What about David Horovitch’s performance did you like?

    I really liked how the narrator acted out the emotional scenes. Horovitch is particularly good in bringing dialogue alive. The narration itself is a bit dull at times, but perhaps Tolstoy's slow and deliberate prose is at fault there (though it's not really a fault, it's just the way it's intended). One minor thing: the narrator's French, while good, isn't perfect, but that's easily overlooked (or should I say overlistened?).

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not really. Anna Karenina is a book that's best enjoyed like a fine wine: take a few sips at a time. Apart from practical difficulties (the book is just too long to listen to in one go), you'd just get overwhelmed with emotion if you wanted to listen to too much at a time.

    Any additional comments?

    One thing to keep in mind is that this book is ultimately not about Anna Karenina. It features her heavily, yes, but ultimately the main character is a man called Levin. If you don't realize this, part 5 of the book may seem a bit redundant, but once you get that Tolstoy first and foremost wanted to tell a story of self-discovery and faith, it all makes sense.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Classic Russian Short Stories, Volume 1

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 33 mins)
    • By Alexander Pushkin, Nikolai Gogol, Ivan Turgenev, and others
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin

    Russian literature exudes an atmosphere of mysticism, which is said to be a natural result of the simplicity of her people. Often, instead of being "about" anything, Russian stories sometimes seem to be the "thing" in itself. Be this as it may, it is an undeniable fact that with hardly any portent of future greatness to come, Russian literature suddenly sprang fully developed into existence in the 19th century.

    Alessandro says: "Excellent"
    "Nice selection of classic Russian shorts"
    If you could sum up Classic Russian Short Stories, Volume 1 in three words, what would they be?

    Very nice stories.

    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked how different stories from different Russian authors were included, that way you get a nice taste of what Russian literature has to offer.

    Would you listen to another book narrated by Charlton Griffin?

    Yes, I quite like his narration. I do have one qualm: his female voices sound unnaturally high-pitched, almost as if in post production they raised the pitch (I don't know if this is the case or not).

    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Russian literature is, for me, always packed with emotion. I didn't exactly laugh or cry outright, but I did feel the emotion in the stories.

    Any additional comments?

    The music adds a nice touch.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Metamorphosis

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Franz Kafka
    • Narrated By Ralph Cosham
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    “One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in bed he had been changed into a monstrous verminous bug.” With this startlingly bizarre sentence, Kafka begins his masterpiece, The Metamorphosis. It is the story of a young traveling salesman who, transformed overnight into a giant, beetle-like insect, becomes an object of disgrace to his family, an outsider in his own home, a quintessentially alienated man. Rather than being surprised at the transformation, the members of his family despise it as an impending burden upon themselves.

    Patrick Weldon says: "Kafka-esque terrific"
    "Great symbolism, powerful story"
    What did you love best about The Metamorphosis?

    Kafka manages to pack a lot of emotion and powerful imagery into a reasonably short story. It really makes the reader think about how they relate to the characters, and how they think about others, especially the

    What other book might you compare The Metamorphosis to and why?

    I haven't read anything like it myself. The concept of a man turning into an insect is just incredibly unique, and Kafka wrote it all down very well.

    Have you listened to any of Ralph Cosham’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't, but I have played The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, in which Cosham voiced several characters. If you're familiar with his voice work, you'll know what to expect. I think he has a very pleasant voice to listen to, despite (or perhaps thanks to?) a slight lisp. He enunciates very well, speaking the words and phrases carefully and deliberately, but without it turning monotonous.

    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    That's a tough one... I'm not sure you could capture the idea of the story in a catchphrase, but perhaps something like

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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