A classic work of personal philosophy that has not aged a day since it was written by Emperor Marcus Aurelius between 170 and 180 CE.
Fantastic voice...not grating or wheezy or nerdily academic...Steen sounds like a soldier and a dignified ruler, and it is so easy to imagine Aurelius himself narrating his Meditations.
I would still read the book, because this is philosophy and not something you gobble down in a few hours. This is a road map for living. But I enjoyed being able to listen to a title that I have loved since I was 16, while doing something else with my hands.
As a book, it has been—after some treasured volumes of philosophy—the closest to my heart. I re-read it every few years to renew the taste of Garcia-Marquez' languid poetry in my mind. As an audio book it ranks in the top dozen, but no closer, I suppose because John Lee's somewhat grand and booming interpretation jars with my own imagined version of the words spoken aloud.
The epic of one larger-than-life family's history across a hundred years, it is similar to Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks. It stands out, however, in it's exploration of subjective reality (magic realism), and the themes of solitude, melancholy, the fluidity of time, the cyclical nature of man's weaknesses, tragedies, strengths, and triumphs. It is said to be a metaphorical picture of Colombia.
lively, inarticulate (with the Spanish names and words), stentorian
I think a bi-lingual reader might have made a better narrator, as John Lee's Spanish names were always very laboriously and stiffly pronounced.
Also, Lee always performed all the men's dialogue with the same sleazy, drawling, South-of-the-Border caricature voice, and all the women's dialogue in a slow exhalation that made the characters sound dazed and hypnotised.
All of which diminished the dignity and the humanity of Marquez' characters a bit.
Still, I have waited so long for an audio book to be made of Marquez' greatest novel, that I enjoyed the overall experience immensely.
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