©2000 Nigel Nicolson; (P)2001 Books on Tape, Inc.
"A graceful and interesting addition to the Woolf canon." (AudioFile)
"A deeply personal, compelling, and indelible likeness of one of the most fascinating and influential writers of all times." (Booklist)
"[Nicolson] draws on family archives and first-hand experience....Such personal glimpses enliven Nicolson's respectful position between various, often hotly contended views of Woolf as writer, feminist, and Bloomsburian." (Publishers Weekly)
The reader should keep in mind that the author was a young friend of Virginia Woolf and therefore take certain comments as a bit more favorable than reality. That said, the author dispells many old myths about Virginia Woolf and writes quite frankly about some of her relationships. While a bit more might have been said about the frightful periods of manic depression which plagued her most of her life, the author does not stoop to purely speculative comments about possible abuse as a child. On the whole a surprisingly through and fairly objective biography of the early American feminist and great novelist.
This biography by Nigel Nicolson affords readers an intimate look at Virginia Woolf. Due to the writer's proximity to Woolf when he was a child, some new and useful information has been added to the portrait that the many Woolf biographers have painted. While I personally disagree with some of the conclusions drawn by the author regarding Woolf's response to childhood abuse and others items, these are certainly subjects that are endlessly debatable and not cause for concern to listeners wanting to purchase the audiobook.
The primary reason the audiobook suffers and should give consumers a moment to pause before purchasing is the audiobook narrator. If the speaker's American accent is not enough to damage the recording irreparably, then certainly the narrator's come-hither purr does.
The reader is not poor per se, just completely inappropriate for the subject matter.
Also, several words are mispronounced on several occasions throughout the work and in one case the narrator is allowed, presumably by the audio editors, to read the same sentence twice pronouncing the dancer Lydia Lopokova's name differently in each version.
I can't image what the developers of the audiobook were thinking.
If you are interested in Virginina Wolf and Bloomsbury culture, this audio performance adds to what otherwise a personal reading does not provide.
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