©2007 Public Domain; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
Because I have seen so many movie and theater versions of Charles Dickens??? A Christmas Carol (1843), I never felt any need to read it, believing that I knew the story well enough and that anyway it might be too sentimental. But because I like Simon Preble???s voice and manner, when I saw his reading of A Christmas Carol in an Audible sale, I decided to give it a try. So imagine my surprise when I found myself moved to tears several times while listening to the audiobook, something that had never happened during my viewing of various adaptations of it.
Dickens??? story is sentimental and moralistic???but it is also so full of the joy of life, the understanding of human nature, and the pleasure of imagination and language, that even when Tiny Tim leaning on his wee crutch says ???God bless Us, Every One,??? I do not cringe at being served too much sugar. Additionally, Dickens appreciates the replete dinner table, and my mouth watered over the delicious descriptions of different seasonal foods and drink. At the same time he infuses into his story a terrifying yet reassuring spirituality via ghosts, charity, and love. The idea of visiting like a specter key scenes from your past, present, and future wherein you learn truths about yourself that change your life is compelling. And the flame of Dickens??? social conscience flares up during the story.
Simon Preble gives a wonderful reading. He enhances the emotions and personalities of the various characters, bringing them to life???without over-doing it???so that the listening experience is deeply satisfying and moving (even if you already know how it all happily turns out). Preble???s voice is seasoned, somewhat scratchy, and full of skill and wit, a perfect medium for Dickens??? writing.
Try reading aloud this passage introducing Scrooge to the reader!
Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge. A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.
Hearing those words, how could you not enjoy Dickens??? exuberant conceits about the stingy and frosty Scrooge? How could you imagine that he could ever change? And how, when he does, can it fail to bring satisfied tears of pleasure and conviction to your eyes?
There are many excellent recordings of "A Christmas Carol" on Audible, but after listening and re-listening to them all, I think this is my favorite. (My other two particular favorites are the readings by Anton Lesser and Tim Curry.) This is not only one of the best performances of the story I've heard, it's one of the best performances I've heard from Simon Prebble. He perfectly captures the spirit of the story (not to mention the spirits). Each character has a clearly distinctive voice, and he manages Scrooge's transition from bitter miser to giddy convert with ease. There are so many different moods to convey in this nearly-perfect story: sadness at loss, anger at social injustice, amazement at wonders, boisterous high spirits at Fezziwig's establishment and nephew Fred's house and finally in Scrooge's heart. Simon Prebble nails them all.
I am an avid audiobook listener and I have to say Simon Prebble is one of the best storytellers I have heard yet. He does the voices perfectly, without sounding corny, irritating or melodramatic (as is all too often the case). His narrator's voice is very pleasant and soothing to listen to. HIGHLY recommended.
I have kids from 1 to 7 and they all loved listening to this! It is a Christmas classic and hopefully will be a tradition from now on!
There are so many reasons to like this version of "A Christmas Carol," including the fact that it is unabridged, as so often this story is cut down for "modern readers" or children. Having grown up hearing the original read in my house since I was a child,and seeing almost all the filmed versions over the years, I think this could become my favorite.
The Dickens classic story is among my favorite Christmas stories. With this audio book I can listen to it any time of the year!
Mr Prebble's performance was just outstanding! He was able to do a convincing voice for the female characters, which can be very difficult for men to do, just as some female narrators have the same problem with male voices. I loved his characterizations of the wealthy bankers and investors at the very end and their remarks about the "dead" Scrooge.He was able to switch between his role as narrator and characters easily. I am going to search out other books he has narrated.
I wanted to, but I ended up listening in two sittings to savor it.
I love the movies with Alistair Sim from the 1950s and George C Scott from the 1980s. It was time to hear the actual writings of Dickens and those movies were quite close. This recorded version was a delight to listen to.
Scrooge of course. He is the protagonist who is redeemed.
The one with Marley when he first comes home and into his room. I have to add a 2nd. The scene where he awakens on Christmas AM.
When Scrooge talked to Crachet the day after Christmas.
The reader was good and had enough of an accent to make you aware that this was placed in London, but not enough to make it difficult to understand.
Emphatically yes. In our home we read this story annually at Christmas, and this year we were privileged to listen to this most excellent recorded version.
Simon Prebble is an excellent narrator; he reads so well and easily draws in listeners. I think even Dickens would be well pleased with this recording.
Prebble is one of the best. I often look through his list to select an audio.
This story always makes me reflect on the season and remember its Reason.
I highly recommend this one. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
"great story. well read"
this book was worth every penny . will listen again next year. well read . great story.
"brilliantly narrated Christmas classic"
Dickens was written to be read aloud. This classic Christmas tale is brought to life by the narrator, who adds colour to the words. I thoroughly enjoyed a tale narrated that I have read many times before. I would highly recommend this version.
"Tried several versions - this was the best"
Yes - I will probably be forced to as it's part of the new Eduqas GCSE English spec.
It's a brilliant timeless classic
No but this was superb. I had bought two other versions - one was so deep no one could understand it and the other they had "amended" the text. This one is perfect.
No, but you could do.
The kids do seem to like this one. They are better able to follow it and have stopped whinging about the voice, so winners all round!
"Charming and engaging"
With a lot of travelling to do over the holiday period, I thought this might help to get me into the mood and pass the time spent on airplanes. Not only was this a good choice, but it rediscovered a classic in its original format. As a story that has been rewritten and adapte so many times for media, it was a true pleasure to hear it as Dickens intended.
As with all Dickens' work, it is the writing of a master craftsman that weaves a festive masterpiece.
Simon Prebble held my attention and narrated with sympathy for the narrative.
It made me fell very happy, festive, and determined to be more benevolent in future!
You may think that you know the story, because you have seen a film or play, but go back and rediscover it and you will uncover a gem.
Nothing says Christmas like this story. It's so well known and has been reproduced in so many forms that I wanted to hear the original. I loved it and am sure I'll be listening to it again next year.
Truly a joy to listen. Will listen to it again and again in years to come...
"An inspiring Christmas tale"
An inspiring Christmas take that has an element of truth that we should all translate and place into our own lives over the festive period, spreading joy and loving those closest to us!
"Fun and festive!"
Studying Great Expectations for my A-levels really set me against Dickens, but I thoroughly enjoyed this. It's fun, Cbristmassy and not the worst, dense, monstrosity I expected from Dickens!
"An enjoyable listening experience"
It goes without saying the story is brilliant and narrator wasn't bad either with his telling of the story.
"fabulous Christmas reading"
A truly timeless masterpiece: beautifully written, expertly crafted story, narrated with humour, indeed masterfully read by Simon Prebble
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