(P)1991 Chivers Audio Books
"Listening to Joanna David's performance of Forster's classic is as entertaining as watching a full-cast production." (AudioFile)
After hearing other readers and other audiobooks, I was disappointed in the reader for this one. Many times, I had a hard time figuring out who was speaking.
Other readers were better about modulating their voices either in range, speed, or accent to differentiate between characters speaking, but with this reader, there were times I didn't know who was speaking, or even if the dialogue had changed back to narrative.
The voice is pleasant to listen to, which was nice, and the infection on words and phrases was good.
However, my enjoyment in this book was detracted by the fact I was confused sometimes during back and forth dialogue.
I am trying to listen to "classics" as I truly enjoy more current literature. It was ok, but probably not the best place to start. This book does not entirely lend itself to an audible book because it can be difficult to determine who is speaking. Perhaps the reader could have helped a bit more in this area, though I felt she did a great job. I did feel engaged and the story was lovely.
Narrative makes the world go round.
I loved Forster's "Howards End," and "A Passage to India" is one of my favorite novels, but I was disappointed in "Room." Part of my disappointment was the narrator - although she seemed competent, she wasn't good for this novel. She read the first part as if she were site reading and didn't convey the satire. She did a better job in the second part, but although the second part had good psychological insight, without a good set up from part 1, it didn't have enough plot to merit five stars. The print version may "read" better than the listen. I kept thinking that Nadia May or Prunella Scales could have better conveyed the satiric tone.
If you want to download this novel, I'd recommend trying a version with a different narrator.
If you have never read it, you are in for a real treat. For good reason it is Forster's most popular book. I've read it four times.
It succeeds first as a lovely romance. It is also literary novel, with symbolism and richly descriptive, though never pretentious prose. Entertaining and romantic, it also achieves real depth as Forster explores the personalities and motivations of his characters and English and Italian mores.
It is also a social critique of that rigidly organized and stratified Victorian world where class rules and correct behavior ordered life. It humorously chides the narrow-mindedness of the English, the strictures placed on women in English society, the evils of organized religions and sexual prudery.
Finally, it advocates social change as some characters move away from restriction towards personal freedom.
Lucy, Forster’s delightful heroine, finds love, and truth in this book. She struggles with prudery, social and religious traditions, cultural snobbery and the strictures placed on women of her era. Forster is never pedanticic and weaves these themes into plot and dialogue with grace, humor, subtlety and love, allowing Lucy to bloom before our eyes. Her story is economically told, with no filler.
Younger readers may have little pateince for the Victorian attitudes and manners described in A Room with a View. Hang in there to see how the transition away from rigid rules towards today’s freedoms began.
Joanna David delivers a rich listening experience filled with Forster’s, and her own warmth, insight and humor.
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