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A Tale of Two Cities Audiobook

A Tale of Two Cities

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Publisher's Summary

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"; "It is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known"; so the novel begins and ends with some of Dicken's best-known words, and between the two is every Briton's view of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (720 )
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Story
4.5 (351 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Agnar T�mas M�ller 04-23-15 Member Since 2014
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    4
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    "Horrible story, great reading"

    Very uninteresting and a boring story - characters are so uninteresting, very overrated
    Good reading though by the narrator
    Keep away

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lenny Methuen, MA, United States 12-25-12
    Lenny Methuen, MA, United States 12-25-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Masterful Delivery of a Dickens Classic!"
    Where does A Tale of Two Cities rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Audiobooks are invariably somewhat "hit-or-miss," as one would surely never confuse something like a Dickens novel for a "closet play." In this case, however, Martin Jarvis has delivered an absolutely stunning performance, with smooth delivery of the different voices and a marvelous sense of pacing. Naturally, I feel somewhat reluctant to rate this volume against others I have heard, but suffice it to say the Jarvis presentation is absolutely as fine as any yet known to me.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Tale of Two Cities?

    Jarvis holds the listener's interest through the long, descriptive passages (which may, in fact, sour some readers on Dickens). He is at his best toward the end, when one may truly appreciate the development of Sydney Carton. Jarvis effects the transformation of the character splendidly yet effortlessly.


    What does Martin Jarvis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    While I very much enjoyed the audiobook, I maintain the prejudice of my generation -- to wit, that it is probably better to read than to listen. The question above begs the issue of story-telling vs. writing, and these are two different art forms. Let us simply conclude that both Jarvis and Dickens have much to offer!


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

    I can readily imagine that some listeners have been (or will be) moved to tears by the noble sacrifice and last sentiments of Carton at the end.


    Any additional comments?

    Tremendous production! Bravo!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GERALD Calgary, AB, Canada 12-17-12
    GERALD Calgary, AB, Canada 12-17-12
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    "It was the worst of Dickens"

    Just for context, I love Charles Dickens. I just hate this novel. It shows Dickens at his worst, which is when he uses his novels to preach at his readers. This novel is so heavy handed and over the top that it can't be taken seriously. His characters are so one dimensional that they are totally unbelievable. This is a constant weakness in Dickens' work, his heroes and heroines are so pure and virtuous that they border on becoming caricatures. In this work, this weakness is pronounced and coupled with the prolonged bombastic discourses that Dickens engages in on political and social issues creates a fatal combination.
    I couldn't finish this audiobook, although I have read the novel to completion. I found myself forcing myself to listen to it, just to get my money's worth. Eventually I gave up, listening to an audiobook should be a pleasure and not a penance. Try another of Dickens' novels, for he is a truly great writer... just try to avoid him when he climbs on his soapbox. (try The Pickwick Papers for a real treat.. a bit slow starting but a joy to be savored slowly)

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Braden New Carlisle, OH, United States 12-02-11
    Braden New Carlisle, OH, United States 12-02-11
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    "Best book I've ever listened to. Wow!"

    I had never read or listened to any works by Dickens before this. I would honestly say this is the best book I've experienced, ever, and I am no youngster (52 years old) and a fairly avid reader. Simply outstanding story!

    The narrator of this version is also incredible! The voices are distinctly different for each character, and his voice pleasing. This adds more to the story than you can imagine. He is top-notch.

    You simply MUST get this audio. I literally could not put it down. I think anything else I listen to is going to be a comedown, after this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen United States 11-25-11
    Kathleen United States 11-25-11 Member Since 2012
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    "Fantastic story. Excellent performance."

    No matter how many times I listen to this, I love it.
    I imagine Dickens himself must have sounded just like Martin Jarvis.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HomeTownUSA 10-07-11
    HomeTownUSA 10-07-11
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    "One of the best"
    What did you love best about A Tale of Two Cities?

    Great story with great narration


    Have you listened to any of Martin Jarvis???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    A perfect performance by the narrator. I will definitely look for more works by Mr. Jarvis.


    Was there a moment in the book that particular moved you?

    The horror and pain of this place and time, and how it is captured by Dickens in this story, truly makes this one of the greatest books ever.


    Any additional comments?

    Why the bad editing? The chapters, and especially the ending, are truncated abruptly. And there is an annoying popping sound in a few parts of the book. It is hard to believe that there was not more care taken in the recording of such a great story with incredible narration. However, don't let this deter you from listening to one of the most entertaining readings available on Audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wiregrass18 Alabama, United States 07-31-11
    Wiregrass18 Alabama, United States 07-31-11 Member Since 2015

    Wiregrass18

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    "What a joy!"

    Listening to Dickens with such wonderful narration by Martin Jarvis is a complete joy. I enjoyed it forty years ago and loved it again with this listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenneth Cary, NC, United States 07-14-11
    Kenneth Cary, NC, United States 07-14-11 Member Since 2007
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    "My favorite Dickens yet"

    While it took a while to get going, once it did, it was enthralling. As usual, Dickens does an amazing job with the characters. They are so real you have no problem imagining them in your minds-eye. Narrator was amazing as well. Highly recommend this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fletcher Christian Houma, LA, United States 07-13-11
    Fletcher Christian Houma, LA, United States 07-13-11
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    "A book most wonderful"

    Fantastic, wonderful, marvelous, I cannot say onebad thing about a Tale of Two Cities. Honestly, I really did not want to listen to this book. I thought it would be boring. The only reason I did is because I am trying to reeducate myself by reading the classics. It was one of the best books I have ever read. It gave me the chills. True heros from a horrific time in history. Amazing!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 06-19-11
    David 06-19-11 Member Since 2012

    Indiscriminate Reader

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    "A great historical Dickens tale"

    Dickens crafts larger-than-life characters whose defining personality traits and conversational tics carry them strongly through the story, and his depiction of France before and during the Revolution is as vivid and bloody as the Terror, despite his exercising all the expected Victorian restraint when it comes to actually describing bloodshed. He also contrasts Paris with London, and not always in London's favor; Dickens was a marvelous social critic of his time, and with understated clarity he shows the reader how, while the British aristocracy was no longer trampling peasants beneath their horses' feet with impunity, the English court system was hardly more just or less rapacious and corrupt than the French.

    The story itself is typically Dickensian in that it is full of memorable characters who are all brought onstage separately and then brought together by a tightening web of plot threads that ends up tying everyone together one way or another. Once Dickens introduces a character, he means to use that character until the very end, and will use any improbable plot device to make sure everyone is where he wants them to be. So of course the spy who is known to the Defarges is the very same man whom Sydney Carton saw tried years earlier in London; of course the nephew of the Marquis who imprisoned Doctor Manette (who once employed Monsieur Defarge) is the very same man who flees France and marries his daughter; of course Sydney Carton and Jerry Cruncher just happen to be in Paris on business (with the "man of business" Mr. Lorry) when Charles Darnay goes there, etc. And there is the most improbable plot device at all, telegraphed at the beginning of the book when Carton faces Darnay during that London trial. But it all works to create a tense and very enjoyable novel.

    Definitely a favorite, and one I should have read earlier. Martin Jarvis's narration is great and perfectly British, though a bit "squeaky" with some of the female characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Tweedledum
    UK
    6/2/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Recalled to life"

    Martin Jarvis reads Dickens heart-rending historical novel of revolutionary France magnificently. I read the book long ago and its impact on me then was such that I doubted if I could bear to read it again. But the narration has been so compelling that I had to put aside everything else to see it through.

    Thoroughly recommend this recording.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kier Home
    5/26/16
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    Performance
    Story
    "A fantastic classic."

    I loved it. Powerful, emotional and breathtaking in its scope. A truly fantastic story with characters you care about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • John
    4/16/16
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    "Just brilliant"

    My first Dickens and it didn't disappoint. So much to say about its merits but aside from Dickens genius I applaud the narrator (Jarvis): beautiful rich voice which a wealth of magnificent characters wonderfully portrayed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paul Archer
    12/31/15
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    "Always a great read"
    What made the experience of listening to A Tale of Two Cities the most enjoyable?

    I love Dickens, the way he describes detail, so easy for me to build a picture in my mind, Martin Jarvis does a excellent job too.


    What about Martin Jarvis’s performance did you like?

    The fact that he able to voice so many of the characters, it was as if each had a different actor !


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ashleigh M
    12/1/15
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    "Story Not for Me."

    The narration of this was great but, for me, the story wasn't. Of the Dickens I've read, this is my least favourite and honestly if it had been my first Dickens I'm not sure I'd have read more of his work. The opening paragraph is possibly one of the best in literature but, sadly, the novel as a whole didn't live up to that for me!

    It's a personal thing, and I'd implore that everyone give Dickens a go! This audiobook was great, just the story didn't do it for me!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • scott
    10/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "rekindled my love for this story"

    the narration brought this classic to life. first book I ever cried too, again I shed a few years

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Golden Hours
    Liverpool
    10/16/15
    Overall
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    Story
    "A magnificent performance by Martin Jarvis"

    This is a wonderful story made all the better by the narration. Martin Jarvis brings every character to life. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • J Z A
    UK
    9/27/15
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    "A stunning classic"

    A stunning classic stunningly performed. The breadth and depth of this work is amazing and so much richer than many of Dickens more popular works. But so many of those have been thinned down for Hollywood.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Richard Gee/Sarah Gee
    9/25/15
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    Performance
    Story
    "A classic story well read"

    One of those books you were always supposed to read brilliantly read by Martin Jarvis. Brilliant, thoroughly enjoyed it. Dickens at his best!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Corinne
    Crewe, United Kingdom
    4/7/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Jarvis of a Dickens"
    Would you listen to A Tale of Two Cities again? Why?

    Yes I would as I always pick up on the little things in life, the way things were done and tools and of course attitudes to some extent. Although this is the least favourite of Dickens's books I will still find there were things I missed first time round.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Tale of Two Cities?

    One of the first images of the old Doctor and how incarceration had affected him. It's so like the descriptions of how modern day ' house of horror ' type victims feel, I don't feel I should mention them by name but we all know who they are.


    What does Martin Jarvis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    I did read this book many years ago but Martin Jarvis does a lovely job of voice acting as he does on any and all of the audio titles I have heard of his.He completely draws you in to the whole story be it character, atmosphere or action.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I find the whole book moves me which is why I find it the least of my favorite Dickens. I have to listen in segments as I am pretty sure the whole depiction is as near to a true one as actually happened regarding the political climate, poverty filth and squalor. The fictional characters are the vehicle that brings all to life.


    Any additional comments?

    Although fiction the whole atmosphere, is a dark a Dickens as you could find.There are sad, bad, difficult and downright squalid parts in all of the Maestro's works but for me this is the blackest.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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