Les Liaisons Dangereuses has been made into a play and twice filmed within the last decade. None of these versions did much to explain what makes this epistolary novel of cynical seduction a masterpiece. This recording should help. The letters are narrated by a superb cast that makes manifest the societal and psychological intricacies between the lines of the text. The period music used for bridges reinforces the sense of time and place. The abridgment of the graceful, uncredited translation is particularly judicious. If there's a fault, it's that while the original evokes a compelling sexuality at the same time that it evokes revulsion, the audio actors aren't equally adept at such a delicate balance.
Dangerous Liaisons is a gripping, unforgettable tale of passion, treachery, and cruelty whose leading protagonists remain in the memory long after the story has been told. In their secret letters to each other, the unscrupulous yet seductive Valmont, his clever, manipulative accomplice, the Marquise de Merteuil, and their various innocent victims, involve us in the machinations of a sadistic plot which ends in tragedy and misery for all. An enduring success since its first publication in 1782, and more recently through adaptation for the stage and film, the epistolary nature of the original makes this tale equally powerful as an audiobook.
(P)1995 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd,; ©1995 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.
Diangerous Liaisons is a good book, but not in the abrdiged version. It's impossible to make sense of why the characters rush pell mell into their destructions. It moves fast, which is often considered desireable, but in this case too much is lopped off. There is no time to get to know anyone or to trace the complex motivations that made the actual book a classic. It's over before you have time to care.
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