(P)1996 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"Frederick Davidson gives such a splendid dramatization of this family saga, set in London in the 1840's, that it's almost like watching theater." (AudioFile)
Dickens and Davidson. I chose this version of Dickens because Davidson is the reader. I have enjoyed numerous narrations by Davidson. Great voice characterizations. Deft dramatization. And that's the reader. Couple Davidson with Dickens's timeless prose and you have a winner. Highly recommended.
This is a poignant story brought to life by a simply superb narrator. The characters are very moving and the narrator conveys a sense of empathy with them which easily transfers to the lucky listener. A very moving and powerful story. I loved the atmosphere and sense of time and setting in this book. Beautifully reading of this absorbing and deep story. Marvellous experience listening to this performance. Thank-you for the hours of pleasure given by this book.
I hadn't heard of this book but I love Dickens and Frederick Davidson's narration. This was a great surprise - one of the best written books I've ever "read"...so many wonderful turns of phrase that I listened to it twice through in a row. The black-eyed Susan Nipper and the odious Major Babstock are unforgettable characters, portrayed in marvelous, loving detail. Frederick Davidson is always great but he outdid himself on this one with his distinct portrayals of both male and female, good and evil characters. A total pleasure!
Regrettably I didn't sample this reading before buying it, so I can't really complain, but the reader's delivery spoiled this book for me. His accent is so affectedly twee, sometimes I struggle to understand what he is saying, (I am English), so that I have given up on this book about an hour into part 1. He sounds like Kenneth Williams on acid. Cute for about five minutes, but irritating over time. Sorry.
Dombey and Son deserves a spot near the top of Dickens' writings. Dickens addresses the themes of misogyny, love, humility, patience, pride, and forgiveness using a large cast of crisply drawn characters, both major and minor, and several intricately intertwined plot lines. In short, it's 19th century soap opera at its finest. While listening to the narrator, I can almost imagine myself sitting in an oil-lamp lit parlor listening to him read the book to a rapt audience. Ok, yes, Florence is a little too sweet and virtuous, Dombey too intransigent, Walter too noble, Karker too over-the-top nefarious, and the ending a little too neat in its tying-up of the loose ends of the various storylines, but these shortcomings are forgivable. Enjoy!
Excellent storyline with wonderfully written characters, along with an insightful look into English Victorian society. But I guess that applies to any of Dicken's books. Not my personal favorite, I think because one of the main characters is repellent. Still, I enjoyed it and recommend it.
I can't seem to make it through this first few chapters without numbing out. We all have differing preferences so I mean no offense, but I find Frederick Davidson very hard to listen to. His intonation, intended dialect, and mouth noises distract me from the story which I am sure is a good one (my goal is to listen to all of Dickens and I'm finding it delightful until now!).
In addition, he barely makes the female characters believable. I will credit him with creating a fine and consistant atmosphere of arrogance for Mr. Dombey...other than that I need a different narrator in order to find out how it all gets done.
I love Dickens, but it took this brilliant performance by Frederick Davidson to make me appreciate this lesser known work. This is the master craftsman writing at the height of his genius - what a delight!
Mr. Davidsons almost slurpy, slightly nasal drawn out voice utterly spoils this. Looking for another copy. Please make sure you listen to the preview before purchasing, unlike I did :)
"A mangled tale"
Over the past few years I have become a devotee of Audiobooks, almost to the point where I have stopped listening to Radio 4 in the car, and look forward to long walks in the company of gifted narrators at the weekend. They have made the great works of Victorian literature much more accessible and I have derived enormous satisfaction from Timothy West and Martin Jarvis declaiming Trollope and Dickens. The authors' complex and erudite sentence structures and wide vocabularies are enormously enhanced by the interpretation of these gifted storytellers. But I have struggled with Dombey and Son! The tale is a strange one that seems to break many rules - I am about 30 hours into a 36 hour experience and the 'hero' has been absent for much of it, supposedly drowned. There is a plethora of unattractive characters, many of them understandably boasting extreme Dickensian eccentricities, leading lives unleavened by the warmth of friendship and trust. The book looks long and hard at the dark side of family life, and there is much in it to inform a critical view of middle class Victorian mores. However, my real reason for penning this review is to blow off steam about the narration of Frederick Davidson, which I have found peculiarly ill suited to the Herculean task of delivering this work. His diction is overly mannered, the phrasing does not suit the lengthy sentences, there are inapt pauses and - obviously this is a personal view - Captain Cuttle in particular is rendered almost unbearable. I know that Frederick Davidson, under a variety of names, has won the admiration of many for his body of work in this field, but if you are contemplating a lengthy period in his company I urge you to listen carefully to the audio sample before you do so!
"A well narrated Dickens' experience"
The early part of this book is shrouded in grief, loss, bereavement and loneliness with only a few flickers of humour to encourage one on. However, it is very worthwhile to persevere - the plot twists and turns, with a fine balance of good and sinister characters. It is a lengthy and wordy book, brought to life by the excellent reading of Frederick Davidson.
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