Followers of the popular vampire literary and film interpretations of recent years might be blasé about another performance of the exquisitely written novel that started it all. But listening to this full-cast performance turns out to be remarkably suspenseful and chilling. The superlative cast lends this powerful production the diversity that is required by the structure of the novel, which includes journal entries and letters. Each actor employs various accents, infusing into the characters vibrant emphasis, urgency, and dread. The famed vampire Count Dracula leaves a swath of exsanguinated bodies in his wake as he attempts to relocate from Transylvania to England in 1897, stalked by the brave Van Helsing.
Audie Award, Distinguished Achievement in Production, 2013
Audie Award, Multi-voiced Performance, 2013
Audie Award Nominee, Classic, 2013
Because of the widespread awareness of the story of the evil Transylvanian count and the success of numerous film adaptations that have been created over the years, the modern audience hasn't had a chance to truly appreciate the unknowing dread that readers would have felt when reading Bram Stoker's original 1897 manuscript. Most modern productions employ campiness or sound effects to try to bring back that gothic tension, but we've tried something different. By returning to Stoker's original storytelling structure - a series of letters and journal entries voiced by Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, and other characters - with an all-star cast of narrators, we've sought to recapture its originally intended horror and power.
This production of Dracula is presented by what is possibly the best assemblage of narrating talent ever for one audiobook: Emmy Award nominees Alan Cumming and Tim Curry plus an all-star cast of Audie award-winners Simon Vance (The Millenium Trilogy), Katherine Kellgren (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), Susan Duerden (The Tiger’s Wife), John Lee (Supergods) and customer favorites Graeme Malcolm (Skippy Dies), Steven Crossley (The Oxford Time Travel series), Simon Prebble (The Baroque Cycle), James Adams (Letters to a Young Contrarian), Nicola Barber (The Rose Garden), Victor Villar-Hauser (Fun Inc.), and Marc Vietor (1Q84). These stellar narrators have been cast as follows:
Alan Cumming as Dr. Seward
Simon Vance as Jonathan Harker
Katy Kellgren as Mina Murray/Harker
Susan Duerden as Lucy Westenra
Tim Curry as Van Helsing
Graeme Malcolm as Dailygraph correspondent
Steven Crossley as Zookeeper’s account and reporter
Simon Prebble as Varna
James Adams as Patrick Hennessey
Nicola Barber as Sister Agatha
Victor Villar-Hauser as Arthur Holmwood
Marc Vietor as Quincey Morris
John Lee as Introductory paragraph, various letters
Public Domain (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
"Listening to this full-cast performance turns out to be remarkably suspenseful and chilling…The superlative cast lends this powerful production the diversity that is required by the structure of the novel…Each actor employs various accents, infusing into the characters vibrant emphasis, urgency, and dread." (AudioFile)
This was well worth it. Alan Cumming is a favorite and so versatile. Tim Curry never disappoints. The only thing missing from Audible's production is a cast list. I recognized some narrators that I had listen to before, but think they all deserve credit for the job well done. Lucy's naivety, and Minna steadfast strength for instance deserve crediting. I was disappointed when this was not a part of the concluding credits.
If other reviewers could not be swept up in the production, perhaps it is due to a distaste for the genre. I like a good vampire tale as much as the next person, but this sheds so much light on how far we have come from the mother of all tales, where more is implied than exposed.
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
This truly is a revelation. I had read the book many years before, of course, but I had never really appreciated the way the story was told in correspondence. I suspect that lack of appreciation is a testament to Bram Stocker's skills as a storyteller and to my lack of acuity. Whatever the reason, hearing the tale told through the words of the correspondents makes it so much more intimate and exciting. It puts the Twilight Saga and True Blood in their place as pieces for their time and generations, but confirms the traditional view of Dracula, van Helsing and Transalvania as everlasting pieces of literature for all time and a mature audience. In the parlance of the present cinema, it's M15+ verging on R, but not for the sensuality (although that is there) or the viloence (of which there is an abundance), but for the themes.
As for the production, it is first class. For me it was Simon Vance and Katy Kellgren who shone; more so even than the named principals. Alan Cumming was as good as ever. Tim Curry really didn't have enough of a part to make a real impression, more's the pity. Van Helsing is really seen through others' eyes. So the Harkers stole the show. In retrospect, that's not suprising, but I had (wrongly) expected more from the principals. I also missed a voice for Dracula (because he is not a correspondent, of course). I thought Vance captured his intonation beautifully when he recounted the conversations between the Count and Harker, but with Borsi Karlof, Frank Langella and others in mind, it would have been nice to hear him speak. Alas, that was a legitimate sacrifice for the lierarary device that Stoker adopted and which this production brings to life.
I love this edition for many reasons, but mainly because it is an accurate rendition of Stoker's novel. Every film version changes the story somewhat, and this edition does not. Readers get the treat of the accurate story along with great narration.
I love Tim Curry's voice, and think he does an excellent job.
Reading the book deprives you of the emotional range the human voice is capable of that add so much detail and color to the story.
I consume literature. I drive a semi-truck/tanker and have lots of time between my destinations so a good book is essential to my well being
Alan Cumming and Tim Curry are two of my favorite actors so it really enriched the experience. Having people reading with real British accents was also nice.
I'm not going to compare it to other books, the style was unique to me.
Tim Curry's yes, much better this time.
The Evil Bloodsucker Must Die
I had a good time listening to this audiobook, I can't believe anyone would have had a problem listening to it. I could really get a feel for the age it was representing with the readers using their native accents.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
I am one of many who have only known the infamous Count through Hollywood productions. Horror has never been my favorite genre, and I found Bela Lugosi too campy, and Gary Oldman too bizarre for either to be very frightening. The only motivation I had to even select this book was my admiration of most of the fine cast and the rave reviews for a classic. A majority of reviewers have already praised the reading, and I will simply say that I concur.
What made this an outstanding story to me is that the count is NOT the central character. The mistake the films made was in making the best written characters mere supporting players to the count whom we see the least of. The power of Dracula is his lack of physical presence – half the thrill is the anticipation, and Stoker plays that card better than the film makers ever did. His tale is robust with the superstitions and beliefs of the day, whether religious, medical, psychological, criminal or supernatural, giving it a wonderful period feeling. There is enough detail to spark the imagination, and enough restraint to let the imagination provide the fear. By learning the story through the diaries and letters of the principal characters, we are intimately caught up in their horror, giving us someone and something to root for.
The writing is excellent and surprisingly moving, especially as the group of friends mourn the loss of a loved one and pledge their lives to banish the evil that caused such sorrow. There is plenty of adventure as the chase is on to end Dracula's reign of terror and free one of their own from his grasp. This could be a story about any group of everyday people finding the moral courage to fight any sort of evil and is a much more universal story than I had imagined. I loved this band of comrades, and I am so glad I took a chance on this classic.
So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. *If my reviews help, please let me know.
Hearing the final words, "Audible hopes you enjoyed.." it's hard to resist vigorously clapping your hands together and jumping to your feet to whoop out a "Bravo!" While it looks like some reviewers are more familiar with the particulars of each narrator, I must be less fussy; I thought it was a perfect cast that produced a dark gothic atmosphere that Stoker would call worthy of this masterpiece.
The story is longer than I thought it would be, the flowery speech style of the Victorian era no doubt adding to the length of the journals/diaries of each articulate character, that comprise the tale -- a style that, if you are unprepared for, may be too verbose to your liking (but authentic to the time--think Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats). Where one during that period might say:
"Dear Madam, by God, your neck! May perhaps I suggest more wreaths of the garlic flowers to be festooned around your lovely neck to prohibit a further attack from this most vile blood-sucking fiendish creature of the night which has befallen upon you most unfairly, dear sweet lady?"
We today, 100 years later, might say:
"Huh, vampire bite. Want some garlic (was he sparkly)?"
You can see how this could take up some pages. But the profuse Victorian vernacular combined with the fine reading puts you in the necessary frame of mind -- where a dark red-eyed character in a cape could creep around a deteriorating castle, summon wolves from the fog, and morph into a bat flapping against a pane of glass. (It was a little amusing listening to the breathy and fragile Lucy and Mina...considering the time frame in which this was written. While Stoker had them helplessly swooning away, across the pond, Susan B. Anthony was gathering her own minions.)
Bram Stoker truly affected history with this book -- Audible's production was a great homage to a literary icon as well as a fun engaging production, well worth the purchase.
All the seasoned actors and narrators.
Anyone Tim Curry plays will always be my favorite character. All the narrators do an excellent job.
That they are all such season actors that listening to them makes you feels as though you are really there.
Tim Curry. Does one need a reason?
You can't go wrong with this audiobook. Simon Vance, Simon Prebble, Alan Cumming....honestly, could a book get any better than this. This is well worth the credit!
I have 220 titles in my library and this is in the top 10. Fantastic. Very well produced and having never read the original I was amazed at the pace and excitement of the story. Highly recommended!
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.
Vampires are, and have been for a long time, a staple of pop culture. They're everywhere, so much so that, like zombies, they're practically a beating for those not complete enamored with their glut. Vampire fans know that you often have to go through several hundred books and movies before you find a truly good story, and few - if anyone - seem to want to go backwards and experience the classics.
Everyone thinks they know the story of Dracula. There have been more versions, translations, reboots, sequels, etc., of this story than there are of any other character in all of popular fiction, up to and including the great Sherlock Holmes. I submit that if you've never read Bram Stoker's original, you don't know Dracula even half as well as you might think.
Whether you have actually read this story or if you're ready to take the plunge, I would strongly suggest that this Audible Edition is perhaps the absolute best treatment of the story I've ever encountered. Forget all you know - or think you know - and allow the story to unfold through a truly magnificent experience. As Stoker's tale is told through journal entries, letters, and newspaper clippings, this format makes it a rare treasure for the audio format in that it can utilize and benefit from a full cast without having to change the original prose in the slightest. The result is astounding, and I can't say that lightly. Dracula has always been one of my favorites, with few iterations ever living up to the original version, and to hear this version... wow!
It's easy to praise the likes of Tim Curry, Alan Cumming, and Simon Vance, for they are consistently turning out A-level audio work. You won't find them slacking off here either. But to compliment them, there's not one single voice in this story that seems out of place. For audio, it's a dream team performance. Special kudos to Katherine Kellgren for her turn as Mina. There is a lot of subtlety in her performance where you can tell this woman is both distraught to the point of emotional breakdown and trying to keep it together for the sake of appearance. None of the performances are over the top; they are true to the voices of their characters instead of what popular culture has turned them into. That one point alone is worthy of thundrous applause in my book.
If I had anything negative to say, it would be to say that the caliber of the performance almost demands a musical score that could enhance it further, but I admit that might be going too far. Regardless, this is a must-have. Audible is to be congratulated for putting this together.
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
I've listened to several different versions of Dracula and while I don't typically enjoy ensemble audiobooks, this Cummings/Curry version seems to be the way Dracula was meant to be enjoyed.
Listened to this w/ the kids on the way to school for a month. I could probably write a whole piece on how Stoker's treatment of women ticked off my 10-year-old daughter. Mina Harker and Lucy's wedding fixation and Victorian helplessness drove my own little Emmeline nuts. My daughter also couldn't stand the whole: Mina was as 'smart as a man' attitude.
Otherwise, Dracula is still a fascinating piece of gothic fiction that captures the anxieties and stresses of a proto-modernist age (sex, feminism, technology, scientific method, xenophobia, colonialism, etc).
Not better than the print version but on par with it.
The different narrators really bring the story to life.
Entering castle Dracula for the first time and the frowning weathered stones.
Ancient evil,malignant and deadly has raised its head in the Carpathian mountains. The dead are walking,the children of the night are singing. Count Dracula is on the move and no-one will feel safe again.
Was dubious about getting this book after seeing some of the negative reviews. Fortunately I purchased it any way and I'm so glad I did, the narrators are superb and the story sublime. Take my advice get this book you'll be so glad you did.
"The original Dracula."
Dracula is such a well worn trope in popular culture, anyone could be forgiven for thinking they know the character and story like the back of their hand. But listening to this excellent audiobook still manages to wield many surprises, and provides several creepy moments. The cast are all brilliant, and the book well paced with great production values.
"Some poor narration lets this down !"
It wasn't the book it was poor accent from one of the female actors
The story is a classic, it shouldn't be changed
One female lost me with her Yorkshire accent , I couldn't understand a word she said. She then made Van Helsing sound like Dracula with an East European accent instead of a Dutch one ........ very disapointing
I would have re-cast Mina Murray with somebody who could perform the right way
"You really ought to consider buying this."
Most fantasy fans know and love this classic but the sheer talent of the cast here makes this production 15 hours and 28 minutes of entertainment comparable to the best of the BBC productions. I love this story anyway but was a bit jaded by all the TV remakes, however the way the cast tell it really refreshes the story. Their performances really bring out the creepiness of the story and the absolute horror of the unfolding events in a world where communications are so poor that terrible events can happen and people can disappear without the general public ever finding out. The way the story is told through journal entries told by different narrators gives you a sense of closeness to the characters which would not have worked for me if I was simply reading the story. I don't give five stars easily but books like this are why I am an Audible member.
"Do not get this"
Bram Stoker is great but the narration is unconvincing and irritating
Poor accents and weak characterisation
"Nice narated book both entertaining and boring"
I am about to finish this book yet. Once Abraham approaches the adulthood and journey round the south of USA the story somehow slows down and I lost interest. I liked the narration and beginning and middle section of the book especially story told by Abraham's new friend and coach were entertaining. For me the book became boring later on as from pure fiction and adventure vampire line it switches to sort of autobiography of a main character. Sort of genre mix up.
I know it's a classic, but I just couldn't enjoy it. Before you read further: the narration was perfectly fine, the review is of the book itself.
I only gave it 3 stars because of the good narration and the fact that it's a classic. As a story I was disappointed. Sexist and overly Christian (which I could forgive because of its age) but there's no good plot behind it. I only persevered because it's a classic. Maybe I've been spoiled by more recent stories but it struck me as completely one-dimensional and predictable.
"Started of well and then got really bad."
The first part of the book was really good and engaging all about the man staying at Dracula's house and discovering who or what dracula was. And then just as it got juicy, it switched narrator's voice to a lady in England, who has a REALLY annoying voice. This unfortunately is as far as I got. Her voice is really whiny and I am SO confused as what is going on. Don't bother, read the book.
I have to agree with Greg. I found this dragged on and i struggled to finish it. thought with the cast it had, it would of been alot better than it was. Tim Curry was hardly in it which was what i was looking forward to but was disappointed.
If you like reading someone's diary then fine you'll probably enjoy it, just was not for me.
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content