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"Frances Barber offers a sterling performance, bringing life and sparkle to each character....Barber convincingly shifts from lord of the manor to sniveling servitude at the change of a sentence. And her narrative passages transparently tie the whole family together into one beautiful package." (AudioFile)
Wanda the artist
The only sadness I feel for this book is that it is OVER! I loved it. I felt, because of the recent movie by this title, that I would not enjoy this as much as other Jane Austen's book. However, it had been years since I had read the book. As usual the book is different from the movie! I loved the REAL story as read by the narrator. I LOVED the way the narrator allowed one to FEEL how Fanny felt, how Mary sounded and acted, and how all the other characters had their own personalities along with the voice rendition. Buy it, you will love it!
Mansfield Park is not my favorite of Austen's works. The heroine herself is nervous and mousy, and the secondary characters are rarely redeemable in any sense. However, Frances Barber's reading of this novel lends it some entertainment that I had not got from reading it to myself. Her precise English diction threw me off for the first chapter or so, but then it grew on me and by the end, I added her name to my (very short) list of favorite narrators. I am pleased with this recording and when the time comes to listen through all of Austen's novels again, I will look forward to Mansfield Park almost as much as I do to the rest of Austen's books.
"Mansfield Park" is probably my favourite Jane Austen novel, so it was nice to find this unabridged recording. Frances Barber generally does a very good job of the the narration, and I enjoyed listening to it very much. My only complaint about her narration is that she made Fanny Price sound as if she was about twelve. To modern readers, Fanny is probably the most difficult to understand of Austen's heroines, because she is so timid and self-effacing; but though she constantly aims to please the rich relations who patronise her and take her for granted, she is actually one of those quiet people with a hidden strength. Jane Austen intends us to admire Fanny for her integrity (which comes from neither nature--her sordid home at the Portsmouth naval base--nor nurture, in the hedonistic surroundings of Mansfield Park). It's hard to do that when the narrator makes her bleat like a child.
Many fans of "Pride and Prejudice" or "Emma" have a difficult time enjoying Jane Austen's "Mansfield Park." The first part revolves around the disapproval of the heroine, the impoverished Fanny Price, for an amateur theatrical performance arranged by her cousins and their alluring guests, Henry and Mary Crawford. Fanny's wealthy uncle Sir Thomas Bertram, is away, and the young people feel their inhibitions evaporate -- all except Fanny. But if it's hard for modern readers to sympathize with the particular situation, the larger issues involve the character of these young adults: when the parents aren't looking, what kind of integrity, self-control, and sympathy for others will they exhibit? How will they handle jealousy and disappointment--and will they sacrifice the happiness of another for their own advantage?As the plot thickens, Austen brings out the underlying character of Fanny, her cousins, and their suitors with her mixture of charm, satire, and 'regulated hatred.' She complicates the issue by showing how a character's bad upbringing and social surroundings can turn a good nature sour. Character will out, and the play-acting early in the book leads to life-altering choices by the end. Of all her novels, "Mansfield Park" may provoke the most reflection on the roles of nature and nurture in human character.Frances Barber's reading is superb, with subtle vocal changes to distinguish the characters -- all pitch perfect, to align with their inner qualities.
Mansfield Park is full of so many delightful characters that a second listening would certainly be worthwhile. The performance by Frances Barber is superb.
The story takes many interesting and unforeseen turns.
Frances Barber was definitely up to the challenge of differentiating so many important characters making each one come alive to the listener.
I found myself amused by Jane Austen's frequent dashes of irony.
Although several performances of this work are available through Audible, this one would have to rank among the best.
It's Jane Austen
Just read it!
Yes. She is consistently good.
It's when Edward finally realizes that Mary is superficial.
You'll like it if you like Jane Austen.
Very good narration of a classic to which I often return in book, dramatization, and now audiobook.
I didn't like the ending of the book. I thought Mr. Crawford would win over Fanny's heart and be deserving of her. I know that back in those days marrying cousins was considerred normal but I did not like that Fanny and Edmund end up together. I would rather they had found other relationships and remained in each others best confidences. It may have been better for Fanny to marry Mr. Rushworth after his divorce from Mariah.
I was disappointed.
She brings out the character personallities in her voice that helps put some perspective on the characters moods and meaning.
The majority of the book drawled on. I did not start enjoying the book until the second half but then didn't like the ending.
I think my overall disappointments and dislikes of the book are more towards my dislike of the author's writing style. The only book I've read by her that I've enjoyed was Pride and Prejudice but yet the writing style is style a bit beyond my interests.
"Very enjoyable but check narration"
This is not my favourite Jane Austen book (Pride & Prejudice is). None of the characters is particularly interesting, amusing or likeable, and the heroine, Fanny Price, is a bit of a drip if truth be told. But it is still well worth reading for the witty and deadly way that she dissects the mores and lifestyles of the upper classes in the 19th century. Better still to have it narrated as you then really appreciate the quality of the prose - provided of course you like the narrator.
I can well see that Frances Barber will probably not be everyone's cup of tea as a narrator. She reads in a very precise, articulate and almost cut-glass accent, which comes across a bit cold at times. Personally, I think this suits the book very well; and her characterisation, particularly of the ghastly Mrs Norris, is spot on. Sound quality is faultless too.
I enjoyed the book very much, and would happily recommend it particularly to Jane Austen lovers, but I agree with the previous reviewer that it would be as well to sample the narration first - and try out some others (there are quite a few on Audible)- to make sure you are happy with it before buying.
"A good book - but not the best narration."
I studied this book many years ago at school and was keen to visit it again. It is quite unusual as the heroine is not a strong character - you really want to shake Fanny and get her to buck her ideas up!! It does not help that Frances Barber's vocalisation of Fanny is not endearing, and you begin to dread when Aunt Bertram speaks. I may be tempted to try another recording of this as I think it may improve with a different narrator.
I liked Barber's reading - plummier, more earthy and warmer than most voices cast for reading Austen novels.
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