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I am a manly man. I eat raw meat. I speak in short sentences. but i love this book. It's not just a Jane Austen romance, it's a mini thriller and comedy too. John Thorpe is my idle.
Juliet Stevenson is my favorite reader for Jane Austen novels. She has a pleasing alto voice, and gives a very lively reading. Ms. Stevenson gives all of Jane's characters distinct voices and personalities. I recommend this audiobook highly!
Juliet Stevenson is a wonderful narrator and does a great job reading what is unfortunately not the best of Jane Austen's books. Although the story is pleasant enough, it isn't up to Pride and Prejudice, or Sense and Sensibility, Emma or Mansfield Park. The story lacks complexity, the characters are merely sketched, and it just doesn't hold your interest like the other Austen works. The narration, however, is terrific.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
Northanger Abbey read by Juliet Stevenson was great fun: absorbing, witty, and even, strangely enough (for an anti-Gothic romance), suspenseful. Seventeen-year-old Catherine Morland is an appealing heroine: ex-tomboy, unaccomplished at the things a typical young lady of her era would be accomplished at (playing the piano, drawing, etc.), obsessed with Gothic romance novels, honest, good-natured, sensitive, innocent, and ignorant. Watching her mature through the course of her first experience away from home (first in Bath and finally from about half way through the novel in Northanger Abbey) into a greater awareness of the feelings and true nature of other people and of herself is satisfying.
And the reader, Juliet Stevenson, is wonderful! She brings the story to life, playing an experienced and wry narrator, as well as pleasurably capturing Catherine's innocent ohs, nos, and honesty, Isabella Thorpe???s insincere effusions, John Thorpe's boorish boasting, and Henry Tilney's clever teasing and kind advice.
As some other listeners have said, Northanger Abbey is not up to the level of Jane Austen???s best novels, but it humorously plays with the Gothic romance genre that was so popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, offers plenty of quotable lines, and, especially as read by Juliet Stevenson, makes a charming and enjoyable audiobook.
trying to see the world with my ears
Like many other Austen readers, this is my least favorite Austen novel. It was only on re-reading it as an adult (and after slogging through some of the meodramatic novels Austen satirizes) that I finally got the satire. Narrator Stevenson really enlivens the reading to so that the tone can't be missed or messed. I've listened to two other audio versions of Northanger, and this strikes me as by far the best - satiric but not "over the top" delivery.
Northanger Abbey ??? Jane Austen
This was the first book that Austen wrote. She sold it; it was never published; so she bought it back when her other books became successful. Possibly she intended a rewrite. Her brother had it published after her death.
The story concerns the teen-aged Catherine Moreland who has little experience of the world, but much experience with gothic romance novels. Austen manages to make Catherine comic in her awkwardness and excessive imagination, but lovable in her direct honesty. This book has all the satire and social commentary of Austen???s later books, but other than Catherine, I felt the characters lacked depth. Although Catherine???s brother has a failed love affair with one of her new friends, Austen only deals with the effect this has on Catherine???s relationship with Isabella. Little is said about the brother. Nothing at all is known about Eleanor???s relationship to her Viscount. That marriage is only mentioned because it allows Catherine and Henry to marry. I missed the more complex interplay of multiple characters and plot line that occur in Austen???s later books, but I enjoyed Catherine???s runaway imagination.
Juliet Stevenson gives a wonderful performance of this book. Each character is captured distinctly while she adds to the atmosphere and the comedy with her animated reading.
Northanger Abbey was always my least favorite Jane Austen book. With Juliet's superb narration, I understand the genius of the story in it's comic simplicity. I have listened to every Jane Austen book of Juliet's narration and I'm happy to say this one will be repeated as often as the others.
This was a fun, light-hearted romp, but not one of Austen's best works. It had her characteristic humor, and I love the way she delivers both approbation and condemnation in such wry, genteel turns of phrase. Austen's world is a Regency fairyland where nothing truly violent or horrific ever happens, which makes Catherine Morland, the 17-year-old heroine of Northanger Abbey all the more endearing. Catherine reads lots of gothic novels, and would like nothing better than to be trapped in a haunted house, discover that the local baronet is hiding his mad wife in an attic, find a mysterious orphan on her doorstep, uncover a wicked poisoning plot, etc. Sadly, no such dramatic events occur during her stay in Bath, but she does make friends with the Allens, the Thorpes, and the Tilneys, leading to a typical Austen comedy of manners with misunderstandings, deceptions, attachments, broken engagements, etc.
Catherine is a sweet former tomboy who still has a vivid imagination and a taste for adventure. She grows up over the course of her little adventure, making friends, figuring out that not everyone can be taken at face value, and that she shouldn't try to fit real people into the plots of gothic novels. Also, Austen has a lot of fun name-checking fellow authors, honoring some and making fun of others, and defending the novel as a legitimate work of art.
However, the ending was rushed and had none of the humor or wit of the first part, like Austen had a fun time writing about her overly-imaginative heroine and her adventures for the first part of the book, and then said, "Oh, well, I guess I'd better write the happy ending now." So all misunderstandings are cleared up and Catherine is suitably settled in the last chapter, mostly through a lot of exposition. So, an enjoyable but a lightweight book without the depth of some of Austen's other works.
This was a "first" Austen work for me. It was an excellent work to begin with. Wonderfully read and wonderfully written.
"A perfect reading"
There isn't much to say really - this is just perfect. The reading is, as usual with Juliet Stevenson, quite beautiful. She brings the characters to life, so that we really empathise with Catherine. Those who have read the Mysteries of Udolpho can enjoy Austen's irony. But even with no prior knowledge of the period, of contemporary literature or history you can just sit back and enjoy the story. Bliss.
"A perfect reading"
Having listened to two of Juliet Stevenson's readings of Jane Austen's novels, I instantly downloaded this third one. A beautiful narrative of a touching story.
"Juliet Stevenson is fantastic!"
This is a fabulous book of Jane Austen's and Juliet Stevenson really brings it to life. Her charactisations are perfect - I instantly downloaded more of her readings of Jane Austen!
I first read Northanger Abbey as a teenager and, although I loved the book, I didn't quite get the satire. Revisiting it now, with Juliet Stevenson's perfect narration, I see the book in another light but still enjoy it. Translate the heroine's obsession with Gothic novels into today's obsession with celebrities and their lifestyle and you have a very modern story.
I highly recommended this reading by Juliet Stevenson. She really makes Austen's Gothic tale/parody come alive.
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