Jane Austen is at the height of her considerable powers in Persuasion, the last novel of her short and magnificent career. To call this book a Cinderella story would belittle its keen psychological insight, its subversive charm, and its winning protagonist, Anne Elliot, who at 27 is older than Austen's other heroines, but whose intelligence and vividness make her a classic Austen creation. Flo Gibson conveys Austen's ironic wit and the incomparable social acumen of her story of a woman who must take a careful look at the first mistakes of her young adulthood before she can move past them.
Anne Elliott foolishly let true love slip through her fingers when she allowed herself to be persuaded that the man she adored was an unacceptable candidate for marriage. Now, after years of carrying a torch, Anne finds herself confronted by the dashing Wentworth, newly returned from years at sea. In this, her final novel, Jane Austen savagely skewers the rigid social sensibilities of the day with brilliant satire.
(P)1989 by Recorded Books, Inc.
This story won't disappoint fans of Jane Austen's work, but in Format 3 the quality of playback was poor and difficult to listen to without some effort of concentration and frequent rewinding.
I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
Baths bookends Austen's writing. Her first novel, Northanger Abbey takes place largely in Bath. Her last novel, Persuasion also spends a bunch of time in Bath. While I wasn't a huge fan of her first novel, I really appreciated Austen's last novel. It was tight, interesting, and possessed a focus that Northanger Abbey lacked. It also seemed to be one of the clearest presentations of Austen's big themes: her explorations of marriage, class, persuasion and responsibility. The ability for Austen to create such a clear narratives that are also seeped in irony, satire, and yes even mild bathos amazes me.
Flo Gibson has a gravelly voice that might be just the ticket for the aged woman-of-the-world of "Moll Flanders", but does not suit "Persuasion" at all. Recorded Books can usually be relied upon to match the right narrator to a book; this was a rare serious blunder. The novel is wonderful, just try a different version.
I was unsure when I saw that the narrator was Flo Gibson. I have listened to other books that she read and had problems hearing them. This one is very well read and well recorded. For the most part, the sound quality is excellent.
As for the book itself, I enjoyed it. It is shorter then some of her earlier books, and once you've read a few things by her you can pretty much guess the end early on. That really doesn't take away from the story. This one had likeable and hateable, interesting characters and a good plot line. The father was a great comic addition to the group.
Attorney - love to listen to audio books
I dearly love Jane Austen novels and this is my second favorite (after Pride and Prejudice and before Emma). Flo Gibson does a great job reading this book and toher books of this era and setting - she has a good voice and accent for the times.
As usual, Jane Austen created extrodinary memberable characters in Persuasion. I truly liked and sympathised with the heroine who at a young age was persuated (hence the title of the book) by Lady Russell to turn down Captain Wentworrth's offer of marriage. I believe we are supposed to honor and like the esteemable Lady Russell and her good breeding and sense, but I never could honor or like her. However, that does not take away from my enjoyment of the book. The story line is carefully developed and the characters are so well drawn that they come to life (the arrogant, ridiculous, conceited, cruel father and older sister of our wonderful heroine and the perceived ill treatment and ill health of her younger sister, our heroine's sporting brother-in-law, the silly and self centered Louisa, the charming Captain Wentworth, etc).
I highly recommend Persuasion to anyone who appreciates good writing, a good story, humor and passion. Even though Jane Austen grew up in very proper time and manner, and never married, she knows about love, romance and passion - and she can make you feel it without ever writing anything sexually graphic. Purchase it - you won't regret it!
"Persuasion" will always be my all-time favorite Jane Austen novel. Normally, I also like Flo Gibson's narrating as well. Unfortunately, this version was terrible. The sound went in & out, got scratchy and off balance at times, to the point that I was constantly readjusting the volume. Ten minutes into the audiobook, I was convinced I should have bought a different copy. The audio was so bad, it really took away from the story.
Spoiler Alert: The story of Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth is one of the great love stories of all time. Yes, dear reader, they do end up together - but there were times I despaired of it.
I listen to this book every year, as I do Emma, Pride & Prejudice, and Sense & Sensibility. Northanger Abbey is fine, but not to my taste, and I cannot stand that prig Fanny Price so I've read it only a few times (on the other hand, the 1999 production of Mansfield Park with Embeth Davidtz, Alessandro Nivola, Hugh Bonneville, and Frances O'Connor as a less-insipid-than-usual Fanny is well worth watching). I digress.
What I love most about Persuasion is that it's a love story about more mature people of real character who have experienced loss but remained steadfast. The comeuppance of various others is especially satisfying, too (every time I read it I am again happy with the end to Mrs Cole's machinations). Anne is no flighty Emma or Marianne; she's a complex woman. Frederick is an honorable man who loves deeply.
I could go on at length, but you probably already know the story and have your own ideas about it. The question that remains is: which narrator is best?
For me, the answer here, as often happens, is Flo Gibson. I know she's not to everyone's taste, but her clear, no-nonsense voice is a favorite. She doesn't over-emote; she doesn't have a voice for every single character; she doesn't swoop and trill - she just reads the book as if she knows it well and wants to share it with you. For me, that's what a professional reader does.
Rated 5 for story, 5 for performance, 5 overall because it's one of my all-time favorites.
(Also, do look for the 1995 production of Persuasion, starring Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds, with Susan Fleetwood, Corin Redgrave as the perfect Sir Walter Elliot of Elliot Hall, and Sophie Thompson - who brings Mary Musgrove to hilarious life. I watch it every year, too.)
At first I thought there was something wrong with my speakers. This is a very difficult book to listen to-the sound is extremely muffled. In addition, the reader's voice is very irritating. I wish I had read the reviews before I bought it.
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