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As an Audible Editor I listen for a living! British classics, YA novels, speculative fiction, and anything quirky, fascinating, or heart-wrenching.
Persuasion was the only Jane Austen novel I had not read so I recently decided to remedy that. Juliet Stevenson had cracked me up as the neurotic mother in Bend It Like Beckham, so I was sure I could count on her to bring out the comical side of the story (and Jane Austen always offers up some comedy). But I had no idea Stevenson was such a subtle and talented actress. As the omniscient narrator she sounds sensible, measured, and lovely. She delivers the story while not allowing the listener to get bogged down in Austen’s sometimes antiquated language. She successfully confers masculinity to the male voices without attempting to impersonate. And the women who are meant to be laughable, such as Anne’s sister Mary, with them she is ruthless. And it’s delightful.
In terms of the story – this is probably Jane Austen’s best. Pride and Prejudice will always be my long-standing favorite, having been the first book in my life that I couldn't put down, but Persuasion is Austen's smartest work, and you can sense her own maturity in it (it was her last completed novel). It takes the kind of characters we meet in her other novels and fast-forwards them ten years. These are grown women – not girls – dealing with love and loss, and learning about second chances.
Juliet Stevenson has a perfect voice to interpret the characters of Persuasion, especially those of the haughty Lord Elliot and his eldest daughter. Having watched her performance as the arrogant vicar's wife in the recent filming of "Emma", I felt that she would provide exactly the right tone. Watching other of her performances in more sympathetic roles also assured me that she would give a strong character to Anne. Very enjoyable.
This is among my favorite downloads. It was the perfect combination of story and narrator. Juliet Stevenson has an amazing ability to not just read, but act all the characters, male and female, and to make them come alive before my eyes. I will download all her Jane Austen readings.
Jane Austen is always a pleasure, and Persuasion is one of my favorites but Juliet Stevenson makes it even better with her excellent reading. I found myself laughing out loud at her characterizations. I'm certain I'll listen to this one again and again.
If you are trying to decide which of the many version to buy, look no futher, this one cannot be beat. Next to P&P, Persuasion is my favorite Austen book and I've always loved it, but Juliette Stevenson's narration made it even better--she's the audiobook equivalent of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy in the BBC production of P&P! Her voice is just a joy to listen to. As soon as the book is over, you'll want to listen to it all over again. What are you waiting for? Download this one!
When I first read Persuasion, I was a young, romantic teenager. I thought that 26 was too old for a heroine, and did not appreciate this particular Austen. After reading (listening) to it now as an 20-something, I have changed my views completely. It is now my favorite, not to be discarded for the young Emma, who had no troubles. This particular narrarator brought to life the subtle poetry in this writting. Every character had a personality and face unigue unto themselves. Some might say that the romance between Anne and Captain Wentworth was too subtle, too suddenly restarted, but the more you read it, the more cues you find all throughout that show it was there all along, only needed a little watering and sun to bring it to the surface.
I had read only one Jane Austen book before ‘Persuasion’. It was ‘Pride and Prejudice’, which I read in the early 90’s in the Himalayas, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I’ve seen films of other books, such as ‘Emma’, but what attracted me to ‘Persuasion’ was the fact that I knew nothing at all of the plot.
Like ‘Pride and Prejudice’, I enjoyed it a lot. I enjoyed entering another place and time, where life was as different as if you were to visit a planet in another galaxy.
The only beings that exist on this planet are middle class people from rural England. No one works, and the most important thing in the World is the art of conversation. Even the least articulate of Austen’s characters speaks beautiful genteel English, and they all have the ability to remain within the limits of what is considered respectable, never getting even close to discussing vulgar subjects like sex.
The next most important rule of the game is that you must try to find the most eligible available spouse. They must be well-situated within the English class system and have a reliable source of income. Of course, they must also be respectable, eloquent and good looking. All this has to be done without anyone actually admitting that this is what they are up to.
Persuasion is the same as ‘Pride and Prejudice’, in the sense that it is another delightful chocolate from the same box. I enjoyed the clever way people talk to each other, and the storyline was light-hearted fun, like a Hugh Grant romantic comedy. The narrator was superb.
Juliet Stevenson does a perfect job of performing this audio book. I cant imagine Jane Austen read by anyone else. I was carried along by the story, made to laugh and cry. I just couldn't get enough. Which, given that I have read the actual book many many times, is a real testament to the reader. My next Jane Austen listen will be Northanger Abbey, read also by Ms Stevenson.
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
Juliet Stevenson is simply the best Austen reader out there. Pay more to get her narrations; they are very much worth the extra. I love Austen, and she's one classical author whose books get a whole new dimension in the audible format. As always, the narrator makes so much difference in the enjoyment of audible books. With Stevenson, you simply cannot go wrong. Persuasion may be the best of Austen's books, and this edition is priceless!
This is the recording that sold me on audiobooks in general. Juliette Stevenson's narration is superb, and Austen's witty, ironic style make her works perfect candidates for being read aloud. Highly recommended.
"Juliet Stevenson excels again!"
I had not previously read this Jane Austen, and I think it is one that is quite often forgotten. This is not however because it is one of her lesser works. This story follows a different formula to many of her other novels, and shows Austen's maturity in her writing style. It will never be as good as Pride and Prejudice, but definitley worth a listen.
Juliet Stevenson once again is a fantastic narrator, making each character unique.
"Great book, great reader"
Persuasion is not Pride & Prej, but it is wonderful in its own right. This version is read wonderfully, and very enjoyable. Persuasion is sublte and rather sad, a maturer woman's perspective on life and lost love. There are moments in this book that are unforgetable; 'that letter!' as a freind of mine always describes it. enjoy!
"Lovely, lovely, lovely!"
Oh what a joy this has been - and now it's all over! Beautifully read, with fine characterisation, this is my favourite Austen by a long chalk. The BBC did a fine adaptation a few years back (not the truly awful ITV one of a year or so ago) which gave me powerful visuals while I listened - what more can you want? I bought this in one of Audible's sales for very little, and it's been an absolute bargain; it's probably even worth its full price!
I am bemused by the reviewers that treat Persuasion as an inferior afterthought - it is so clearly full of insight and wisdom as well as wit. Juliet Stevenson is the best reader of Austen by far. This reading gave me great comfort through a difficult time. If I could give it 6 stars I would.
"Not so gentle satire"
This book has some of Jane Austen's best writing - she invents the trick of the authorial voice stepping into the character's thoughts here for the first time in the novel. Outside that the authorial voice is quite biting, in the main character she gives an accurate portrait of depression, and some of the subordinate characters are truly appalling. Which may be why some people don't like it as much as her other books: it's hard to maintain the "sweetness and light" illusion that some have of Jane Austen. I like it best of all her books, and, as usual, Juliet Stevenson is a splendid narrator (though Anna Massey, if only we could have her, brings an icy bite to her reading which is entirely appropriate to this book).
"Persuaded by Persuasion"
The characters have been beautifully captured by Juliet Stevenson - the voices of selfish Mary, vain Sir Walter, downtrodden but spirited Anne and handsome Captain Wentworth - are all perfect, in what is probably my favourite Austen novel.
I've never read any Austen before, but having lived in the UK now for 20 years I've kinda soaked up the period drama thang by osmosis and was pretty sure of what to expect - or so I thought ... While the plot was fairly straight forward, when it came to the characters Ms. Austen didn't shy away from baring her teeth and taking a merry bite at the crass and petty snobs that filled her society. I thoroughly enjoyed the way she took the p**s out of the families and their obsession with class and correctness, and exposed their hypocrisy - especially regarding the ethics of wealth and family honour: she did it with a keen eye and a wonderfully subtle wit. (I listened to the audiobook narrated by Juliet Stevenson, and her voicings really did help to grasp the characters' natures.) Thoroughly, and surprisingly, enjoyed!
"Another great Jane Austen story"
It my favourite Jane Austen story I listen to it so often it like chocolate and a comfort blanket
I love Ann Elliott
It my feel good story
It take Juliet Stevenson a bit of time to get into the swing of thing but ones she s up and running it lovely to listen to
"A classic beautifully interpretted"
This is one of my favourite audio books so far - partly because Persuasion is one of my favourite novels of all time, but also because Juliet Stevenson reads it so beautifully.
Stevenson's rendition of Mary complaining about her 'bad luck' was so good that I almost felt sorry for her, in a way I've never done whilst reading the novel. And Anne, the heroine, never seems insipid, which is always the danger when you're a character who is always overlooked by your family, no matter how rude and foolish they are.
I started this book last Friday evening and resented having to turn it off to sleep. My family gave up trying to talk to me on Saturday until it was finished! I've since listened to it again less than a week later.
There are 3 copies of Persuasion on my book shelf and I have read this book numerous times. I absolutely loved hearing the story read to me. What a joy to hear it read to me and rest my eyes. Juliet Stevenson's reading gave me new insights and subtle understandings that I had missed in earlier readings. She has an amazing ability to sound just like I imagine the characters in the book would sound. Juliet Stevenson is THE voice of Jane Austen for me now and I am listening to her reading Jane Austen's other novels.
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