When it was first published in 1900, Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie shocked readers with its unflinching, non-judgmental portrayals of female sexuality.
The title character, Caroline Meeber, leaves rural Wisconsin for the bright lights of Chicago. After finding factory work and life in her sister’s dingy apartment to be unsatisfactory, she takes up with a wealthy man and adopts a posh lifestyle. Carrie has another affair and relocates to New York, where she eventually pursues an acting career.
Rebecca Burns offers an understated, evenly paced performance of this unsentimental indictment of American capitalism at the dawn of the 20th century.
At the time of its first publication, the novel caused a minor scandal, and Dreiser had difficulty finding a publisher for it. This was due to its blurred division between good and bad and the fact that, at the end, Carrie is rewarded rather than punished for her immoral life. (Although Dreiser's moralizing narrator does assert that, despite the fame and the money she has amassed, Carrie will not be able to achieve peace of mind.)
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"Sister Carrie was the first masterpiece of the American naturalistic movement in its grittily factual presentation of the vagaries of urban life and in its ingenuous heroine, who goes unpunished for her transgressions against conventional sexual morality. The book's strengths include a brooding but compassionate view of humanity, a memorable cast of characters, and a compelling narrative line." (Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature)
I have looking forward to this book for a long time. I've never had time to read it so when I saw it on audible.com, I was thrilled. The narration was disappointing at the highest level. The narrator sounded like a robot. There was no feeling, no expression and no inflection, ever! Each character had the same robotic drone. I guess I'm going to have to find the time to read the book. I will start listening to the sample before I buy from now on. Great narration can make an ok book more interesting and it can make a good book even better. This narrator made this book very, very hard to listen to.
Rebecca Burns narration is so dull that it makes the experience of listening to this great classic a chore. Audible.com. offers three narrated versions of Sister Carrie. The one by Jim Killavey is the worst and the one by narrator C.M. Hebert is the best choice by far. Unfortunately, C.M. Hebert's rendition is not yet offered in the enhansed format.
I loved this book, and I love Dreiser, but the narrator was monotone and monotonous. I had to bear with her because I had to read this book for a class and needed to listen to it while I did household chores. I hope that in the future one of the audio companies will re-do the book with a better narrator.
As far as the book is concerned. Carrie works her way to the top using whatever means she can (i.e., sex--but not explicit at all). Typically, 19th century women had to be punished for having premarital sex, but Dreiser chose to, instead, punish the male--a bold move that garnered him much criticism. A great study class systems--working class rags to riches (and even a riches to rags sub story).
If you like this book, you might want to read Stephen Crane's *Maggie,* unfortunately, not yet on audiobooks, and/or William Dean Howell's *Silas Lapham,* (another worthless narrator--but a really great book none-the-less).
I have only listened to two hours of this version. The story has potential, but the narrator is killing me. I've downloaded a copy by another narrator. Don't waste your money on this version.
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