A novel that caused an outrage in Victorian society when it was first published, Tess of the D'Urbervilles condemns hypocritical social mores as unjust and cruel, especially to women. Simple country girl Tess Durbeyfield is victimized not just by a false kinsman, who rapes and impregnates her, but also by the double standards of society, which cause her to be abandoned and rejected even by the man she loves. Narrator Jill Masters gives a fluid performance, using her refined voice to express Tess' despair with great sympathy and realism. Masters handles Tess' fate with delicacy, never wallowing in pathos, and takes the story to its tragic end with solemn grace.
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"Tess of the D'Urbervilles is generally regarded as Hardy's finest novel. A brilliant tale of seduction, love, betrayal, and murder, Tess of the D'Ubervilles yields to narrative convention by punishing Tess's sin, but boldly exposes this standard denouement of unforgiving morality as cruelly unjust. Throughout, Hardy's most lyrical and atmospheric language frames his shattering narrative." (The Literature Network)
This novel and reading was wonderful. The book was new to me and an unexpected treasure. I must disagree with the previous reviewer, who abhorred the narration. I thoroughly enjoyed the narration and thought that it well captured the haunting sorrow that pervaded the book.
Jill Masters brings Hardy's masterpiece to life although the technical quality could stand some improvement. Her treatment of Tess is remarkable and I am grateful to Audible for making this experience possible.
Everyone says this book is "so sad"...and it is...but I didn't realize it would also be so disquieting, and so beautiful. Jill Masters' narration has the depth and complexity to do Tess justice, and her ravishing voice is perfect for the character. I regret that the recording itself sounds old and funky, but I'd listen to Jill Masters read underwater--she's got the goods.
I listened to the Mayor of Casterbridge and loved it. The novel was excellent, and the reader read the characters very well. This, on the other hand, has butchered Hardy's work. It is one of the most blandly and poorly recorded audio books I have ever listened to. I know because I am barely able to keep my attention on the recording. She reads as though she's watching the plotline through frosted glass and can only see vague shadows. She reads all the characters virtually the same. Plus the audio track is all over the place. Sometimes echoing, sometimes blurry. It is as if someone used a tape recorder in their living room to do this. I know this book is good! My remarks have nothing to do with the novel. I want to turn this back in and get the other unabridged version.
This book is a favorite classic, and I bought the audiobook to listen on a long car trip. The story is excellent, and the narrator did a fine job, but the download was not great. The story downloaded in 2 pieces, and the ending didn't play. I had high hopes for audible as a source for audiobooks, but I don't think I'll use them again because the download didn't seem to work - it does not feel like money well spent.
While I would recommend this book, I would suggest you download one of the other recordings. There are too many peaks and inconsistencies in the audio. In a few scenes you can tell the narrator went back and rerecorded the script, and it was edited back in with no regard to the older audio's sound level or her reading pace. In other scenes there is a slight echo, which is very distracting, and enough places to note where the audio skips.
It sounds like the narrator is reading the book for the first time as her cadence is very poor. Her voice is monotone and lacks emotion. Also, I keep hearing what sounds like her swallowing, which is very annoying.
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