One of the most respected, successful chroniclers of 19th-century life, Anthony Trollope is still widely read and much-loved today, and The Barchester Chronicles - witty moral comedies with a wonderful range of characters - are among his most popular tales.
The Small House at Allington explores the power of devotion, in the form of Lily Dale's love for self-seeking Adolphus Crosbie.
©2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd; (P)2009 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
I've never been the world's biggest fan of Victorian-era literature about British society and manners - I read a lot of it as a kid but as an adult I find it impossible to empathize with any of the characters (the women are all so prone to hysteria and the men so unrealistically melodramatic).
But radio dramatizations are often much better, since you don't have to wade through so much dense prose.
Unfortunately, this one was kind of disappointing.
The story was predictably dull; some of the casting seemed odd (the woman who plays Mrs Dale sounds like she's the same age as her daughters); and the voices weren't particularly distinctive so it was confusing as the narrative jumped around from person to person.
There are also some editing problems. I think this originally ran as several episodes; whoever compiled this package wasn't paying attention because they've included at least one episode twice (for example, at 1:58 Lily's reading her 'Dear John' letter; at 4:45 we have the same scene again).
And it's hard to tell where each episode begins and ends, so it's a pain to fast-forward past the duplicated bits.
The good news? It cost less than $6, so I'm not too upset!
"NOT 6h29 - only 3h42"
This is the second episode of the series in which the recorded story is only half as long as stated. The words "That was The Small House at Allington" come at 3h42 of the recording. The same was the case for Dr.Thorne, which ended at 2h45, most of the story being repeated after this until near the end, when Framley Parsonage started. I didn't bother to check what comes after the "end" of Small House.
Others have commented about these faulty recordings, so WHY don't Audible remove the incorrect text and insert the correct length of the recordings on their database, so customers know how much time they're paying for?
You just can't beat Trollope - and this is a lovely dramatisation. The odious Adolphus Crosbie slimes to perfection. One to listen to over and over again.
"A good novel to sleep by"
I enjoyed my regular listening slots throughout, but I really can't say that an awful lot happens in this book, although at the end I am aware that I have come to sympathise with a collection of rather ordinary, everyday, slightly flawed but very decent people who inhabit this privileged corner of historical England. And THAT's the charm, I guess. Patrick O'Brian,say, engages the reader much more directly - but this is authentic in a way that modern historical novels can never be.
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