Don't miss more from Henry James.
© Henry James; (P)2005 Audio Book Contractors, Inc.
As the first priority of a physician is to do no harm, so the priority of an audiobook is that the listener must be able to understand every word. With this audiobook, the recording itself appears to have been done poorly. But also, Flo Gibson emphasizes accent and a kind of singsong mannerism over clarity. I have read The Golden Bowl twice (the printed version) and I kept the text nearby while I tried to listen to the audiobook. Flo Gibson pronounced "Florence" as "Florin," "flight" as "flot," "seemed to us" as "seemed to all," "great" as "grift," "the Prince" as "the trip," "migrate" as "my room," and her pronunciation of "galantuomo" was utterly incomprehensible. When a reader pronounces a foreign word, she must pause to indicate that a foreign word is coming and use the proper accent so that the listener knows, in this case, that she's speaking Italian. I returned this book and am listening to Wings of the Dove instead, read by Nadia May, whom I find much easier to understand.
I couldn't get through the book. I don't even think I made it halfway. The sound quality was so poor that I had to turn the volume practically all the way up and then the hissing drove me crazy. I couldn't even listen to it in the car because of the poor sound quality. I don't know whether I would have liked the storyline because I couldn't hear enough of it to follow along long enough to get into the book. My advice is to save your money and wait for another reading to come out if it ever does.
I was warned by the previous reviews of this audiobook, but this was the only version available at audible.com. Especially if you are planning to listen to this in your car, expect to miss great portions of this book due to the often unintelligible reading of Flo Gibson, probably made even worse by the sound engineering. You will have to fill in the blanks to guess what might have been said. I don't know how much the sound quality affected my enjoyment of the novel, but I was not impressed. It's a claustrophobic little story with few characters. Many of the characters make trenchant psychological observations that seem to be instances of straight authorial intrusion. On the feeblest of evidence, the father and daughter in particular deliver long disquisitions on each other's state of mind, motives, etc., that seem worthy of a Proust. But I find the idea of a novel inhabited by Proustian psychologists ridiculous. I would entertain the idea if this project was made explicit by the author, but otherwise it takes the game of 'let's pretend' too far.
professor. like great and VERY good books, fiction and history, mainly
Exquisite, James at his best -- complex, deep, compelling. I very much liked Gibson's reading.
I had foraged my way through Portrait of a Lady by the same author, so I thought I could attempt this one. I just couldn't do it. He goes off on such tangents that have really nothing to do with the story line at hand, that I couldn't follow it at all. Flow Gibson is a great as the voice of the story, but the sound quality wasn't great. I will keep it in my library and maybe one day in the future I will have more patience.
"Too many words"
I have enjoyed reading Henry James in the past: 'The Portrait of a Lady' (in print) is one of my favourite books, and 'The Turn of the Screw' (audio) was an excellent listen. 'The Golden Bowl', however, didn't provide the same experience.
There were SO MANY WORDS! The narrator did a fine job in providing enough variety to the tone of reading, but not even her hectic pace of narration was enough to make me wonder why it was necessary, when I think of it, to have quite so many clauses, (too, too beautiful, she thought, of him), before the end of the sentence came, at last.
With only six significant characters, you'd have thought I'd have got to know one or two of them, but I didn't get to know them, nor did I care what happened to them.
If you're a Henry James scholar then this unabridged version will complete the canon, but perhaps listening to the dramatized version would give you the essence of the story in a lot less time.
Emotional intelligence seems to be a term that people bandy around at the moment. Not sure I understand what it is but I think Henry James must have invented it.
Some issues with poor quality of recording. The reader was very good but the the quality of the recording was odd with some periodic changes in speed and volume
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