(P)1996 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"What a beautiful thing Notre-Dame is!" (Gustave Flaubert)
This narrator got the tone of the book all wrong, which is, most likely, the fault of the director.
I remember this being one of my very favorite books as a teen, and was very disappointed by the narration.
I enjoyed this book as it is one of the classics. Victor Hugo does not dissappoint. I suggest you get the cliff notes if you are unfamiliar with the story, so you keep track of the characters. If you like lots of dialogue and character interaction then this is not your book as it is more the narrator role.
Instantly a favourite classic, but this narrator's voices were weak and his phrasing often felt wrong. Every voice sounded like someone hoarse from yelling differing only in frequency, and his Esmeralda sounded like someone mocking a scared girl, even during her most impassioned moments.
As for the story, it's obvious why it's a classic. Few books have been written in the 19th century (about the 15th no less) and maintain cultural relevance even today, but this does. It was pure beauty in both its saddest and most inspiring form.
Performed really well. The author wanted to make sure you had a portrait of Paris in the 1480's and does a great (and sometimes long) job describing buildings, people, attitude and mentality of Paris and it's people.
The book stands alone. Obviously Victor Hugo is a masterful writer, and with Hunchback, he wrote a masterpiece. The characters are complex. The story is compelling. If you think you know the story from the Disney movie or some other Hollywood version, trust me, in no way can any movie capture the depth of these characters and this story.
If I had to pick my favorite chapter from all the audio books I have ever listened to, it is a chapter from this book.
I walk while I listen. My walks take about an hour. One fine fall day I set out listening to a chapter called "A Bird's Eye View of Paris." It was purely descriptive, the kind of chapter I may skim if I were reading a hard copy of the book -- but that's not an option with an audio book. I walked, listening, as Hugo described the different burgs of Paris, the streets of Paris, the homes, the buildings, the churches. Quite frankly, 45 minutes into the walk and the chapter, I was getting a little tired of description.
But then, the glorious conclusion. Having built a city of stone with words in my imagination, he began the chiming of the bells in all the steeples across the whole city -- small bells, medium size bells, and huge grand bells of Notre Dame. Hugo describes as "a tumult of bells and chimes," "a furnace of music," and a symphony.
I heard a symphony in a audio-book and it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard.
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