This last novel in the Chronicles of Barsetshire series involves Mr. Crawley, the impoverished curate of Hogglestock, who is accused of theft when he uses a large check to pay off his debts. The scandal fiercely divides the citizens of Barsetshire and threatens to tear apart Mr. Crawley's family.
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©1867 Public Domain; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Simon Vance brings the characters so vividly to life that you will begin to feel as if you know them as well as you do your friends and neighbors. The Last Chronicle is a vivid portrait of personality, written with great humor and compassion and a very compelling listening experience. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, except that one suffers withdrawal symptoms after finishing it! The narration and the writing are among the best I have ever encountered and I have been an avid reader for decades. My teenaged son also got very engrossed in the Audible version - the book has value for a wide variety of readers.
Simon Vance performs a truly amazing narration of one of Trollope's best books. Vance gives to each character a distinctive voice; none is campy or too affected, and each is appropriate to the character. Highly recommended.
As with all the other Barsetshire novels, Simon Vance made these stories passionate, suspenseful and more delicious than any group of novels I have read in years. I am now a really big SImon Vance fan and I am waiting for him to read Trollope's Palliser novels next! If you have any affection for mid-Victorian literature you are missing a treat if you don't hear Simon Vance's Barsetshire Chronicles.
I just want to reiterate what others have already said: Simon Vance is a great reader, and these Trollope novels are a real treat. Trollope is a crafty writer, giving all the appearance of just dashing off whatever he "remembers" about the incidents of the current tale while all the time weaving together a very satisfying and well-constructed narrative that feels as much like reality as you could like. He is only concerned with the doings of the gentry class for the most part, but they have enough troubles and cares within their insular world to make the telling of it interesting -- and they talk so beautifully! You Jane Austen fans could do a lot worse than Trollope if you are looking for someone to feed your need for good, clever, intelligent prose.
"Final episode in sometimes perverse reading"
Mainly competent but still with voice choices that go against the novel. Mrs Crawley should not have contorted vowels that place her a social class below her husband given that Trollope repeats again and again that she is a lady, born to gentility and comfort, brought to poverty and hardship only by the eccentric approach to life of her husband and bad luck. And whilst she is entitled to be depressed, the subservient whine he gives her irritates rather than inducing sympathy. Similarly, Grace, supposedly the best educated girl in Barsetshire, whose quality shines forth to everyone who meets her, should not speak more sloppily than other non-wealthy clerical family aspirants to county respectability. We might think (I do) that accent should not indicate worth, but that is not what the Victorians thought, not the novel that Trollope wrote, and crucially, not Simon Vance's general interpretation, with many of his voices apparently taken from the 1950's Redgrave/Edith Evans 'Importance of being Earnest'. He also gives Mark Robarts a completely different voice from the one he had in 'Framley Parsonage'. I've stuck with it because there is no British alternative, and listening to books I know is the best substitute I can find for now impossible bedtime reading. If you don't know the novels the mainly competent readings may not annoy you. If you do, or if you simply listen closely to what Trollope says, you may, like me, put up with it only for want of an alternative British reader more attentive to the text.
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