This 19th-century adventure novel will delight Verne fans. As in other works by Verne the characters are ideal and the plot seems convenient rather than organic. Verne was not a scientist, but he was obsessed by all the scientific disciplines. Verne’s novels are full of magical inventions and pseudo-scientific rhetoric. In The Mysterious Island, five men and a pooch land their balloon on an exotic island. They undertake to learn the secret of the place. Narrator Berny Clark’s lively voice sings out the animated dialogue. His excited yet genteel tone makes the densely descriptive text sound lighter and less mannered. His voice sustains an energetic lilt throughout his performance of this lengthy and exhaustively sketched fiction.
Based on the true story of Alexander Selkirk, who survived alone for almost five years on an uninhabited island off the coast of Chile, The Mysterious Island is considered by many to be Jules Verne’s masterpiece.
“Wide-eyed mid-nineteenth-century humanistic optimism in a breezy, blissfully readable translation by Stump” (Kirkus Reviews), here is the enthralling tale of five men and a dog who land in a balloon on a faraway, fantastic island of bewildering goings-on and their struggle to survive as they uncover the island’s secret.
Public Domain (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I was excited to see an audiobook of The Mysterious Island, one of my favorite novels by Jules Verne. Berny Clark does a good job narrating the book. I'd love to give it five stars, but unfortunately the producers decided to use a mediocre 19th-century translation that renames three of the characters and cuts some of the main points from a certain life story that forms the climax of the novel. (If you haven't read it before, I won't say anything more than that; just remember, when you get to this point, that Verne's original text is far more radical politically than what you're listening to.)
At least it's a mediocre translation and not a completely bungled one, unlike the "standard" version of 20,000 Leagues under the Sea or the "Hardwigg" version of Journey to the Center of the Earth. The story (apart from some of the political shading) is intact, and the story of this resolute band of escapees and their skin-of-their-teeth survival on the island has always been, for me, a compelling and gripping one. My three stars for the story are directed at the translation, not the original. I wish a different translation were used, but I'm glad to have it.
I have always enjoyed the novels of Jules Verne. While not a scientist by training, his writing includes enough technical detail (perhaps too much, at times) to make the story very believable. What I enjoy is being able to listen or read stories from this era. I feel it is important to keep the story in context. Although published nearly 20 years after the U.S. Civil War, Verne does a good job of portraying the public face of civil behavior at the time. The caring yet always appropriate relationship between the main characters does not fit well in a RAP society where caring has lost its meaning to many.
Having said all that, Verne's story lines can become tedious when he does into detail on botanicals and phylogenetic classifications. Even so, that is his style and his work influenced many scientist.
As for Mr. Clark, the narrator, I felt he did an admirable job considering that Verne's writing (originally in French), is a struggle in translated works.
I read this book several times in the past and was curious how it would work as an audio book. I enjoyed it -- more than I thought I would.
Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy
It isn't very often that I finish an audiobook and walk around with a grin from ear to ear, chuckling. This book really grew on me and it was so much fun. I really enjoyed the characters and miss them now that the book is finished.
First, what this book isn't. Do not expect a-thrill-a-minute pace, do not expect sea monsters, vampires, or zombies. Do not expect political correctness--think of where we were in the 70's, 1970's, that is.
What this book is. It is a very well-done, old-fashioned survival tale. It is an all-male adventure that includes and all-knowing engineer and his African manservant, a seaman, a reporter, and a young teen boy. In addition, there is the indispensable dog, Top, and the orangutan, Joop, who wears a dinner jacket in his role as servant. The guys are stranded on a Pacific island after escaping imprisonment of sorts by the Confederates during the Civil War by stealing a hot air balloon and blowing away in a hurricane. They crash land with nothing but the shirts on their backs, but no matter, they have an engineer with them! This book is not a comedy, by any means, but is genuinely funny and I wonder how the excellent narrator could keep from laughing. Somehow he did keep from laughing and turned out the best possible narration for this book, narrating with total seriousness.
This book is a gem that takes a little patience to get a feel of where it's going. Once you do, just sit back, take it easy, and enjoy it. And just when you think you have figured it out, you will be hit with a twist that will make it ever more enjoyable. That is assuming you have not read EVERY review and particularly the one by the person who just has to, oh-so-innocently, include spoilers in their reviews.
You got nothing to loose and a lot of listening fun if you get this book!
Lover of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and westerns in all media, including old-time radio dramatizations.
Like all of Verne's works. The dialog shows it's age, I find that charming rather than bothersome. Verne was a visionary, and I rate 'Mysterious Island' among his best. If classic literature is your thing, you will love this.
Berney Clark's performance was right on the mark. I would definitely listen to him in the future.
I love this novel of Jules Verne. It's a long, detailed novel with much natural history and Verne's fascination with the technology of the times. The audio edition lets you focus on the drama and not get bogged into the details.
Cyrus Harding can do anything--even create nitroglycerin and forge iron and steel tools on an island where they didn't even have a penknife. How he solves the problems of being marooned on a Pacific island with practically nothing always makes for an exciting story.
Have not heard Berny Clark before but I love his performance--not keen on "Pencroft" and the gruff voice but other than that, I just love how he reads this book.
Five Men Against Nature --but their worst enemy is Man.
I love this book so much, I listen to it before bed almost every night.
This is a wonderful insight into the brilliance of a man able to imagine things well before his time. The way he combines his knowledge of the natural world and invent the life preserving world that makes up the mysterious island shows a genius that is well worth listening to.
Wine, food and travel writer, editor, and aspiring novelist.
This book could have benefitted from a better producer, who would have caught mispronunciations.
Yes, Verne has a way of making science seem miraculous.
No. I hate to criticize a narrator, as I could certainly do no better, but this book had more characters than Clark could easily differentiate. Also, he mispronounced a number of words, which immediately took me out of the narrative. For instance, instead of pronouncing "draught" as "draft," he says "drot."
The boy, Herbert, is extraneous.
There are probably better translations, and a narrator adept at many voices would make this a better listen.
I read most of Jules Verne's fictions when I was young (a long, long time ago). I particularly remembered that I had enjoyed Mysterious Island though I remembered little about the plot. I came across this in Audible and it was on sale so I took the plunge. It was a lot of fun, not too deep or complex, just a good story about a group that get stranded and use their wits and their absolute commitment to one another to survive, and survive well. If you've read any of his stories, you know they can get bogged down in details now and then and the language is stilted at times, but the story is very well done. And most important, for me anyways, is that I love how it ends. The trails they face are believable, complex, and make the last couple of hours very suspenseful. For those that remember the movie (which was ridiculous in my opinion) and have not read the book, it is nothing like the movie, which is a good thing.
The narration was good, not great, but good. Nice job with the various characters on the whole.
Not the best book I've listened to, but I thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless. Great for young adults...
I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath
When you read something written in 1874, then you have to keep in mind, when it was written, the culture at the time and if Science Fiction, the knowledge at that time. There is no doubt in my mind that at the time this was written it was one of the best if not the best story you could obtain. Even reading it today as a 54 year old man, it brought back the wonder and the adventure I felt as a boy, going out and playing in the woods and pretending to be on a mysterious island. As a young boy the movie Mysterious Island was my favorite next to The Wizard of Oz.
The 60's movie and the book have very little in common. There are no giant birds, no girls, etc. If you buy the book, then you need to be ready for long sections, where they tell you step by step how to make gun powder, bricks, ovens, etc.
There is a lot that can be criticized about the book, which is fairly common for novels of the time period. The engineer is a perfect man, his knowledge is total, he is calm at all times, he is a great leader, etc. So many things just fall into place, such as one of them just happens to find a corn seed in the lining of his coat, one of them mentions they could really use a beast of burden and the next day two show up at there doorstep, everything they make or attempt comes out perfect, never a mistake. The ending is a super cop out of a miracle. It also bothers me that there are no women, that of these five men, none are married, don't seem to have families and never once miss anyone from home. Anytime someone is given up for dead, you can expect some miracle to bring them back to life. I believe this to be typical of 19th century adventure novels.
The book has a whole is very interesting, there are some really good parts, some intense parts and as long as you don't expect it to compete with modern writing then it is an enjoyable read.
The narrator was good for this type of book, I am not sure I would want him to read something which involved lots of emotion.
I grew up reading Verne, 20,000 Leagues being an early favorite, but unfortunately, as important a figure as he may be in literature and scifi history, I don't think his writing holds up. I've revisited Verne a few times over recent years and though I love Nemo etc. I can't enjoy him now. His novels are, and it pains me to say it, better in an abridged version. This one in particular just goes on far too long and slowly and belabors events. And the narrator didn't help either, very slow and monotonous. I finished it, but I cheated and put the playback speed up to 2x.
Really good book couldn’t stop listening to it, it would keep me up all night
Narrator really makes the book come alive
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