Walter Covell's deep, craggy voice and dignified tone combine to create the impression that Charles Dickens himself is performing this soap operatic tale of woe, which follows young orphan Nell Trent and her doting but destitute grandfather through the twists and turns of a life best described as a bad hand.
The Old Curiosity Shop, which first enchanted audiences during its serial publication in 1840, remains an enduring testament to Dickens' skill at recording sprawling and thoroughly gripping tales of tragedy; and to hear it performed aloud is to feel almost transported back to the dark and dangerous streets of mid-19th-century London.
©1987 Jimcin Recordings
"The sorrows of Nell and her grandfather are offset by Dickens's creation of a dazzling contemporary world inhabited by some of his most brilliantly drawn characters." (The Internet Book List)
The Old Curiosity Shop is essentially a soap opera and so much better than the TV soap operas today as it is filled with memorable characters and events. It was written in installments in England and crowds used to gather at the harbor when the next installment was sent to America. I can see why. I found myself looking for excuses to take a long drive or a long walk so I could listen to what happened next. Some people did not like the narrator but I thought he was great and perfectly fit the book. It was a wonderful listening experience.
Dickens has the ability to draw you into his fictional world like few others. This was a wonderful book with unforgettable characters. I hated to have it end. Narrator Covell did his usual fine job.
One of Dickens' oft-overlooked gems, this is a fabulous story and should have rated a 5. The narration of the tale, however, leaves much to be desired. As the English setting and dialects are so critical to Dickens' works, the Americanized accent of the narrator seems out of place and his imitations of the broad accents of London's working classes are unconvincing. Children are always the focal point of this author's work, and so one would logically insist that a narrator must be skilled in youthful tones and inflections; this narrator, sadly, makes everyone sound downright elderly and strips away any youthful vitality from them at all (the sprightly young Kit sounds oddly like a middle aged undertaker). The main character of this book is a young girl, Little Nell; a great shame that the narrator's deep, extremely masculine voice is so singularly unsuited to it, aping an irritating, "weak" female voice which nears caricature. Dickens adored detail, sometimes to a flaw, but nothing kills his verse more than a s-l-o-w delivery; owners of 4G iPods will rejoice to be able to speed this one up a little... other listeners will at times wish they could get out and push if it would help move the voice along. I loved the print version; at approximately one third through the audio version, though, I wonder if I will be able to stick it through to the end without the narration making me grind my teeth down to stubs. If you can get past those issues, this is a beautiful and memorable story. It's just lacking its wit, sparkle, and energy in this recording.
Although there are some dreadful purple passages, this is a great story, but you'd be hard put to realise it through the medium of this really terrible reader. I abandoned hope part way through, as I realised that far from enjoying it I was starting to feel road rage coming on. At least I know to avoid anything read by this man again.
I hope Audible.com will find another unabridged version with a fine reader
Poet, Writer, Novice Planetary Scientist, Musician, Hooligan, Former Audience Guy, Protector of Stupid Princesses.
This audio version of The Old Curiosity Shop is wooden and dull. I do not care for Walter Covell as a narrator. This is the second audio book I have listened to narrated by him and I won't buy another. The price of the recording was good, but the entertainment value was low. I never got excited or felt any emotions at all. Now that I look back on the experience, I wish I had never listened to this recording. The narrator has a big impact on what they read, and had this been my first Dickens novel, I would not have read any more of them. Fortunatly, I have read most of the others already. I would advise choosing another version if you want to really enjoy this book.
I am finding that Dickens is NOT one of my favorite authors. I read the reviews and how this was so well received when it first came out in the paper and people couldn't wait for the next episode. It was too long and I don't have a clue where the title came from. It was not what I usually enjoy. It seemed to drag and I couldn't wait to get to the end.
This is a great story, one of Dickens most popular in it's day. Unfortunately this reader is extremely leaden in his delivery, making this audiobook extremely boring, even painful, to listen to. I gave up about halfway through and downloaded one of the others - far superior!
Mr Covell's American accent and uncertain characterisation make this a less than delightful listen. The sound quality is no great shakes either. The novel, however, is very much as usual
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