The Red and the Black is a powerful character study of Julien Sorel, a clever and idealistic young opportunist who attempts to rise above his station through a combination of talent, deception, and hypocrisy. He uses his powers of seduction and charm to secure advancement, only to find himself betrayed by his own passions and outwitted by the larger political and social intrigues of post-Napoleonic France.
Stendhal's rich, nuanced portrait of Julien and early-19th-century France brilliantly anticipates modern literature in its psychological depth and realism.
©2007 Lloyd C. Parks (translation) (P)1998 Phoenix Recordings
"One of the greatest 19th-century novels." (Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature)
A very intelligent novel read by a very intelligent narrator. I had downloaded the book despite my quick listen to David Case's voice, which I thought had an affected drawl, but now I'm a convert: I found his characterizations sensitive, and thought his women's voices good. The author is brilliant with people's motivation and insecurities. I enjoyed the book despite being hazy about the natures of Jesuits, Jacobins, and Jansenists; almost 180 years after the book was published, I felt the passion translated better than the politics, but a more educated reader might think the politics the best part. (This is supposedly Al Gore's favorite novel--he might say the political goings-on seemed all too familiar...)
Contrary to a previous reviewer, I found the audio file of this book quite clear. Every word was audible.
As for the narrator, David Case, he's quite good here. He brings out Stendhal's humor, especially with his voice of the main character, Julian. I'd gladly listen to this book again.
I'm so glad that this audio edition gives the name of the translator. I wish the name of the translator was always included.
I don't like David Case's low, growling, pressed voice (what therapists call "vocal fry"), but I appreciate all the qualities which Case brings: intelligence, pacing, characterization, etc. He mispronounces the hero's name, Julien (should rhyme with 'bien').
A wonderful, complex portrait of post-Revolution France, and of the idealistic hero, grappling with the shallow, hypocritical society he lives in. Highly recommended.
In this version David Case's voice is completely muffled and almost unintelligible even on the highest quality setting. Equalization is ineffective because the higher frequencies are simply missing. In this state I can only recommend that it be avoided until Audible fixes the file.
"Great book, well read"
Great book, well read
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