©2009 BBC Audiobooks Ltd; (P)2009 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
Timothy West is fantastic. I will look for other books read by him for sure. This story is great too. It's long, but well worth it. Repeatitive at times, but that's probably good because it's mostly recaps to remind the listener about the multitudes of characters. There are so many hilarious moments in this book that simply sneak up on the reader. You won't regret this purchase!
I had thought this 32 hour opus would take several weeks, with a couple of breaks for other items, to get through - not so! I paused for another title once, but soon found myself wanting to get back to the soap-opera-like storyline. Trollope's satire shines through here with the nobility busy spending money they don't have, while scheming to marry their kids to "commoners" who've got some, publicly slobbering over the crass Melmotte while he's splashing around all that dosh. West's outright brilliant narration makes the book a slam dunk purchase.
If you're familiar with the BBC production (starring David Suchet), the book itself goes into greater detail regarding the characters, especially Melmotte's daughter, Marie.
At or near the top of best audible books so far
I purchased this book after hearing it recommended on Slate's Culture Gabfest - thank you Audible for continuing to sponsor that most excellent podcast. The story was my chief entertainment during a 20 hour solo trip during the holiday. At first I wasn't sure about my choice as the characters seemed disagreeable and the plot slow. I will admit it wasn't until the 7th or 8th hour that I admitted I was hooked. By the end I felt I was parting with dear friends. It has been said that when writing of universal themes an author must be as specific as possible. This story is a perfect example. Characters' inner thoughts, feelings, motives and decisions are given in great detail. Each one is given so much attention and consideration they are more then fleshed out - they live and breathe on the pages.
The plot points center on 18th century British economics - no apparent regulated stock exchange and landed incomes starting to give way to "trade" wealth - and the kind of British social manners that are too far removed from our own time to even be called quaint. Even so, the larger ideas rise easily above. Romantic love versus personal self interest and economic security can be recognized as a push and pull between greed and generosity. The value of work and dangers of prosperity from idleness and deceit are explored. Throughout, the author's tone remains affectionate about his characters and their troubles. At the end I felt optimism about the word and human nature.
I feel quite certain this is a story I will listen to again - even with its great length. So many ideas are contained within that one go isn't enough to absorb them all. If you love Austen, Wharton, Elliott etc and haven't yet discovered this story I recommend it highly.
Timothy West's talent is remarkable. His accents and modulations gave life to characters and his dramatic reading of dialogue brought scenes to life in a way that trumps the imagination. He managed female characters credibly and beautifully, which given his full rich male voice is a true actorly feat. I also appreciated the affectation of provincial british accents, which gives color to the various social circles covered in the story. John Crumb, a man of few words himself, lives in my mind because of the voice given him by Timothy West.
The story of Mrs Hirtle (sp?) was beautifully told. Her passions and desires are strongly felt and I found it impossible not to root for her entirely. I also was greatly moved by Roger Carbury's thoughts on friendship and his general sense of responsibilities toward others. Described often by the author as someone not prone to "thinking" I found his conclusions and decisions to be very moving and inspiring. Truly reflecting the best of what it means to love. If only he and Mrs. Hirtle could have made something together...
This is as close to pure enjoyment as literature gets. On the usual literary criteria the book is just short of the highest peak -- beautifully written, insightful but not transformative. But never have I had so much plain damn fun with a book.
It's unnerving how little the basic psychology of financial shenanigans have changed over 150 years.
Timothy West is everything a narrator can be -- interpretive but never intrusive. And an excellent job with both women's voices and American accents
French professor, ebook creator, and bien d'autres choses (lots of other things). Franceinfo.us. Fan of 19th-20th Cent French & European Fiction, western thought (homer to heidegger), Rushdie, Murakami....
I never expected 19th century fiction to be as relevant and delicious as this is. You have it all - a devilishly witty narrator, a self-destructive gambling son and his over-protective mother, a european ponzie scheme based on american railroad speculation, and aristocratic characters motivated by trivial, petty, and self-destructive psychology. I would love to see this novel turned into a movie or series. Very British yet so contemporary.
Wonderful book! Loved the colorful cast of deeply drawn memorable characters. Trollope shows us the effects of living under the emotional and class constraints of English society in the 1870's in a most enjoyable way. This book transported me into their world and let me peek into what they thought and how they felt and why. Although there were quite a few characters to follow, I really didn't mind at all. The droll and witty writing caused me quite a few chuckles along the way. I hated to see it end! Timothy West's narration was masterful and thoroughly entertaining. This was my first encounter with Trollope and West and, I dare say, certainly not my last!
Reading a book like this makes one think about how much time was squandered in those days! I fast forwarded the chapters from time to time and thought that I was still in the same spot!! I did not get a good feeling from listening to this book as it was all about matchmaking in the excruciatingly slow 19th century way. A few political sub-plots and money making scams thrown in for good measure. Women being used and abused or just treated as window dressing. Very uninspiring!
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everything after melmot's death could be lost and not hurt the novel but up to that it's great.
Timothy West is always amazing, so we'll focus on the rest. This surely must be one of Trollope's bleakest novels. No character goes completely unscathed. But on the other hand, not one is left completely undeserving of our sympathy or at least some respect. But it is, for precisely those reasons, one of the most satisfying. There are at least two amazing characters in Winifred Hurtle and Augustus Melmotte. Well worth the listen!!
Hi all. I'm in my 50's (that's relevant, i think), and I favor fiction. I like the british sensibility, and was introduced to the Forsyte Saga through audible ... loved it! I happen to also like Chinese writers, but they are not well represented yet at audible. Looking to follow readers with similar tastes ...
This is the first book i've read by Anthony Trollope. To say it moves slowly is an understatement. Mostly concerns itself with spouse-hunting and finding, etiquette and matters of money. Nonetheless, I did listen to the whole book, as the characters are interesting and the narration excellent. If you are considering a book of this era, much better to read the Forsyte Saga.
"A masterpiece, brilliantly read"
Absolutely superb. Timothy West's reading of Trollope is one of the great Triumphs of literature read aloud. Don't be put off by the length. It is not a minute too long. I have listened to his reading of all The Barchester Chronicles and the Palliser novels and am sorry to have come to an end of them all.
If you don't know Trollope you should be warned that his style is very different classics such as Bronte, Austen and Hardy which poetically into the depths of peoples' feelings. Trollope writes with very little imagery and instead analyzes his characters' motives and political calculations, chiefly involving pride, status, and money. If that is not what you want in a novel, you won't like it. If you do want it, you will delight in every page at his accurate, witty understanding of how people's minds work.
"Great story! great narration"
I have listened to this story four times and love it each time. It addresses such relevant issues to today, and yet it was written over 100 years ago. Trollope is an amazing storyteller.
My favourite character is possibly Lady Carbury; a single woman bringing up her children as a writer.
I could listen to Timothy West all day. All the characters are performed brilliantly.
Greed, railways and the city.
"Extraordinary. Timothy West rocks!"
What I find fascinating about this story is that over a 100 years after bring written, it's description of moral and financial corruption could equally apply today. Superbly drawn characters who just cannot help themselves. Nothing has really changed, and these problems with society and business are nothing new! The observations are fascinating. Different era, same human frailties.
Timothy West brought this long and involved story to life, his expression and interpretation definitely lifted this novel out of the "I might struggle to read it" category into an unputdownable journey of shock and delight.
I loved it all.
Listen, listen, listen. It will live and grow with you and leave an indelible impression.
"Reading and voicing fantastic"
Its one of the books I have enjoyed and read but the audio reading added even more to it and I think Timothy West's reading wonderful.
They are all great.
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"Simply superb storytelling"
I remembered seeing this on television and so saw David Suchet in my mind as Melmot and Shirley Henderson as Marie, both perfectly cast. I kept thinking about the Robert Maxwell saga while listening to descriptions of the sort of business deals Melmot engaged in; nothing changes!
Timothy West is simply superb as the narrator and moves from character to character with great ease and fluidity. You can easily believe you are listening to more than one person during dialogues. He brought the long and complex story to life from what might have been a daunting printed read for the average person. I love Trollope but can't wade through such long books any more. The subscription to Audible has solved this problem in great style! I'm very impressed by the quality and variety of what's on offer and often recommend Audible to my friends.
Fantastically narrated and a wonderfully compelling story. It will make you want to hear / read all of Trollope. Still relevant today. A total delight
"Two masters at work."
I find it impossible to exaggerate the quality of this audiobook - the novel is wonderfully entertaining(as well as wise and compassionate),the reading by Timothy West is perfect.
"Well worth the initial effort"
I do like a good period drama in a book. Although it was difficult to start I really enjoyed this once I got rolling, it was well worth the efforts. This is the wonder of Audible, I 'read' books recommended by the reviews of others that I may never have otherwise come across and I am rarely dissappointed.
""Slow start, but then it grips you. Excellent!""
This is a story depicting the lives of many different families so, at first, it can seem rather involved & one is almost tempted to stop listening, but then it comes together & one is hooked! There is also the added advantage & pleasure of listening to Timothy West, who does a fantastic job of narration & character voices, which really brings the book alive, so much so, that you don't want it to end...
"Good - but a bit too long!"
This was good - if you like Trollope - but a tad on the drawn out side = could have been 3 vols perhaps! But well read and a good Trollope.
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