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I have to admit to buying this audiobook solely for the reason that I wanted an author I'd never read before, and a story that would last a while. At 32 hours it did that, BUT, I really enjoyed it. It took a few chapters to get into the scenery as there was a plethora of character's names to remember, but Timothy West convinced me that there was treasure to come. He does an awesome job with the accents and different voices for each character. It really seemed like a a full cast performing a perfectly timed dialogue. As for the storyline, I'll leave that to the publisher's description because my review would go way over the 2000 letters allowed. Put it this way, - hearing this book made me look up and watch the entire new BBC film version on youTube at 10 min intervals because the DVD was unavailable in my area. I look forward to more Anthony Trollope, and definately more Timothy West.
Anthony Trollope just possibly could not find a better reader for any of his wonderful books. Timothy West makes the stories come to life. He is wonderful.
It is said that this is the best of the author's books and I very much agree. It is also one of the best audiobook performances I have heard and even though Trollope's longest book,100 chapters,
it kept me into it all the way. After I started listening I remembered watching the film on PBS and imediately went to BBC and bought it.
I've listened to all of Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire on audiobook (I recommend the Simon Vance-narrated versions), and I've been longing to read his most famous novel this way, too. However, for the longest time Audible only had a version narrated by the awful Flo Gibson, who sounds like she's 90 years old. So hooray for this new narration by Timothy West of one of Trollope's fabulously entertaining and relevant masterpiece! I was spellbound. Considering that one of the main plot elements is the rise and fall of a Bernard Madoff-style pyramid stock scheme, some of this novel rings painfully true. But there's also love, money, marriage and literary gossip -- something for everyone. Bravo to Audible for finally getting a decent version of this great book.
I was a little hesistant about getting this book as it is so long! I wasn't sure that I had the patience to sit through it all, but I can now say, I've enjoyed every minute of it. Apart from the wonderful writing of Trollope, I must say that Timothy West did a marvellous job reading the tome. It wasn't reading, in fact. It was acting. I feel like I was listening to a very well-performed audio play.
What a great book this has been. The story is consistently interesting, with interesting characters who are well fleshed-out. Very Tolstoy-esque. The reader is also, fortunately, excellent. A very long book which I wish could have been longer!
I bought this book because I had been listening to Victorian literature, familiarizing myself with some works that I had neglected earlier in my life, and the reviews were so positive I decided to give The Way We Live Now a try. I had not even heard of Anthony Trollope until now. To say that I am pleasantly surprised would be a terrible understatement. Trollope skewers the money and status-obsessed upper class of late 19th century London in a manner that surpasses Dickens or any other author I am familiar with from that time. He relentlessly exposes the neuroticism, betrayal, greed, jealousy and lack of authenticity that characterize humanity in general, but were especially salient in that highly constrained society.
Unlike Dickens, Trollope does not give the reader any syrupy and lovable characters. He exposes everyone as self-obsessed and challenges the reader to love them in spite of their flaws, and God help us, we do. We empathize with Trollope's rogues and victims because we see a bit of ourselves in them and appreciate the fact that that at bottom each of them is vulnerable.
Much has been said of Timothy West's narration. It is, as previously reviewed, pitch perfect in every way. I particularly liked his take on Mrs. Carberry and her insufferable whining. Also, the narrator's voice had just the right blend of intelligence, wit and irony. I can easily see how this work might be tepid in less skilled hands.
Highly recommend. It's more cynical than Dickens, but also more intelligent, and that is what gives it its tremendous satirical bite.
This was a fantastic melodrama, worthy of being compared with any other Victorian novel, with a large cast of characters, a dozen subplots, and a biting, satirical wit that Trollope applied to what he saw as the greed and lack of class evident in London in his day. Other reviewers have commented on how Augustus Melmotte is entirely believable as a 19th century Bernie Madoff, and his ponzi scheme house of cards has been seen over and over again on Wall Street. But if The Way We Live Now were just a book about greedy high society types being taken in by a con man, it wouldn't have as much to recommend it. What makes this book great are the characters, from Melmotte himself to the many other players large and small, all of whom do wind up being interconnected in some way, though not all tie into the central storyline.
Of course a great deal of the book is taken up by marital intrigue -- that is to say, pretty much everyone is trying to get married. Some are trying to marry for love, some for financial security, some start seeking one and wind up choosing the other, but there are so many couples and would-be couples in this book, you almost need a dance card. They're each and every one of them different, with their own vividly described motives. Some are dastardly, some are grasping, some are naive and sweet, some are vulnerable, some are just weak. A few are even noble. But it's all a grand drama, and Trollope, paid by the word like most authors in his day, gets to indulge the reader in chapters full of resolution for each individual character in a way that modern novels, which favor tightness and paring away of unnecessary subplots and secondary characters, don't allow. It's a big, wordy book but if you like dramas, every bit of it is entertaining.
Timothy West really livened up the reading with perfect dry English wit to bring out Trollope's satirical tone. One of the best narrators I've heard on Audible.com; every character, even the women, was distinct.
Anthony Trollope tells an intelligent and engaging story about plausible characters and Timothy West is one of my all-time favorite readers.
A fantastic read. Timothy West does a masterful job of interpreting the many characters. Anthony Trollope never gets old. Amazingly relevant plot.
Timothy West and Trollope is the best combination I know of, I was dismissive of audiobooks until the delight of hearing unabridged Trollope read by this most intelligent of interpreters came my way - all of his readings of Trollope are utterly exquisite and the clever perceptions of the author are conveyed to the listener with exactly the right nuances. Please Mr West, if you ever read this review, have my thanks and pleas to continue your sensitive portrayals of the entire Trollope novels. You are a national treasure - just as these undervalued books are.
"A book for the 21st Century"
I am very fond of Trollope's works but hadn't read "The Way We Live Now" before purchasing this audiobook. It has been so difficult to switch it off and I have been held captive throughout. I know the book has its detractors but I found it full of wisdom and compassion. It is not just of historical interest but says a lot about how we live now in the 21st century. The mistakes in the original text have been retained but it's quite fun to spot them as the reading goes on. Timothy West is masterful as always and does full justice to a wonderful novel.
"Timothy West Is Just Fantastic"
I would never have read a hard copy of this book. I chose it because of the reviews on Audible. They were not wrong. Great story of genteel 'ruthless people' brought alive by brilliant narration. Funny and touching. The best I have downloaded so far.
"A dark but absorbing novel"
Although I have read a good deal of Trollope's work this novel was unfamiliar to me, but has proved to be a compelling and thoroughly enjoyable read.The author unsparingly depicts a dark social scene with many deeply flawed characters caught up in their various pursuits of wealth.The reader becomes anxious to discover how the inevitable downfall of Melmotte and his cronys will come. The characterisation here is wonderful and I have particularly enjoyed Trollope's portrayal of the female characters Mrs Hurtle and Marie Melmotte as well as the heroine Hetta Carbury.Once again Timothy West gives a superlative reading. I cannot recommend this too highly.
"My First Trollope Novel but Not My Last"
This was quite simply brilliant in every possible way and a fantastic introduction to Trollope's writings for a 'first-timer' like me. Timothy West does the most superlative job as the narrator and I can't imagine anyone else who could do such justice to this wonderfully rich and colourful novel. I now have my eye firmly set on more of Anthony Trollope's novels and fortunately there are loads of them, but I can't imagine any of them being more engaging or thoroughly entertaining than this.
"it was great"
I really enjoyed this book. Because of its lenght, I did fear that it would be just a very long drawn out, and perhaps rather dull 19th century novel, but not at all. Its still fresh. So well paced that each hour is enjoyable with no need to rush onward. Beautiful writing.
Timothy West reads this extremely well, as I would have expected. The various voices are well-characterised and clear.
It's a very long novel but Trollope's writing is so entertaining that it doesn't drag. It could have done because he was, to my mind, spinning it out just a bit but my interest never flagged. Trollope does tend to deal in this book with one story line for long stretches and then retrace his steps to go back to what was happening a few weeks before to other characters so he has to do a bit of a recap every now and then.
It's very witty in places and West brings out Trollope's wry humour at the expense of some of his characters well. Very few escape his wit.
There are some splendidly vile characters here notably Melmotte (who only just stays the right side of pantomime villain) and Sir Felix Carbury who is a hopeless case. There only seem to be three really good people amongst the main characters, Hetta Carbury, Roger Carbury and Marie Melmotte and I must admit Marie is for me the real heroine of the piece. I was cheering for her from quite early on. I also have a soft spot for Mrs Hurtle who is a rather modern American lady with a surprising moral code.
It's a good listen.
This book was recommended to me as an interesting reflection of the current financial situation, despite being set in 1873. And it certainly is, showing the power that society gives to those who are thought to be wealthy, without troubling to look too deeply behind the scenes. Beautifully read by Timothy West, the story is easy to follow despite the length of the book and of the cast list! Recommended if you enjoy Victorian literature and even more so if you have a rather dry sense of humour.
"Better than TV"
Trollope has not been translated to my native tongua (Finnish) so I got to know this great novel through the BBC TV adaptation with David Suchet as the star. The adaptation took rather many liberties in polarising the issues and drama. The novel is superior to the screenplay, more nuances and verisimilitude.
Timothy West is even to me well-known actor with genuine wit. He omits the often annoying strong impersonations ie he does not try to speak high for females or anything like that. Still, he paces the characters very well and lives out their psychology engagingly. He has a most plesant voice and diction.
Indeed, yes it is the way we live now, the way we lived when Trollope wrote it and the way we lived before that point. A wonderfully absorbing novel populated by vivid characterisation brought to life by West's masterful reading. Even when he takes the role of young women the listener is convinced he hears the girl and not West. Utterly splendid.
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