©1930 Richmal Crompton; (P)2007 CSA Telltapes Ltd.
"The humour needless to say is as dry as ever, and while William remains eternally 11, age has not withered Jarvis' youthful delivery." (Sunday Times)
"A good performance, Shameful putting together."
This is Brilliantmasterpiece by Martin Jarvis, funny, witty and altogether just William!
The reason why I'm not giving a five-star review is due to the shameful fact of audible not being able to correctly mark the chapters. Instead of having each chapter with the correct name of the story in the chapter all you get is Chapter 1, Chapter 2 etc.
to many people this may not make a difference, but as for me, this is one of the main reasons I buy at audible
"The antidote to Enid Blyton"
Martin Jarvis has made a nice little sideline of reading Richmal Crompton's William books on the BBC for ages. Then they appeared on tapes and CDs, and now they are available here. If you haven't heard them before, then you are in for a big treat, just so long as you can accept the conventions of early to mid-twentieth century British middle-class life. My own early life was a generation after William's, although I did go to school wearing grey flannel shorts, a school cap, blazer and tie, we had no servants at home, and the increase in road traffic curtailed my generation's capacity to roam widely.
Once you have projected yourself into this prelapsarian age then the antics of William and the Outlaws become compulsive. In much the same way that P. G. Wodehouse's books appeal to those who cannot have been acquainted with realities on which they draw, Richmal Crompton's stories set eternal themes and their inevitable conclusions in a way which often leads the reader, or in this case listener, to collapse in fits of uncontrollable mirth. This was proved by my grand-daughter, who is still eight, becoming a hopeless devotee of the stories. Her background could not be more different from that of William and his chums, but she will sit quietly for hours listening to Martin Jarvis's voice on her iPod.
And there, of course, is a major part of the appeal. Through many years of narrating the books Martin Jarvis has developed a capacity to inhabit the world and to animate the characters which adds considerably to the pleasure of the books. His sense of timing and delivery has been honed to a razor sharp edge, and the personalities and scenes come to life in a vividly entertaining way.
Of course, if your preferred children's book character is Rastamouse then you may find William unsatisfactory.
"A pleasure to revisit a childhood friend."
Amusing, warm and timeless. I loved these books as a child in the 80's, having no idea that they were set the 1940's. William's adventures have a universal appeal that feels real and new in any decade.
Anything at all involving Jumble the dog.
Jarvis didn't overwork the humour or sarcasm and gave William a voice that is believable and lively.
William versus the world: This time it's personal.
I love revisiting childhood favourites as audiobooks ('Swallows and Amazons' are also well worth a listen,) and this didn't disappoint. The characters are still just as warm and somehow believable, and William's blunt charm is just as endearing as ever.
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