©2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
Despite the many film adaptations of Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897) and the many movies and TV shows influenced by it, I found the original novel to be surprisingly absorbing, suspenseful, frightening, and even moving. One of the many interesting points about the book is the way in which Stoker tells the story through a series of "real" letters, diary entries, newspaper articles, memoranda, and telegrams written, dictated, and compiled by the main eyewitness characters (except for the Count). Stoker's novel provides thought-provoking perspectives on marriage, gender, sexuality, class, community, culture, and religion. And it established numerous Vampire genre rules, like aristocratic lineage, lack of reflections, superhuman strength and speed, undead immortality, shapeshifting and beast manipulating, intimidating cunning and cruelty mitigated by criminal "child brain," and charismatic sensuality.
The readers of the audiobook, Greg Wise and Saskia Reeves, add so much to Dracula. Wise reads the documents "written" by men, Reeves those by women. Both Wise and Reeves have appealing educated British accents for their base narrators (Jonathan Harker, Mina Harker John Seward), and are adept at changing their voices to suit the various people of different ages, regions, and countries whom the narrators quote in their letters and diaries. This means that one moment we are hearing a man, Wise, reading things that Mina says in Jonathan's journal and the next a woman, Reeves, reading things that Jonathan says in Mina's. But so skilled, sensitive, and restrained are Wise and Reeves that hearing them both doing, say, Dr. Van Helsing's thick Dutch accent enhanced the pleasure of the audiobook.
Having experienced many of the plethora of vampire-themed works of popular culture, I did at times hear the joints of their granddaddy creak. I sometimes found myself muttering, "Pay attention to the peasants, Harker!" Or "Quincey Morris is a little too 'American.'" Or "Come on guys--you know that Dracula's been setting up housekeeping right next door and that Mina's at least as intelligent and brave as a man and yet to spare her from trauma you exclude her from your counsels and leave her alone at night without placing any garlic flowers or crosses around her bed?"
But more often I thought things like, "Gee, I want one of those twelve inch, nail studded, Slovak leather belts," or "Hey, that's a great description of the gloomy mountains at sunset," or "Yow, Dracula's brides are kinda sexy," or "The count crawling head first down his castle wall like a lizard is sure creepy," or "Wow--Renfield is morbidly unforgettable," or "If Arthur is married 'in the sight of God' to Lucy by giving his blood to her, what is Dracula to Lucy after drinking her blood?" or "This climax in the snow-swirling, wolf-howling, gypsy-fleeing, party-converging mountains is exciting!"
So if you like the vampire or supernatural romance or fantastic adventure genres, it would be worth your while to read this imaginative and well-written novel.
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
I recently undertook the personal challenge to listen to five different versions of DRACULA because listening to Bram Stoker’s classic years ago made me a fan of audiobooks. I enjoyed that experience so much that I decided to try to determine if I had just gotten lucky or if there was an even better version available. Besides, I wanted to listen to it again. With most books I feel fortunate to have just one audio version available, but with DRACULA there are so many versions offered that listening to them all is not practical. I first figured that I could handle maybe three different versions but then discovered two more that I thought deserved attention. The Audible list had these five that I thought might be contenders:
Listed in my order of listening preference:
1) Susan Adams & Alexander Spencer (Recorded Books 1980)
2) Peter Sciarrio & Kris Faulkner & a FULL CAST, (Books in Motion 2008)
3) Greg Wise & Saskia Reeves (BBC Audiobooks 2008)
4) Robert Whitfield (aka Simon Vance), (Blackstone edition 1998)
5) Alan Cumming & Tim Curry & cast (Audible edition 2011)
Review of this version:
3) Greg Wise (m) Saskia Reeves (f), BBC Audiobooks 2008 [run time 18:24],
Of all the actors displaying their talents in narrating DRACULA, Greg Wise is the best single overall performer. At times his well-modulated voice fooled me into thinking that I was hearing several actors doing the different character voices. He has more range than any other single actor and more variety in his one voice box than the entire male cast of the Audible edition.
One of my favorite scenes came early in the novel. It was when Jonathan Harker is riding in a coach that is overtaken by another coach driven by Count Dracula himself. Greg Wise delivers the line, “My horses are swift,” as if the word was “svvift.” This was my first indication that Wise was going to be great. In chapter 18, Wise doing Renfield is amazing! He brings out his intellectual craziness!
Had Wise's partner, Saskia Reeves, been more exuberant, this would have been the best overall version. Sadly Reeves gave a less than energetic performance in places and caused me to give this Wise & Reeves version a third place ranking. Reeves chose to play Mina Harker with a touch of warm lethargy that never seems to match the dialog or the image one gets of an energetic, and even high-strung, brilliant young woman, depicted in the text.
Chapter stops every 102-116 minutes do not match book chapters.
No text duplications or omissions!
Very good sound quality. High production values.
12:16:20 Mispronunciation of “sentience.” (as SEN-t-ence)
Follows the text of THE ANNOTATED DRACULA (TAD)
1:43:24 “Occupied in bygone days,” (TAD p. 38.1)
2:28:59 “To-morrow night, to-morrow night is yours.” (TAD p. 53.5)
Bram Stoker's Dracula is the work of an old master - his detail and suspensful timing is superb. The narraters are wonderful, and especially Greg Wise - whose scary inflections, when in the voice of Dracula, send chills up and down the spine! A haunting tale and mesmorizing portrayal of a timeless classic. THIS IS THE ONE TO CHOOSE OVER ALL THE REST!
This is a wonderful rendition of Stoker's classic. No mood music or sound effects, but these are unnecessary thanks to brilliant narration by Saskia Reeves and Greg Wise. Reeves is fantastic -- the best female narrator I've ever heard on an audiobook -- and especially adept at the male-character impersonations. Such range, pace and inflection was an absolute delight.
Great story. Excellent narration. The narrators speak clearly at all times. Their use of character voices add to the story and is not distract the listener in any way. I enjoyed the teamwork between the male and female narrators. Their style complemented each other and made for an great listening experience. Just start listening and let Dracula suck you into the story.
The narrator did an amazing job at bringing the story to life and keeping it engaging. The story itself is also amazing. This was the first time I have read Dracula, and I can see why it is such a classic. I listen to audiobooks when I go running, and this week I've been looking for excuses to work out!
I must have read Dracula half a dozen times since high school, so much better than any film that has been attempted to portray Stoker's brilliance!
"The original vampire story is still the best."
I can remember reading Dracula for the first time when I was fourteen and it really scared me. This audio version also had the capability to raise the hairs on the back of my neck. Greg Wise's narration is excellent, bringing the characters to life and judging the pace to perfection. If you enjoy the Dracula story, this is a terrific version of the classic tale. But be warned - you may not be able to stop listening!
Superb interpretation of the classic novel. Both narrators manage to convey the various personalities in the book extremely well.
If The Lord Of The Rings is considered the forerunner of modern fantasy novels, then Dracula has to be the inspiration for all subsequent vampire fiction. Dracula is a deeply atmospheric novel told in the form of letters and journals from the view points of many of the characters. The plot is skillfully constructed and cleverly revealed in teasing chunks that all come together smoothly to form a fascinating and highly enjoyable book.
This was one of the most beautifully crafted pieces of narrative that I've ever read! So gripping and intense! I was just hooked from the outset. Using the format of journals was very effective and the characters were entirely believable. Van Helsing was spectacular and it was so refreshing to encounter a strong woman among the characters. Greg Wise's and Saskia Reeves's performances were breathtaking, they brought the whole story to life! Highly recommended! Enjoy!
The Woman in White for it's suspense and sensationalism.
The characterisations and intense delivery of the narrative! His intonation and diction was faultless!
Intrigue, suspense and horror weaved in the most magnificent way to reach every sense by opening the imagination to make fantasy become reality.
"An oldy but a goody!"
A true classic I read may years ago and was keen to listen to again after thinking is was far more a romance novel than horror but I feel recent movies may have warped my memory!
Great narration and not bad on the accents to be fair...great pace and suspense and a good listen for my long car journeys..
Its a classic horror tale from a bygone era..and made even better after my trip to Whitby this year..i could picture myself up near the abbey on the rocky shore on a bench with Mina and Lucy :)
This tale tells of a vampire than has no romance about him..he is cold and evil..not a dishy 80s actor or a Christopher Lee...think more Nosferatu
I love the switch between diaries and memoires..flowed really nicely and was great to have everyones tale to tell..
No emotion..no real horror or suspense..just great story telling..
A classic for all horror lovers..!
This is a timeless tale that deserves to be revisited every few years.
Greg Wise really made the book come to life. An excellent narration, the best i have heard for Dracula.
"The definitive audio edition of Dracula"
After sampling all of the other unabridged audible recordings of the Bram Stoker classic, the Greg Wise recording proved itself to be clearly the best. Greg Wise and Saskia Reeves (unfortunately not credited on the site) give engrossing performances pulling you into Stoker's gothic world as only the best actors can. Wise and Reeves bring the language alive without rushing or, indeed mangling, the words or voices. A steady, confident pace is maintained throughout.
This is the second best download I have ever bought from Audible after James Dickey's Deliverance.
Dracula is one of those books I always felt I should have read. And this is the version that makes Audible worth every penny.
A completely satisfying listening experience.
Knowing the book by its reputation only as the vampire story that defined and started it all, after finally listened to it I realized how little my expectations actually prepared for the wonderful story and above all, its sophisticated narrative structure. It’s devised to present the story as a collection of documents, all with their own points of view, from which the “author” weaves, in the guise of an editor, the narrative for us to experience.
What rocks my world is the acute subjectivity this method emphasizes, although the author-editor, in the beginning, goes to great lengths to assure us that ”all needless matters have been eliminated, so that a history almost at variance with the possibilities of latter-day belief may stand forth as simple fact. There is no statement of past things wherein memory may err, for all the records chosen are exactly contemporary, given from the standpoints and within the range of knowledge of those who made them."
In this respect the novel feels freshly relevant in how it constructs its world based on not only one standpoint, but many. Sure, the narrative that is thus created makes sense singularly, but how the cogs turn is still refreshing.
Another aspect of the novel that I have very great respect for is its mastery of characterization. Especially the female characters are, in my mind, exceptionally well-written, and rise above the stereotype of sidekicks and victimized blank pages and are actually the most interesting characters in the book, followed by the Count. Some exchanges might seem vacuous, but it’s merely Stoker’s sensitivity for the social decorum. Each conversation has its set roles for each participants, just as in all social contexts.
In short, this is a highly entertaining novel, and far surpassed my expectations. Some descriptions of the social aspects of the novel might be too long-winded for my taste, but on the other hand they emphasize the sense of devastation and loss at the face of death.
As for the reading, both Greg Wise and Saskia Reeves (the latter not credited on Audible at this writing. Huh?) give excellent performances, Wise’s voice reaching a kind of dream state that’s hard to resist. The only moments when the shift in narrator caused any need for ”readjusting" oneself was when Reeves arrived at the Van Helsing parts in her narrative, since by then the lion’s share of Van Helsing’s dialogue has been read by Wise. Not that Reeves does a bad characterization, they’re merely so different characters by then. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing.
"A Superb Rendition"
A story and performance I've listened to many times. Excellently performed. And an audio book I'll be enjoying for years to come.
"ok read not great"
only a fraction of the film we are use to watching . this is full on with alot of talking about nothing that drags the story out till it can be realy boring and the cheesy voices are not good .. good listen but very long and when the end comes its quick and rather unfullfilling. i know thats what the story is about and prob having a wee moan for the sake of it . dont get me wrong it was a credit well used but dont expect the film version .
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