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The only reason I don't give the Story rating a five is because while these stories may have been super frightening to the Victorian or Edwardian listening, the level of fright they impart now is somewhat lessened. The tone and language of the writing is superb, nonetheless, and the ideas held within the stories fascinating and supernatural. The Jamesian Ghost story isn't for everyone, but the formula is a good one!
Of all the many recorded books available of James' works, Derek Jacobi does the best. His skill at dialects brings each of the characters to life without the disconnect and interruption of focus caused by multiple readers in one piece. One immediately feels the life of each person, and the familiarity of an acquaintanceship. In addition, it recalls the original purpose of many of James' works: the Christmas reading at a party. Jacobi's delivery, other than the dialects themselves, is full of the emotion proper to the scenes, easy to follow and bringing to mind the theater. The stage is set keenly, and if a listener doesn't have an advanced vocabulary, the tone and delivery offers context clue as to what is going on.
Indeed, I've listened many times to my copy. I've found my favorites to be 'A Warning to the Curious' and The Mezzotint'. The price is worth the 2 hrs and 46 mins, given the easy of listening again and again. Don't miss out on the Volume 1 of this set, if you get this one (I bought the CDs of Vol. 1, rather than the audible file.)
Derek Jacobi is an incredible narrator! He really brings these stories to life with a number of accents, voices and emotion. I must admit that Volume One of Ghost Stories is my favourite so far, Volume Two does not dissapoint. If you are a fan of M.R. James or classic ghost stories like I am, pick this one up!
The three M.R. James ghost stories read in this audiobook are "A Warning to the Curious," "The Mezzotint," and "The Stalls at Barchester Cathedral." Both this and M.R.James' "Ghost Stories, Volume 1" are enjoyable if you love old English-style ghost stories (lots of atmosphere, long wind-up to a sudden, somewhat mysterious apparition), but James' best work are in his "Ghost Stories of an Antiquary" collection. These are the B team. Derek Jacobi is the perfect reader.
Audible asked me to provide my opinion of this book for the benefit of other listeners. I hope you heed my warning. Do not download this book. The book is boring. It will be a waste of your time and money. The stories are not scary. They are long tedious stores that lack appeal to both children and adults. My recommendation is to pass this one up. Title sounds promising but the content is terrible. I’d say more of the same but this one is worse than the first.
"Better than Volume 1"
What can I say - if you like M.R. James then these are superb adaptations. Derek Jacobi is the perfect voice to inhabit the world and his measured delivery is engaging and well suited to the 'academic' style M.R. James so often writes in.
I actually prefer this volume to the first, mainly because of the fantastically creepy 'A Warning To The Curious' which more than justifies giving this a listen on it's own. If I have any criticisms then they are those that can be levelled at all M.R. James material - repeated stories, styles and characters. That said, as an adaptation I cannot fault it.
One of those audiobooks I can certainly imagine myself returning to time and time again.
"Ghost Stories Beautifully Crafted to haunt you"
Jacobi's superb supple voice & minute inflections are in perfect pitch for these old fashioned, disturbingly ambiguous ghost stories. Once encountered I felt the spectral entities remained nearby long after I had ceased reading about their lives, their deaths; they had been imprisoned created too often by Faustian pacts. How can they be set free from their horrible captivity, behind the bars of their often self inflicted and last remaining Too often the-eerily suggested entities feel too close to many of us.
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