Exclusively written for Audible, only available in audio
"I think Romeo and Juliet is the greatest, most tragic love story ever told. What David Hewson did with this script is so exciting to me. I really love the fact that he followed avenues that Shakespeare suggested but didn't necessarily detail in depth. If you want to immerse yourself in a warm bath of Garganega and the heat of Verona and hear a brilliant story about a young woman who is challenging the restraints of her time, listen to this audiobook, which has romance, poetry, politics, and humor to spare." (Narrator Richard Armitage)
It's a story you think you know: the age-old tale of "star-cross'd lovers"; two families at war; a romance, so pure and absolute, fated for a tragic end. It's a story so thoroughly embedded in our culture, and so frequently retold. Yet, nothing captures the spark, the possibility, and the surprise of Shakespeare's work quite like this....
In Romeo and Juliet: A Novel, author David Hewson reworks and expands on the classic story so that it becomes something richer, something new and entirely its own. Much more than a simple love story, it is a brilliant examination of young versus old, hope against despair, and, for Juliet, the search for individual identity at a time when women were regarded as little more than chattel.
An original production commissioned by Audible, Romeo and Juliet: A Novel marks the second pairing of David Hewson and actor Richard Armitage, whose previous partnership resulted in Audible's 2014 Audiobook of the Year, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel. Hewson's talent for writing for audio is undeniable, and he finds his perfect vocal foil in Armitage, an actor of immense range and absorbing intensity. Together, they bring you a familiar story told in a surprising way - with an ending you might not expect.
Bonus: Audiobook includes an afterword written and narrated by David Hewson.
About the author: David Hewson is a British author of more than 20 works of fiction, including the Nic Costa detective series, set in contemporary Italy, and three novels based on the hit TV series, The Killing. For Audible, Hewson contributed to the serial novel The Chopin Manuscript, winner of the Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year. And, with A.J. Hartley, Hewson has adapted Shakespeare twice before: Macbeth: A Novel, narrated by Alan Cumming, and Audible's 2014 Audiobook of the Year Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel, performed by Richard Armitage.
About the narrator: Richard Armitage is a British film, television, theater, and voice actor. A graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Armitage landed his first leading role in the British television show North & South. Peter Jackson cast Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the company of dwarves in The Hobbit films, bringing him international recognition. Since then, Armitage has appeared in numerous productions, including widely-praised performances on stage in The Crucible and Love, Love, Love, along with acclaimed roles on TV in NBC's Hannibal and Berlin Station on Epix.
©2016 David Hewson (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
"Consummate actor Richard Armitage narrates this dynamic reimagining of Romeo and Juliet. It's an ideal construct for those reluctant to pursue Shakespeare. In addition to using contemporary slang, the author gives the followers of the Montague and Capulet families street cred: They wear red or blue feathers in their hats. Armitage makes even secondary characters unique, with Romeo's and Juliet's fathers sounding like the bitter old men they are. The standout is Juliet's nurse, who provides comic relief. Chapter transitions are faultless, and descriptions of people and places are stellar. Juliet's social conscience, specifically her desire to teach the peasants to read, adds further depth. Hewson boldly alters the story's conclusion. In an author's note, Hewson explains that Shakespeare was inspired by an Italian play similar to Romeo and Juliet. Hewson adds that to him the story is about the contrast between older and younger generations as they react to change." (AudioFile Magazine)
A masterful retelling of a classic tale, this adaptation astounds. The fleshing out of a character such as Juliet results in a story which is relatable to this modern generation. The struggles of girls the world over - for autonomy, individuality and freedom - is captured in this one intelligent, headstrong girl.
The pacing of the story ensures that ones imagination is free to soar. Descriptives are kept to a minimum, while being sufficient to act as a spring board.
Narration...well, what can one say?...the rich chocolate voice of Richard Armitage, and the vocal characterizations he presents are a joy to the ear.
Congratulations Mr. Hewson, this is indeed a triumph!
I'm always a little skeptical of actors narrating a book. But, Mr. Armitage does an EXCELLENT job in his narration. Really liked the book, as well. It's a retelling of Romeo & Juliet, more in depth giving backgrounds on other characters. Written w/ a 3rd party voice, which I really enjoyed. It's also written in "simple" English, not old English (The's and Thow's). Much easier to listen to. Thank you David Hewson for the rewrite and Richard Armitage for fantastic narration.
Unexpected, Melancholic, Educational
I liked that Hewson expanded the story and took us "behind-the-scenes" of Shakespeare's play by taking us inside the character's homes, and families and backgrounds, but also setting the stage of the real city of Verona, the political and social issues of the time the story is set. Also a study of the architecture and art.
Since I know the play I started out thinking my favorite characters would be Romeo and Juliet, but as the story progressed they ended up not being my favorite characters at all. I loved Friar Laurence the best, I worried for him at the end. I also loved Benvolio and Mercutio, Bianca Capulet, and Juliet's Nurse. Now I can't stop thinking about Paris' beard!
I've listened to all of Richard Armitage's other audio book performances, all his work in fact. I've listened to his narrations/performances for close to 10 years I would say. He's my favorite narrator/performer.
I have my favorites of course, but I would say this is one of my favorites, together with Hewson and Hartley's Hamlet:A Novel. As always Armitage creates a world for each character, even minor characters, so as a listener I know right away much about the character's inner life from the voice he's chosen. Armitage also has a very soothing "narrator voice" in addition to the theatre company he creates with his voice. He did a marvelous job with Juliet, I really felt the willful teenager at the beginning and then the strong woman emerging later in the story.
What a great partnership of Armitage and Hewson, I hope to see more work from this creative partnership.
Think you know Romeo & Juliet? This is not Shakespeare's Juliet...
One of my favorite films of all time is Zeffirelli's Romeo & Juliet.But I think this Juliet would surprise many.
retired litigation lawyer; I read history; historical fiction; literary fiction. Narrator ++ important. Story equally so
This is so very, very good.
A million years ago, when I was a young teenager, I was captivated by the 1968 Zeffirelli film/interpretation of Romeo and Juliet, and very seldom does any production come close to that initial charm. This does. A different forum, I agree, but the combination of Mr. Hewson's interpretation of Shakespeare [he does not follow of the play completely] and Mr. Armitage's superb, wonderful, wonderful narration makes this a five star rating for me.
I've been an Audible customer for almost a decade now, many many books, and more and more I choose the narrator first, the subject second; British narrators first, everybody else second. Add in Shakespearean acting experience for the narrator, and everything comes together.
I'm a firm believer in lifelong learning.
David Hewson takes a popular story most widely known through Shakespeare, and creates a stand alone masterpiece full of refreshing and exquisite details that ensnares imagination and gives new perspective to a classic tale. The extremely gifted voice of Richard Armitage brings each character to life with unique and delightful intonation...ambrosia for the ears. A perfect gift for anyone.
If you love Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, avoid this re-telling of the story. All the romance has been stripped away, Romeo seems to be an awkward, moony an immature tonnages, while Juliet is a budding feminist. Yikes ! As noted in other reviews, the beauty of Shakespeare's prose is lost in an attempt to update the language, although at random moments a character will revert to a Shakespearean phrase. Even Richard Armitage can't redeem this. Only his beautiful and dramatic narration made it worth listening to.
Reimagined, well-researched, sensory
I understand the need for and the place of adaptation. I think that David Hewson was well within his purview to change many details from the source material. That said, since Romeo and Juliet is so famous and well known, I felt that there was not enough homage made to certain very famous points of the play such as Mercutio's death, the balcony scene, the death scene, parting is such sweet sorrow etc. This meant that I found these moments lacked the gut-punching impact that they might have had.
Richard Armitage is an extraordinary narrator. His voice is so lovely. It is deep and soothing but also interesting and multifaceted. He really performed this work and that has elevated it high above its material.
His careful consideration of the voices, the tone, the speed, and the excitement level immerses the listener in a story that could be considered a well done fanfiction and makes it a must listen. I will purchase any and all projects by this narrator. Please record as many as he is willing to do.
Creepy Paris' necrophilia really had my skin crawling and me yelling as I washed my dishes and listened
Innovative, passionate, unique
Juliet, she is the perfect example of a medieval woman born into the rebirth of Europe. How do you shake off tradition and revolutionize? She has to follow the directives of society but this novelization shows the depth of her character. The reading of Richard Armitage captures her pluckiness, desires, and loyalty to her family.
Simple the voices. Each character had their own voice and vocal pattern, which made the story very vivid and almost as if the reader was watching a one man show of the play.
Probably Juliet, mostly because of my fascination with history and gender studies. Also it would be fun to poke her brain about Italian artwork that was referenced throughout the story.
The author did an amazing job on his research. His description of the plague and the effect that had on people won me over immediately. This is coming from a history buff and teacher.
charming. so vivid and beautifully crafted, both story and reading. recommend! you won't be disappointed.
"A new view on an old story that actually is very current..."
This story is a lot about Juliet.
A girl, a young woman fascinated by what renaissance promises to bring. A teenager, much like we all were as teenagers or as our daughters are at that age.
Only by telling the story not in (of course very beautiful) verses, but in prose it nearly becomes a story of today. The last 500 years have not changed much in the feelings of teenaged first love. And as well not in the senselessness of many hostilities, be it in families, between counties or for what reason ever.
The message of this piece is so up to date.
David Hewson has found beautiful words, that serve the old story and at the same time bring it to our time.
Richard Armitage has again delivered a great piece of storytelling. Listening to him makes me often forget, that it's just one man narrating.
This audiobook is like some of my favourite books...destined to be listened to again...and again...
"Beautiful Version "
Truly beautiful. I loved every minute of this well read version of a timeless classic.
Not a rewrite or a translation of Shakespeare but a reimagining of the two tragic lovers. Beautifully read by Richard Armitage - in my opinion the best narrator there is.
A brilliant (retelling) of an age old tale. Full of suspense and drama and wonderfully read by Richard Armitage. Definitely a book that I will listen to again.
"Brilliant, fleshed out version of a familiar tale"
This version may suit the expectations of modern audiences better, as it has more fleshed-out characters, and better explains why Romeo and Juliet are attracted to each other beyond love at first sight.
Armitage shows great versatility in his character voices for this production; aside from some occasionally odd choice of accents, his voices all seem to fit the characters they are for. My favourite character was Juliet, who is given a lot of depth: it would be easy for even this version of Juliet to be a cliché of a headstrong young woman who just wants to be free, but she is given plenty of unique thoughts, ideas and wit to make her an interesting character.
"As a century ends, passion is born."
I highly recommend this audiobook. While it generally sticks to the original story, I liked most of the changes and original scenes that exist. I enjoyed the detail with which it describes Verona, and the story's historical and geographical context, and the depth it gives to the characters.
"A marriage made in heaven"
The marriage made in heaven for me is the combination of Mr. Hewson's brilliant storytelling and beautiful writing and Mr. Armitage's wonderful narration bringing all those characters to life and painting such vivid pictures with his voice. Took my breath away to hear him speak the opening passage from Shakespeare's play in the prelude to Mr Hewson's final comments! Wow,so beautiful. My favourite moments have to be the scene in the garden when Romeo &Juliet first meet and the balcony moments, so passionate but tender . There were lots of moments when certain characters made me laugh out loud, especially the nurse but also Nico,the apothecary with his down to earth take on his masters and life in general..As a woman who has been lucky enough to live in a time and place where I have had the freedom to live my life as I wish, my heart went out to this Juliet who represents many women who for centuries have been supressed and opressed.. Thank you for letting her survive the carnage Mr. Hewson.
"a story i didnt want to end"
everything it was so good
everything the voices the pronuncation
see above the beautiful voices . the expression in those voices
the whole thing was a moving experence the end made my eyes water
the most beautiful and epic storytelling . i love my audible books but this i listend to with my headphones on when i went to bed i didnt want it to end
"Romeo and Juliet the Novel"
I highly recommend this, it is beautifully written and Richard Armitage narrates all the characters perfectly. The author has taken great care to research the period it was set in, customs, expectations, and the concerns of the day are addressed. I really enjoyed the characters and this I know will be a book I'll return to again and again.
"A fabulous reworking of a classic love story."
The author managed to achieve a fresh take on the Bard's classic tale of doomed young love and warring families. The narrative follows Shakespeare's plot and original characters but augments it with details of the history of Verona, its architecture and culture, art, the Renaissance, social practises, wine, politics and dynastic/marital customs. The writing is excellent and even minor characters are fleshed out with backstories and great dialogue. It was easy to become engrossed in the world of 1499 and to engage with the young lovers and the families/events that determined their fate.
I loved Juliet. She was portrayed as an intelligent, free-thinking young woman who yearned for independence, travel and experience outwith the strictures of marriage, children and domesticity. Definitely a Juliet for our times.
Richard is probably my favourite narrator. His deep, mellow voice is full of expression and he brings each character alive, using different 'voices' and/or accents for each character. His pacing and phrasing are wonderful and he delivers an emotional performance which draws you in. He injects comedy and dramatic tension into his performance which truly enhances the quality of the writing.He is a top-notch narrator.
Definitely. I kept finding excuses to do long, boring jobs so that I could continue listening.
This book can be listened to without any prior knowledge of Shakespeare's play.
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