Volume 1 of Tales of the Supernatural features "Casting the Runes", "Rats", "There Was a Man Dwelt by a Churchyard", "Number 13", and "Lost Hearts".
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"There are some authors one wishes one had never read in order to have the joy of reading them for the first time. For me, M. R. James is one of these." (Ruth Rendell)
"A brilliant linguist, palaeographer, medievalist and biblical scholar...[James] wrote several volumes of distinguished ghost stories." (The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature)
Gareth David-Lloyd's narrations --- especially of "Casting the Runes" --- are the best I have heard, and I have heard a lot of James readings. Ian Fairbairn is well-suited to the tales he reads, too. A slight disappointment came at the end of the selection; Bayldon's reading is not his best. He was a good character actor; perhaps he was unwell at the time of recording? The sound quality is otherwise excellent. I have since gotten Vols. 2 & 3, and recommend them as well. A must for M.R. James aficionados.
I was unfamiliar with Mr. James prior to this audiobook. I found the stories extremely creepy and atmospheric. Its rare to find terror created in subtle ways. i thought the readers did an excellent job of adding to the suspense, although in some cases my American ears had to struggle to the heavy English accents.
I found these stories difficult to decipher. Did Gareth David-Lloyd have a severe head cold? I do not want musick plinckity-planking during a recorded reading; it is stupid at best. A dud;
M.R.James deserves better.
The stories are old-school, but as such quite enjoyable. GDL's narration is excellent, unhurried, he does voices and accents superbly. Fairbairn is also good, but Bayldon is bellow par.
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