©2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd; (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!
Newland Archer, one of Old New York society's crowned princes (so to speak) is overjoyed about his recent engagement to the perfect May Welland. She too has a perfect pedigree, is a pretty young rose just starting to come into bloom, is innocent and beyond reproach in every way, well trained to be the ideal dutiful wife. But when he gets better acquainted with May's spirited and independent-minded cousin Ellen Olenska, just recently returned from Europe and scandalizing all of New York with her revealing dresses and foreign way of expressing herself and behaving, Newland is at first shocked and then completely taken over with passionate love. So much so that he is in fact determined to drop May and marry the countess Olenska instead. What he forgets to take into account is that his desire to embrace a life of freedom and equality will not be tolerated by his peers. A wonderful look at New York's upper crust in the 1870s, whose lives revolve around being seen at the opera and inviting the right people to dinner parties. Wharton exposes a world she knew firsthand from the distance of the 1920s, and what she shows us is just how regulated life was among the elite in a New York which was cosmopolitan, but prided itself on it's rigid and old fashioned conventions. Because this is Wharton, we know this love story is not likely to end with a Happily Ever After, but along the way she touches on interesting themes and presents us with a fascinating cast of characters who may not be likeable, but don't lack for entertainment value. A story I will definitely revisit in future. This audiobook version was narrated to perfection by David Horovitch and is definitely recommended.
Wharton, of course, is great. The story is complex, the characters are bitingly satirized, and the setting is detailed, fascinating, and a character unto itself.
The reader, David Horowitch, is mostly excellent too. He does a rather funny flat accent for the New Yorkers and reads quite lyrically. He differentiates his characters and reads passionately.
Bad news: Countess Olenska sounds like Count Dracula. Wharton describes her having a strange accent, Olenska having lived a long time in Europe, but one gets the impression she spent most of her time in France, not in Transylvania. Besides, marrying a man with an accent doesn't mean you automatically acquire one too
Perhaps to make her sound poetical, Horowitch also murmurs all of her dialogue. Unless she's shouting, you have to crank the volume up whenever Olenska speaks, because he murmurs, whispers, or breathes what she says. I wish whoever who mixed this recording had pitched her dialogue higher. Unless you're in a quiet room the entire time you listen to this, you're definitely going to miss what she says at least a dozen times.
But maybe I'm picky. It's still a terrific recording, and Horowitch was by far the best reader I could find with the Audible samples.
Wonderful narration and recreation of accents. Great story, a classic.
David sounds as if he has an English accent, which suits this narration. His pacing is perfect. He suggests the accent of the characters without exaggerating too much.
He has revived an old classic, as the movie did.
The unexpected thing about this story, for me, was seeing that the "age" being referred to was not only about a certain time of life, but also about a point in history where one could look back to the previous generation and witness a huge gap in attitude and perception. It starts with horse-drawn buggies, hand-written notes, etc. and ends with telephones and automobiles. To see this sort of change in one's lifetime must have been really amazing.
There is also a Scorsese film version of this with Daniel Day-Lewis. It's definitely worth watching but it bothered me a little that the two heroines were swapped (the raven-haired temptress in the book is played by Michelle Pheiffer).
The narrator was decent, but he sometimes used a rather nasal voice for some of the characters and a distractingly strange foreign accent for the Countess Olenska. She's supposed to have a trailing, slightly foreign accent--something more subtle than the one the narrator used.
I chose this book because I liked the movie & as they say the book is usually better than the movie. This holds true for this book. The narrator was very good and the story held my attention.
Tell us about yourself!
romantic love squared
portrayal of the life style of the new york in the 19th century
all the characters - he does it so well - they each have such distinct voices
just a very tight story about a family and an era and a society that was beautifully and insightfully written
Stylish. Addictive. Fascinating.
None. I've never read such book before, cause I don't like romances. I find them boring. This one is unique. Apparently calm, but underneath passionate and full of emotions.
Without the doubt - Countess Olenska - an extraordinary woman.
When I realized those two should be together so badly, and the only thing which make them parted is...the age of innocence.
Beautifully filmed by Martin Scorsese. I highly recommend.
What a great story. I hung on every word. Enjoyed this audible book.
When narrator tried to sound like a female I would laugh to myself, but how else could he do????
A well crafted story about 'the eternal triangle,' with an unforeseen conclusion. Edith Wharton paints her characters realistically, to the point where I felt as though I was personally involved with their story. David Horovith's narration greatly enhanced the pleasure of the listen. A book I will certainly re-read at a future date.
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