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As an Audible Editor I listen for a living! British classics, YA novels, speculative fiction, and anything quirky, fascinating, or heart-wrenching.
Persuasion was the only Jane Austen novel I had not read so I recently decided to remedy that. Juliet Stevenson had cracked me up as the neurotic mother in Bend It Like Beckham, so I was sure I could count on her to bring out the comical side of the story (and Jane Austen always offers up some comedy). But I had no idea Stevenson was such a subtle and talented actress. As the omniscient narrator she sounds sensible, measured, and lovely. She delivers the story while not allowing the listener to get bogged down in Austen’s sometimes antiquated language. She successfully confers masculinity to the male voices without attempting to impersonate. And the women who are meant to be laughable, such as Anne’s sister Mary, with them she is ruthless. And it’s delightful.
In terms of the story – this is probably Jane Austen’s best. Pride and Prejudice will always be my long-standing favorite, having been the first book in my life that I couldn't put down, but Persuasion is Austen's smartest work, and you can sense her own maturity in it (it was her last completed novel). It takes the kind of characters we meet in her other novels and fast-forwards them ten years. These are grown women – not girls – dealing with love and loss, and learning about second chances.
Juliet Stevenson has a perfect voice to interpret the characters of Persuasion, especially those of the haughty Lord Elliot and his eldest daughter. Having watched her performance as the arrogant vicar's wife in the recent filming of "Emma", I felt that she would provide exactly the right tone. Watching other of her performances in more sympathetic roles also assured me that she would give a strong character to Anne. Very enjoyable.
This is among my favorite downloads. It was the perfect combination of story and narrator. Juliet Stevenson has an amazing ability to not just read, but act all the characters, male and female, and to make them come alive before my eyes. I will download all her Jane Austen readings.
Jane Austen is always a pleasure, and Persuasion is one of my favorites but Juliet Stevenson makes it even better with her excellent reading. I found myself laughing out loud at her characterizations. I'm certain I'll listen to this one again and again.
If you are trying to decide which of the many version to buy, look no futher, this one cannot be beat. Next to P&P, Persuasion is my favorite Austen book and I've always loved it, but Juliette Stevenson's narration made it even better--she's the audiobook equivalent of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy in the BBC production of P&P! Her voice is just a joy to listen to. As soon as the book is over, you'll want to listen to it all over again. What are you waiting for? Download this one!
When I first read Persuasion, I was a young, romantic teenager. I thought that 26 was too old for a heroine, and did not appreciate this particular Austen. After reading (listening) to it now as an 20-something, I have changed my views completely. It is now my favorite, not to be discarded for the young Emma, who had no troubles. This particular narrarator brought to life the subtle poetry in this writting. Every character had a personality and face unigue unto themselves. Some might say that the romance between Anne and Captain Wentworth was too subtle, too suddenly restarted, but the more you read it, the more cues you find all throughout that show it was there all along, only needed a little watering and sun to bring it to the surface.
Juliet Stevenson does a perfect job of performing this audio book. I cant imagine Jane Austen read by anyone else. I was carried along by the story, made to laugh and cry. I just couldn't get enough. Which, given that I have read the actual book many many times, is a real testament to the reader. My next Jane Austen listen will be Northanger Abbey, read also by Ms Stevenson.
This is the recording that sold me on audiobooks in general. Juliette Stevenson's narration is superb, and Austen's witty, ironic style make her works perfect candidates for being read aloud. Highly recommended.
I first saw a movie version of Persuasion over 15 years ago and ever other year I rewatch it. I as hesitant to get an audiobook version fearing the story would be too familiar and I'd grow bored. I'm glad that I took the chance. The narrator is a very talented actress and made the story come alive. The book, as often happens, had details left out of the film that helped fill out secondary characters. I couldn't stop listening.
A favorite of mine read beautifully as ever by Juliette Stevenson.
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