©Trustees of the Wodehouse Estate; (P)1997 Chivers Audio Books
I will agree with the other reviewers that the sound quality and narration for Summer Lightning are both sub-par. I often found myself missing phrases and more often found myself cringing at the narrator's high pitched voices, particular the women's voices in this story. I didn't find the sound, however, to be so bad as to ruin the book for me. Summer Lightning features a fantastic, looping plot and is just brimming with wit. Listening to this version of it takes a little more work that the normal audio book does (and should), and hopefully some version will be put out eventually to replace it. But Wodehouse fans shouldn't miss Summer Lightning, even if it takes suffering the less pleasant aspects of this recording to do so.
An otherwise delightful tale is marred by the painfully twee voices, particularly Lord Emsworth's, which sounds like that of an elderly female invalid. The straight narration, as opposed to the dialogue, had an up tempo wry quality which I found enjoyable, but the overdone hammy voices ruined it for me. I listened to the end, because it's Wodehouse, after all, but I rejoiced when the end came.
I've tried listening to it 3 times and had to give up before I was 1/4th through. The sound quality of the recording's quite poor, and the narrator's attempts to give everyone different accents and pitches makes it even worse. I might have been able to handle one or the other, but together it's often too difficult to make out the words.
Hugo Carmody's the worst, insisting every vowel changes halfway through; The almost castrato Elmsworth's mearly jarring. Galahad sounds angry and curt in the middle of telling a humorous story, etc.
I've never panned an audiobook before, but I strongly recommend not getting this one, even though I haven't been able to find any other recordings of "Summer Lightning." It's a pity though, as the story's one I like. I'd love to get another audio book of it. I also haven't found an audio book of the sequel, where Lord Tilbury of the Mammoth Publishing House, comes to Blandings after the manuscript, the title escapes me at the moment.
still tilting at windmills, after all of these years.
great stuff, as usual. i can't figure out if i like the jeeves and wooster series or the blandings saga more. hmmm ... note to self: read/listen-to more wodehouse :}
that said, audible just released this same book with the same narrator:
By P. G. Wodehouse
Narrated by John Wells
Length:7 hrs and 25 mins
there are a couple of titles ('heavy weather' and 'pigs have wings') which are only available here 'abridged' for the moment. i believe there is an unabridged version out there.
Apologies to the narrator, but the director should have asked for voices of people. It sounds like the instruction was for a children's book of forest friends. If you've listened with joy to Wodehouse for years -- do not try this version! Had to stop and get another book of narrated by J. Cecil. I gave the story 4 stars anticipating Wodehouse came through again.
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