©2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd; (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
This is a fabulous story, splendidly narrated by Timothy West. Lily Dale is at times an infuriating heroine. She makes me want to jerk Anthony Trollope out of his grave, slap him up side the head, then force him to rewrite a couple of spots in this otherwise perfect story then afterwards dumping his bones in an inglorious heap. But after forgiving George Elliot (Mary Ann Evans) for the ending of The Mill on the Floss, I guess I have to be consistent and let Trollope slide on this one. On the other hand, there is a wonderful awkward moment when Johnny Emes is forced to propose to Lilly Dale in the presence of her mother. Austen, the queen of awkward moments, could not have done better.
Trollope wrote for the daily papers, one episode every day or so, soap opera fashion so there is a leisurely pace to his stories with lots of odd characters who flit in and out of the story according to their wont. Sometimes, it seems as if the author gets sidetracked but he always manages to bring the story back to the main point and be darned if he doesn't shoehorn it altogether into a coherent whole. I shake my head in admiration at a writer who can juggle dozens of characters without flubbing or dropping a single one from the opening word to the final period, a thousand pages later.
Timothy West, the narrator or performer, took this complex work and made it intelligent able and enjoyable to the listener with tremendous talent, skill and obvious understanding.
I thought Simon Vance was a good narrator for Trollope, but Timothy West is better. I could, and did, listen to this one for hours at a time, and then went out and downloaded the rest of the Barset novels with Timothy West as narrator.
Trollope is a fascinating writer. I understand that Stephen King doesn't think much of him. He digresses a lot, and he addresses the reader directly in ways that drove my undergraduate Victorian Novel instructor (a fan of Henry James) up the wall. But his characters are all delightfully alive, his women characters especially full of vinegar, and he is very much grounded in the real world of rural communities, organizational politics, and money. There are many times (especially with Timothy West's narration) that he is laugh-out-loud funny. I only wish there were an equally accomplished audiobook production of the Palliser series, which is a sort of sequel to the Barset novels.
My goodness, what exquisite writing!
Anthony Trollope is a new discovery for me. His sense of humor and emotional tone are striking and wonderful.
Trollope has an amazing ability to dip a "spoon" into the bowl of life, pull out what comes and remark precisely on what he has found. He at one point is so sensitive about the troubles of Love, and on another occasion is very severe about his characters' character (if I may say).
He does not present us with the usual endings for novels so you have to get to the end of the book and cannot even guess how it will end.
The reader Timothy West is also a very great discovery for me. I read along with him on Gutenberg.org and realized I could never have gotten the characters' "voice" without Timothy West's great artistry. He brings out the emotional element of Trollope's writing masterfully.
Further to Trollope, I am amazed how he draws out life's contradictions in matters of Love. In this character, money does not matter. In the other character, money brings love. I wonder if Trollope was the inventor of every cliche we have ever heard regarding "Love." Money does not bring happiness, we want to believe. On another moment, we see how money breeds love.
Yet we are rewarded with the results of our own integrity towards others, Trollope seems to say.
I really enjoyed the "Small House" as a great example of how to use the English language in a novel. Listening to Trollope takes you back to an earlier time without fear of violence or untoward sexual episodes. You can listen with confidence and a calm heart.
A great reader reading a great book. As usual, Timothy West captures all the humor and greatness of Trollope in his narration of The Small House At Allington.
Beautifully written, very well spoken, a reminder of times gone by, I will look for other books by this author, and also the narrator (first class) this gentleman is splendid.
Love having someone read me a story. Fires in the hearth, rain on the roof, sunny days and surf. Good friends, good food and J S Bach.
Anthony Trollope is usually a delightful read. In this case with Timothy West reading, a delightful listen.
Not so serious, it is a charming story of family and manners .A dash of independence, lovely young women, a gossipy group, a rouge, scandal, a few good fellows, supportive relatives and friends all make for some good hours of listening pleasure. While most 'unbecoming' behavior is referred to, you will find no jarring descriptions of who did what to whom.This is the time and society of glances and a gentle pressure of the hand. All written and read with subtle humour.
I love the author. I love the book. I love this narration. The ending departs from what you might expect from a Trollope resolution, yet it feels right and makes you love the characters even more.
I loved this book. The characters were interesting, and the plots and sub-plots were engrossing. One of the most fascinating aspects of the book is the portrayal of daily life in another era, both in the higher social circles as well as the lower ones.
I've read and enjoyed a few of Anthony Trollope's books, including several of the previous books in the Barsetshire series, but after listening to Timothy West's performance, I'm going to be a listener from now on. He brings a new depth and level of enjoyment to the story. I'm planning to start at the beginning of the two series (Barsetshire and Palliser) and anticipate many happy hours of listening ahead of me.
"fabric artist and quilter"
Trollope is a master at characterisation. Every one of the main characters are three dimensional and very real even if they aren't very modern - 150 years hasn't changed human character very much at all - we all could feel Lily Dales suffering, Johnny Eames pain, we know self-centred people like Lady Alexandrina and bad boys like Crosbie. The fact we can empathise and identify with the characters shows Trollope's genius.
The fact that I wanted to slap some sense into Lily Dale also shows that genius - and believe me she did need a good slap - we've all been hurt in love but she took the hurt to another level! Her martyrdom so annoyed me and made for a very frustrating heroine in my eyes.
Nevertheless I do hope that someone makes a good movie of this book for it needs to be done. Its a complete story in itself but listening to all the books in the series does make it all the more enjoyable - characters from previous books reappear and their stories continue. Its rather like catching up with a rarely seen friend and hearing their news.
I'm looking forward to the last in the series and then I shall launch into the Pallisers - Trollope is providing me with a feast which I am loving.
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