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S. M. Buck

Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
  • 5
  • reviews
  • 42
  • helpful votes
  • 14
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  • The Bloody Chamber

  • By: Angela Carter
  • Narrated by: Richard Armitage, Emilia Fox
  • Length: 7 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 574
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 531
  • Story
    3.5 out of 5 stars 530

A collection of short stories, The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories was first published in 1979 and awarded the Cheltenham Festival Literary Prize. This Audible exclusive adaptation is narrated by legendary actors, Richard Armitage and Emilia Fox, who take on different chapters of the audiobook. Among these are 'The Bloody Chamber', 'The Courtship of Mr Lyon', 'The Tiger's Bride', 'Puss in Boots', 'The Erl-King', 'The Snow Child', 'The Lady of the House of Love', 'The Werewolf' and 'Wolf-Alice'.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fairy tales by Angela Carter

  • By Elizabeth P. Fowler on 03-20-18

Unnerving Start, Satisfying Finish

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-08-18

The first of these stories crossed a line I didn't quite like. Bluebeard's chamber, in Angela Carter's world, is removed of mystery and overflowing with gore. The end of this chapter, though, was so excellent, and so incongruously amusing, that against my earlier judgment I continued with chapter two.

What followed was a plunge into chill and heat by turns. The writing is so intense throughout the book, that I could smell the earth of the Erl King's den, hear the congregation chant as the widowed groom prepares his silver bullet, and see the pool of blood in the forest snow.

After the truly grim first story, with its mix of musky sex and metallic brutality, my enjoyment of this collection was unalloyed. It's beautifully balanced between suspense and certainty, and fully delivers on the promise of all short stories to twist the ending into a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

As if all that were not enough for one audiobook, Emilia Fox and Richard Armitage provide flawless narration and perfect pacing.

One note...these were published in 1979: do any other readers recognize what might well have been the original Thirteen Tales of Change and Desperation?

32 of 36 people found this review helpful

  • Oliver Twist

  • By: Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Peter Batchelor
  • Length: 14 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 583
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 533
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 532

Born to an unmarried woman who dies after giving birth, orphan Oliver Twist seems destined to slog through a dismal life in the workhouse. A rebellious cry for more gets Oliver banished, and ultimately lands him on the dismal streets of London. The young outcast finds refuge with Fagin and his band of thieves before fate intervenes and puts Oliver in the hands of a kindly benefactor. It is likely that Dickens's own early youth as a child labourer contributed to the story's development.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Excellent narration!

  • By Joselo on 08-19-13

Charles Suffers a Miscarriage of Narration

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-30-18

I wanted to like this. But Peter Batchelor's outrages upon the intent and artistry of Charles Dickens were merciless and complete.

First, he reads so fast that you'll have to slow the playback speed down to .85 or so. Even then, you'll notice that the narrator barely pauses for punctuation--for this narrator, a period indicates "take a breath real quick and carry on". His tone is bland and perfunctory, at times approaching the sing-song.

Second, he misreads words. Once he says "apocethary" for apothecary. Once he says "palm singers" for psalm singers. And once, unforgivably, "Olivia" for Oliver.

The narrator reads every line of Oliver's in a breathy, victimized whisper. (Not entirely his fault, since this character is, in fact, breathy and victimized right off of the page.) Nearly every single character is relentlessly shrill and grating, except one or two--notably Brownlow and Bumble.

In my opinion, though I'm not an expert on English accents or slang in the 19th century, he also gets the lower class London accent all wrong.

As a last proof of the overall sloppiness of this recording, the last half of Chapter VII is missing altogether. Olivia (see? weird.) is shut in a dark room by the Sowerberrys, the chapter immediately closes, and Chapter VIII opens with our hero on the moonlit road out of the village. Almost 800 words, including Oliver's parting blessing by Dick the orphan, are just not there.

I'll be requesting an exchange on this one.

  • Pride and Prejudice

  • By: Jane Austen
  • Narrated by: Rosamund Pike
  • Length: 11 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 12,777
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 11,662
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars 11,611

One of Jane Austen’s most beloved works, Pride and Prejudice, is vividly brought to life by Academy Award nominee Rosamund Pike ( Gone Girl). In her bright and energetic performance of this British classic, she expertly captures Austen’s signature wit and tone. Her attention to detail, her literary background, and her performance in the 2005 feature film version of the novel provide the perfect foundation from which to convey the story of Elizabeth Bennett, her four sisters, and the inimitable Mr. Darcy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A Truth Universally Acknowledged

  • By Gretchen SLP on 12-10-15

Narrate in Haste, Repent at Leisure

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-24-18

Pride and Prejudice needs no introduction, so I'll just add a quick note about the narrator. Rosamund Pike's voice is lovely, but she sometimes rushes dialogue so much that words are slurred. I notice this especially when she is reading a male character's line. The sample doesn't reveal this, but as one gets further into the book it becomes obvious and annoying.

  • Daniel Deronda

  • By: George Eliot
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 36 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 245
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 230
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 229

Meeting by chance at a gambling hall in Europe, the separate lives of Daniel Deronda and Gwendolen Harleth are immediately intertwined. Daniel, an Englishman of uncertain parentage, becomes Gwendolyn's redeemer as she finds herself drawn to his spiritual and altruistic nature after a loveless marriage. But Daniel's path was already set when he rescued a young Jewess from suicide.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Give it a try!

  • By Tucker LaPrade on 01-30-16

Thank God that's over.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-19-17

George Eliot is wonderful, and Juliet Stevenson is superb, but this novel really is the most preachy, self-righteous thing that ever taxed my perseverance. And I know she meant it to be positive to Jews (read up on the terrible conditions of Jews in England in the 18th and 19th centuries) but George was a product of her time and so some of her observations, naturally, reek of anti-Semitism in and of themselves.

The reader Juliet Stevenson, Grandcourt's first conversation with Gwendolyn, and my love for Middlemarch were the only reasons I kept listening.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Jane Eyre

  • By: Charlotte Bronte
  • Narrated by: Thandie Newton
  • Length: 19 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars 5,763
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 5,364
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 5,351

Following Jane from her childhood as an orphan in Northern England through her experience as a governess at Thornfield Hall, Charlotte Brontë's Gothic classic is an early exploration of women's independence in the mid-19th century and the pervasive societal challenges women had to endure. At Thornfield, Jane meets the complex and mysterious Mr. Rochester, with whom she shares a complicated relationship that ultimately forces her to reconcile the conflicting passions of romantic love and religious piety.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfect!!

  • By Amazon Customer on 04-21-16

The Goods (and Bads) on Thandie Newton's JE

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-14-16

Thandie Newton's narration can be quite dexterous -- sometimes inspired. (Why, when reading, did I never hear a smile or a laugh in Jane's voice before?! it's obvious now.) Unfortunately it also has moments of fumbling missteps.

Another reviewer has noted that her Edward Rochester is "growly" -- I would rather call it "moany". I wish too that her St John Rivers was more decisive. In fact both these characters have almost the same voice and tone, which was disappointing. I didn't feel that she understood either of them very well.

One more note of criticism is that Ms Newton sometimes mixes up her voices. This was apparent throughout the dialogue during Mr Rochester's rather diabolical house party for the torture of both Jane and Blanche Ingram.

I did have to slow down the playback speed a little bit, as I felt the reading was slightly too fast.

Frequent readers of Jane Eyre may be charmed and interested, as I was, by the lines of double-entendre on the part of Mr Rochester. It is MUCH more obvious than in print! And Ms Newton's Jane is more knowing and clever than one would expect. Very entertaining!