An authentic, gothic reimagining of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, told from the villain' s perspective, that takes listeners deep into the seedy side of Victorian London and explores the nature of personality and of the subconscious. Mr. Hyde is trapped in Dr. Jekyll' s surgical cabinet, counting the days until he will face capture and be forced to make the ultimate choice about survival. Over the course of four days, he thinks back on what brought him to this moment, and he finally has the chance to tell the story of his brief but marvelous life. In liberating Mr. Hyde from the omniscient perspective of the original story, the author takes us inside the mind Hyde shares with Jekyll as he awakens after many years of dormancy, wide-eyed at being able to explore the world on his own. We feel the potions take effect. We tromp through the streets of London, drink gin in seedy pubs, we visit doll shops and menace the men who take advantage of the women there, and we attempt to rescue lost girls. We feel the strange distance of watching Jekyll' s high-class life through a membrane of consciousness. And then we feel the helplessness of someone being framed for serious crimes. The evidence all points to Hyde. Even if he didn' t intend to commit these crimes, is it possible that they have been perpetrated, without his knowledge, by his own hand?
This is, as most reviews have said, a fascinating new take on an old favorite: Jekyll and Hyde from the perspective of a monster who becomes far less monstrous in the telling. He's no angel, either, but neither is Dr. Jekyll. It is a complex and inventive story, crafted in rich Victorian detail--a masterpiece of descriptive writing made better by the narration of John Curless, who seems to savor every word. It's another example of my favorite combination: an excellent book made even better in audio form.
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It helps if you've read Robert Louis Stevenson's original story - but if you haven't, don't worry! This audiobook has the original story included, after "Hyde." There's been a trend lately to tell classic horror tales from the monsters' point of view, but this rises above the pack by attempting to give a bit more verisimilitude to the story. It also draws in an historical scandal that occurred in London around that time - I won't spoil it for you except by saying that it wasn't what I expected at all - and that was a pleasant surprise.
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