The Children of Men

Narrated by: David Case
Length: 9 hrs and 34 mins
3.8 out of 5 stars (311 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Children of Men begins in England in 2021, in a world where all human males have become sterile and no child will be born again. The final generation has turned 25, and civilization is giving way to strange faiths and cruelties, mass suicides and despair. Theodore Faron, Oxford historian and cousin to the omnipotent Warden of England, a dictator of great subtlety, has resigned himself to apathy. Then he meets Julian, a bright, attractive woman, who wants Theo to join her circle of unlikely revolutionaries, a move that may shatter his shell of passivity... And maybe, just maybe, hold the key to survival for the human race.

©1993 P.D. James (P)2012 Random House

Critic Reviews

“Extraordinary … daring … frightening in its implications.”(The New York Times)

“She writes like an angel. Every character is closely drawn. Her atmosphere is unerringly, chillingly convincing. And she manages all this without for a moment slowing down the drive and tension of an exciting mystery.” ( The Times (UK))

What listeners say about The Children of Men

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Needs another narrator

I must agree with other reviewers that the narration could be better. I was too aware of his breathing, pauses and well, him. It's like going to see a play and you're seated where you can see the backstage so well it distracts from time to time from the play.
I saw the movie before listening to the book, so another distraction was the mental comparisons between the movie and the book. The ex-wife plays less of a role than she did in the movie, the government structure becomes more prominent, and the environment gets more rural than urban. Yet, as always the book is far better than the movie.
Another, and this could be annoying, distraction was how the author wrote the book with two voices. One is in the first person of Theo as he fills his diary. The other is written in the third person. At times I had to ask myself and wonder if the book was in diary mode or not.
Though the main character is pretty much an atheist/agnostic the story is dripping with Christian themes and references. There are no perfect Christians in this story, everyone is broken in one way or another.
Overall it is an engaging book, despite the narration.

12 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator Nearly Ruins the Story

The Narrator is so unbelievably poor it makes the main character sort of annoying. Who speaks like this? Great story though, read the book for yourself and watch the movie for some awesome visuals to go with it.

16 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Don't do it.

What would have made The Children of Men better?

A different narrator; this was possibly the worst book recording I've ever listened to. The narration made it unbearable. The reading was, in parts, oddly timed and, at others, too pompous sounding for the storyline.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I couldn't listen for long enough to develop a favorite.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of David Case?

Patrick Stewart. or Michael Caine. or any actor with a less grating voice, but these are the two that came to mind.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I loved the story from the movie, and think the story of the book was far more detailed and nuanced. The narration just took so much from the story, and from Theo (the main character) that I couldn't hold on to the story. really quite sad, because I was very much looking forward to listening to this.

15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Perfect Narrator for a Brilliant Satire

I feel the complaints about David Case's narration are entirely unjustified (and no, I have no connection with him).

Theo, the main character, is an Oxford don and much of the first part of the novel is told from his first person perspective -- so it's only natural Case would adopt a hyper-educated, overly posh British accent. Sure, few people talk like this, but that's very much the point: few people are like Theo.

To an American ear (and I'm American) I can understand Case's voice might seem exaggerated and grating -- even to a British ear -- but the whole novel is an exaggeration: it's satire, after all. Listened to with this in mind, the narration clicks right into place.

Case manages the wide variety of characters with such skill it's hard to believe it's always just the one person narrating. The women's voices are particularly remarkable: Julian's insipidity, Miriam's core strength, Harriet Marwood's brittle authority.

If you forget the negative reviews and give Case a chance, his telling of Jame's serrated satire will very likely cut you some good chuckles.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Narrator

I enjoyed the story however, personally I will avoid future audios by this Narrator. There was never any real emotion in his voice. Worse was the long silenced and sudden pause between sentences causing several times for me to reach for my phone thinking the audio app had stopped working.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A must read

If you could sum up The Children of Men in three words, what would they be?

I was originally asked to read this for my college English class. I found that thoroughly enjoyed it and have recommended it to friends and family. One of those books that make you wonder if it could really happen.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Julian is my favorite. She's strong, intelligent, knows what she wants and is not afraid to go for it.

Which scene was your favorite?

The final scene with Julian and Theo in the cabin in the woods.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It definitely made me cry.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Takes awhile to get going, but engrossing

It's slow going at first, and if you're expecting the story from movie you'll be disappointed. but once you get into it you won't be able to put it down. I could listen to that narrator read the phone book and be enthralled.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not the movie

It has been a while, but I really liked the 2006 movie version of The Children of Men with Clive Owen. I picked up the audiobook of Children of Men recently because I had read two of PD James’ mysteries and wanted to see her approach to a dystopian scifi thriller might be different. Other than the broadest outlines, the book and the movie are very different. I am not really going to compare them (because it has been too long since I have watched the movie), but I will note a few things. The main character, Theo Faron in the book is a 50 something academic. He is the cousin of the dictator and a former informal advisor. The book is set in a dystopian UK. For an unknown reason, there have not been any children born for nearly 20 years anywhere in the world. The UK, because of its governmental system and relative wealth is broadly comfortable, but the population is aging and there is a broad hopelessness. Foreigners are uses as servants that are little better than slaves. The shrinking population (both because of natural aging and large numbers of suicides) is being moved toward population centers. Theo is lonely, self centered, but comfortable. He is haunted by his life outside of the dystopian world. He accidentally killed his 18 month old child in a car accident. His already shaky marriage continued on until just a year before the book is set, but was essentially over from the point of the accident. As an academic (19th Century literature and history) Theo is not particularly necessary in the world. He teaches adults. But his field is not essential. Much of the power of the book is the dull hopelessness and the unrelenting introspection of Theo. The characters are believable. Flawed, but reasonably flawed. Throughout the book the ethical pressure, the moral reasoning, and the theological conversation brings weight to what could be a light dystopian thriller. I was not particularly thrilled with the ending. But it was reasonably satisfying. The point of the book is not the end, but the process. What would you be prepared to do if you had the weight of the world. If the world was ending, how important is stability to that ending, even if there are brutal aspects of the stability. How important is comfort? Where can God be found in a dystopian tragedy? I will try to watch the movie again soon. It is streaming on Amazon Prime for free.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Great Idea... but underwhelming

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I still haven't decided if this was well spent or not. I wanted to finish it but now have been left wondering if it was worth it. Almost like the ending of a movie is a wedding... that's it kind of a feeling.

What was most disappointing about P.D. James’s story?

The pace of this was just off. In the beginning there wasn't much to capture the attention and then all of a sudden you were at the end.

What about David Case’s performance did you like?

I read other reviews about how he was annoying but I think that is what PD James was going for for the main character. He did other voices well.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

very slow and narrator is not good

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

If you like being pulled into an interesting world and aren't too hung up on where the story is going, you may like this book better than I did.

Would you ever listen to anything by P.D. James again?

Hmm...unlikely. Unless a trusted friend told me it was REALLY good and it had a different narrator.

What didn’t you like about David Case’s performance?

Let me make a list.

1 - He sounds dismissive, snotty & elitist
2 - He tries to do accents and different voices for people and they are just terrible. One guy just sounds like he's dying.
3 - It's clearly an old recording that needs to be redone. It's fuzzy and you can hear him stop to take sips of water, and whatnot.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I found it to be an interesting idea but I was a little disappointed by the execution. I felt like this was not even close to how people would react in this situation, plus a LOT of nothing happened in this book. A LOT.

Any additional comments?

I read this as part of a book club and a lot of the ladies liked it better than me, so...that's something!

1 person found this helpful