When England's eccentric Larkin family decides to visit Brittany for a summer holiday, the dissimilarity between British and French culture offers opportunities for hilarity. As narrator, Philip Franks has a friendly, upbeat tone and keeps a steady pace throughout the audiobook. His rendering of the dialogue is where his talents especially shine. Franks provides suitable... Read More
Invited by her late father's half sister for a long visit, unsuspecting Kate Malvern arrives at the estate of Staplewood and swiftly becomes entangled in a lurid and dangerous plot. Narrator Jilly Bond creates multiple distinct characters within the large cast, all with discernible classes and personalities. Lady Broome is voiced in an appropriate contralto while Mr. Nidd's... Read More
There have been many audio versions of this classic novel, but it's hard to imagine a better one than Nick Sandys's. His pacing is gripping, his skill with accents and voices impressive, and he is respectful of the text, of what it's trying to do, and what it succeeds at so well after all these years. Bram Stoker's style is sentimental and hyperbolic by current standards, and... Read More
Mid-nineteenth-century poet and translator Baudelaire is one of the great progenitors of modern poetry. Jonathan Keeble's excellent narration reminds us just how radical this work was and why parts of it were banned in France as late as 1949. Keeble restrains some of the passionate excesses that are part of Baudelaire's radicalism, preserving the contrasts that let the heights... Read More
If David Shaw-Parker isn't the most subtly funny Duke of Omnium ever, let's give up. The Duke's self-important basso as he courts Madame Max seems to come out of his shoes, and it's an amazing surprise, because by the time Omnium really enters the story, Shaw-Parker has created so many varied characters and voices that you can't imagine he's still got a trick you haven't heard.... Read More
Narrator Donada Peters gives a sense of immediacy to this classic 1850s novel featuring Hester Prynne, an unmarried young mother who must wear an embroidered scarlet "A," denoting her commission of adultery. Peters's portrayals of the matrons who wait outside the jail for Hester's appearance set the tone for 1642 Boston--a place of cruel judgments, whispery gossip, and... Read More
Those fortunate enough never to have been required to read Eliot's classic in high school will find delight in choosing voluntarily to immerse themselves in this performance by Derek Perkins. He brings out Eliot's wit and compassion, as well as the psychological acuity that led Trollope to call her "the first of English novelists" of her day. The story takes place mostly in... Read More
Henry James's novella tells the story of a governess whose two young wards are visited by sinister ghosts--or are they? Here is one of literature's original unreliable narrators. Written as a framed story, the audiobook has two narrators. Simon Prebble reads for an unnamed Christmas Eve party guest, and, although his part is relatively brief, he draws out initial anticipation... Read More
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