Retail pak Penguin Audiobooks 1998
CS ISBN 014086699X $16.95 Two cassettes
The Penguin paperback of Balzac's Cousin Bette runs 444 densely printed pages, so a three-hour abridgment can hardly be more than a shadow of the original. Claire Bloom's reading is stately and self-assured, as are the main characters in this novel of lust, greed and revenge in nineteenth-century Paris. But the version she reads is so heavily edited that it lacks any continuity or narrative flow. Scenes are often a few brief sentences, and Bloom barely pauses between them. The result leaves the listener disoriented and, unless he or she is well acquainted with the novel, largely unable to follow the complexity of the plot. D.B. ©AudioFile, Portland, Maine [Published: OCT/NOV 98]
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