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Steven

EdinburghUnited Kingdom
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2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-10-16

A narration that subtracts rather than adds

Paul Boehmer reads from the American edition of this book and, for those like me who are listening to his narration and following the text simultaneously, there are enough changes of words and sentence structure to become a distracting annoyance. The idiosyncrasy of his pronunciation and pacing have been commented upon by others. It is deathly slow and I opted to use a x1:25 speed to get some momentum. Some of his misplaced words I can only imagine a reading errors as they make no sense in context. I found his reading lacked characterisation and did nothing to elucidate the intrigues of the plot. I will try the sequel without him in the hope that I find it more engaging.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-08-16

Fascinating book, woeful narration

Adam Nicolson is, by his own admission, a latecomer to appreciating Homer and in this book he writes with characteristic thoughtfulness and insight about how his awakening to the Iliad and the Odyssey have contributed to his understanding of himself and of the meaning of human life. It is a persuasive and at times provocative case, stripped of sentimentalism and illuminated with moments of harrowing autobiography. His language is as visceral and vibrant as the poems themselves. As an audiobook, however, it is let down by the narration which I found rather hurried and breathless. Worst of all was Dugald Bruce Lockhart's pronunciation and misplaced stresses of proper nouns, not only of the classical characters and places, but more generally. To pronounce Titian 'tight-ee-an' for example is just nonsense and the less said about his attempt at Srebrenica the better! The 9hrs were littered with such stumblings, enough to become an annoying distraction from what is a work of compelling erudition.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 25-08-16

Faulty product

Joseph Conrad's darkly humorous fictionalisation of a real-life attempt to blow up the Greenwich Observatory is a classic and excellently narrated by David Threlfall. Unfortunately the product itself was faulty, with chapter 4 missing and playing chapter 13 in its place. Audible admitted the fault and refunded my credit without any quibbling. I'm therefore surprised to find that the book hasn't been withdrawn from sale as I was assured that I would be alerted once the fault was corrected.

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44 of 46 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-01-10

High drama but more of it please

Dune is a book of high tension, filled with treachery, suspicion and dangerous characters with dark motives. The early scenes of this audiobook are dramatised and they capture the mood expertly. This is edge-of-the-seat stuff and makes for compelling listening. I could feel the 'gom jabar' at my own neck as my hands went all clammy! What a pity the dramatisation lessens, giving way to straight narration as the book progresses. It is read very well throughout but it could have been so much more gripping if the full cast had been retained. Another annoying gripe, common to so many audiobooks. Why can't the audio 'chapters' correspond with those in the book instead of ending randomly mid paragraph? It makes navigating a long book unnecessarily difficult.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 18-01-10

Caution: check you have the right version

Published posthumously and suffering at the hands of an unsympathetic editor, Titus Alone disappointed many readers and baffled critics at the time of its release. It has since been polished and expanded with reference to Mervyn Peake's manuscript notebooks in an attempt to re-create the author's intentions at a time of failing health (though not flagging creativity). The revisions, which include the insertion of whole new chapters, clarify some of the obscurities of the original and make greater play of the nightmarish references to factories, machines and scientists. Although still by no means an easy read, the revised version has a greater logic and cohesion. Unfortunately, although Robert Whitfield concludes his Gormenghast series with the same excellent standard of reading and characterisation of the previous two volumes, he reads from the original version. Therefore, if you are using book and recording together, take care your versions match or, like me, you will find yourself leafing backwards and forwards in vain for the missing sections.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful