'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times'; so the recording begins and ends with some of Dickens' best-known words, and between those lines is every Briton's view of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.
Set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution, the audiobook tells the story of a French doctor who is imprisoned for 18 years in the Bastille in Paris. Upon his release, he moves to London with his daughter, Lucie, whom he had never met. She marries but there is conflict between her husband and the people who decades earlier caused her father's imprisonment.
Set against the backdrop of the conditions that led up to the French Revolution, it depicts the plight of the French peasantry demoralised by the French aristocracy and the brutality demonstrated by the revolutionaries during the Reign of Terror, towards the former aristocrats.
Dickens was one of eight children from a very poor family, with his father eventually being sent to debtor's prison. Dickens began work at the age of 12 to help clear the family debt. It was this troublesome childhood that provided him with much of the material for his novels and lent him a sympathetic voice for the poor.
Martin Jarvis is one of Britain's most admired actors. His audiobook output is legendary. He is described in Vanity Fair as 'the Olivier of audiobooks' and 'genius of the Spoken Word' in the LA Times. Award-winning recordings range from titles by Charles Dickens, P.G. Wodehouse and Michael Frayn to thrillers by Jeffrey Archer, Wilbur Smith, Ian Fleming and Dick Francis.
He has starred in many acclaimed West End and National Theatre productions and received the Theatre World Award as Jeeves on Broadway. Numerous UK television appearances encompass Law & Order, Doctor Who, Endeavour, Inspector Morse and The Forsyte Saga. In America: Murder She Wrote, Numb3rs, Cosmos and Walker, Texas Ranger. Films include Titanic, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Wreck-It Ralph. Videogames: Alfred in Batman, Finn McMissile in Cars. Martin was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE).
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Mr David Newton on 17-11-07
The best of books, the best of readers
Possibly Dickens' greatest work, certainly English literatures greatest opening AND closing lines 'A Tale of Two Cities' may also be the incomparable Martin Jarvis's greatest reading.
His characterisation enhances the written text, bringing life to the already lively players in this masterpiece.
Possibly the best of the hundreds of auido books I have enjoyed.
24 of 24 people found this review helpful
By Jules on 15-05-08
A really enjoyable listen
Martin Jarvis does the Tale of Two Cities brilliantly. I never thought I'd find Dickens so compulsive and I've listened to this more than once. Highly recommended. If you don't think you are a Dickens fan - try this!
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By K. Hicks on 01-09-07
A Rediscovery of an Old Friend
My mother, an English teacher for many years, impressed a deep love for the classics upon me. Dickens remains a personal favorite as I love the depth of his characters, the movement of the action, and the timeliness of his stories.
Tale is a perfect example of Dickens' writing at its finest. Weaving an intricate story of family and friends embroiled in the French Revolution, the author leaves the listener on edge at the end of every chapter; one simply cannot hit the pause button but instead must know what happens next.
When I was in tenth grade (many more years ago than I care to admit), my class read this novel, and we actually read it aloud. Suffice it to say, the narrator of this version has much more talent than my classmates and me. :) The narrator absolutely brought this book to life. The character voices were outstanding (although the one for Lucy was a bit odd, but it worked OK). You could not only hear but feel the passion of the marvelous text.
I hope you enjoy this lovely version. I believe it's one you'll want to turn to again and again.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
By Cheimon on 02-11-08
This is an absolutely outstanding audiobook. The story is one of Dickens' most enthralling works, and Martin Jarvis' narration captures its essence with unmatched passion. Dickens' wit sparkles in Jarvis' voice as brightly as the darkness and helplessness loom heavily. The characters come to life in all their facets, keeping up with the lively narration. If you are looking for the right Dickens for entertainment, you can't go wrong with A Tale of Two Cities. And if you are looking for the right version of this masterpiece - you will enjoy this one tremendously.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful