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Changes a close family experience moving from comfortable,rural living to a raw, unfamiliar,industrial hardship. Rather long winded but one feels the realities of the move from the rural South to the manufacturing, industrial North. Likeable characters and brilliantly read by Clare Wille.
I am SO GLAD I bought this book and experienced it through audio! I love the movie and so almost didn't bother, thinking I'd experienced it adequately - was I wrong! The book is SO much clearer and livelier!! And the narrator is absolutely stunning! Her voices and accents are amazing - she pegs the Northern British accent versus the Southern just perfectly as well as the working class versus the educated class at that time in Great Britain. Truly, her reading captivated me! I was lost in it and really felt sad when it was over!! If you're contemplating buying, contemplate no longer! It is worth every penny and so, so much more! Enjoy!
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
Clare Wille is excellent. This is my first book she's narrated, but I will definitely purchase her again. I don't know why so many classics get read by bad narrators, but they do. I spend too much of my classics reading time trying to tune out narrators, but Wille is able to capture the characters, including (at least to my untrained ear) all the variations in accent attributable to class and regional differences. She moves the story along, but doesn't overwhelm it, which is all I ask of a narrator.
I focus on the narrator some, in part, because North and South is so obviously wonderful. It is my personal favorite of Gaskell's works. Not only is there a sweet and wonderful romance with characters who are real and flawed and therefore more appealing than some of her other flawless heroes and heroines, but she captures in this work a society in change. The intense struggles that form the background of the work are mesmerizing. There is the struggle between older ideas of good society- landed gentry who show merciful condesention to the people beneath them- and the rising power of industry, which brings with it people who may not have the advantages of birth or breeding but who, through labor and intellect, use their influence to shape their world. She also captures the struggle between the masters and the men, their interdependant and yet oppositional relationship, as well as touching on the problems in the Church of England, from which Mr. Hale becomes a Dissenter.
All of these various facets come together in an amazingly honest account of the terrible tragedies and wonderful triumphs of each system. It is masterfully written and beautifully read.
If I were to have any criticism, it would be that things happen to fall together in an extremely fortuitous and unlikely way. That doesn't really bother me though. It's well done enough that you don't care how it workd out, only that it does.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful