Daniel Deronda, George Eliot's final novel, is a remarkable work, encompassing themes of religion, imperialism and gender within its broad and fascinating scope.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By D. Cottam on 21-10-15
The perfect long audiobook
This classic novel takes a long time to unfold and requires great reading stamina but Juliet Stevenson creates an immersive experience with her perfectly nuanced reading and nearly 40 hours of imaginative delight have been delivered. It is impossible to praise the reading highly enough. The romantic entanglements and class consciousness are wittily observed. Nothing goes unnoticed by Eliot's sharp satirical eye. The haughty provincial dowagers and snobs are skewered hilariously. George Eliot explores areas of esoteric Hebrew scholarship which are exotic and strange to the modern reader but the subtlety and depth of her characters and her penetrating insights into human behaviour make it an extraordinary book. The prose and poetry of the writing is perfectly cadenced and arresting sentences keep occurring, sometimes needing to be heard twice. I don't think reading the book would have given the emotional rewards of listening to this extraordinary narration.
I was especially struck by the reunion of Deronda , in Genoa, with the mother who abandoned him as a child. She is an astonishingly vivid character who must have shocked Victorian readers. She counterbalances the Zionism of Ezra and Klessmer the musician represents the urbane non religious Jew whose status is defined more by art than race.
This book articulates the yearnings of european Jews as a stateless people and it is remarkable that it was written by a non Jewish British woman.
I preferred the romantic tale to the religious visionary aspects but the novel is a monumental achievement. Strangely, to me, Daniel Deronda is not the most vividly drawn character in the book.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
By w on 07-04-16
Surprising and Challenging
Would you listen to Daniel Deronda again? Why?
I would , but perhaps many years in the future. There is a lot to take in and ponder, so would be good to revisit it one day
What was one of the most memorable moments of Daniel Deronda?
When Daniel finds out the truth about his birth parents and travels to Genoa to meet his birth mother for the first time before she dies.
Which character – as performed by Juliet Stevenson – was your favourite?
Hans was a great character and it must have been a challenge for Juliet to portray his many facets of personality. I can really empathise with him and it's probably true to say that,even today, most of us know or have known a 'Hans'. He is poignant in his attempts to try and cover up his pain and tender feelings with false levity. He is charming and erudite, a free thinker, a fish out of water, perplexing and unpredictable. A childlike sweetness,but very clever and deep nature. Misunderstood and much loved by his mother and sisters. I really liked him.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Oh yes, but too much to take in. It merits a slow listen.
Any additional comments?
What an amazing subject matter for George Elliot to decide to write about. The history of the Jewish people and the prejudice that they encountered at the time of her writing, was both fascinating and shocking. I now most definitely need to research why this was a subject she wished to tackle. I am certainly glad that she did!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Tucker LaPrade on 30-01-16
Give it a try!
After listening to Juliet Stevenson read Middlemarch, I was longing for something more from both Eliot and Stevenson. Happily, I found this novel. The story itself is not quite as tidy as Middlemarch, but that might make me like it all the more.
I hope miss Stevenson will find it in her heart to read "Mill on the Floss" next. For myself and countless others, she has provided a new window into the classics.
17 of 18 people found this review helpful
By Twotenths on 17-11-15
Juliet Stevenson is amazing
What did you love best about Daniel Deronda?
I love Middlemarch and this story has same wit and many of the same themes. Plus Juliet Stevenson is an amazing reader; I have listened to many books just because she reads them. I feel grateful that she does this work!
11 of 12 people found this review helpful