I was put off CD because I imagined the stories would be dull and difficult. I was wrong. At least so far, NN is my first but it will not be the last.
To my slight shame, I had no idea that Dickens was so funny - and also so moving in so much of his writing. This tale, which is long and populated by dozens of amazing characters, is not, despite that, complex, it just slowly unfurls.
Pathos, even tragedy do take their parts, but the humour is always threaded through the story, often with pleasant little diversions away from the main plot simply, I assume, for the enjoyment of the writer and reader.
Alex Jennings is one of my favourite readers. His voice is perfect when he's just reading but when he gives each character its own 'voice' it's very hard to imagine they are all being read by the same person. He brings out the life and the humour. Another reviewer said that he reads the twin brothers as a Tony Benn impression - it's true! I would like to add that he reads the Squeers family as various Les Dawson incarnations - hilarious.
If, as I was, you are a Charles Dickens virgin (and at my stage of life, I really had no excuse, Lord knows how I avoided it at school), I urge you to try this download and persist beyond the first 45 minutes or so, because after that, I believe you will be hooked.
At first I was distracted by the reader also being Linda Snell in The Archers. But she is a fantastic actress because although sometimes it is very Snell-like, for other characters, she uses new 'voices'. Excellent. I have no idea if the Essex accent she uses a lot is any good, I imagine Essex to sound more London but maybe in the 1930s it didn't...
The story is utter tosh, which is just what I wanted. Loads of fun, hints of pathos, sly in places and generally a very happy download.
I love WSM and read all his books, plays and short stories in my teens and 20s. Now and again, I am reliving these by re-reading (or listening to) some of the books. Ideally I'd be able to listen to an unabridged version of 'Of Human Bondage' but cannot find one, at least not on audible.
I had just finished (and loved) The Goldfinch, so I needed a change of pace. I certainly got that!
The Merry Go Round is a series of overlapping and extended short stories. The central character doesn't really have a big part to play, but she is the focus for the other players as she is involved with, or knows, them all. So we go off for while and get engrossed in the story of two or three characters; then this story is 'parked' and we set off with another set of people before coming back to the old story line. This worked very well for me.
The thing with WSM is the clearly defined sense of time and place. This book is of its era, its class and its social standards. So you do have to be in the mood for a time-piece, and get yourself in the mindset of the author and the characters you will meet. It's snobbish, even prudish, perhaps, by today's standards. But the charm lies in the way he evokes that era.
The narration is good. Some of the voices assumed are a bit annoying - but then, this seemed to go with annoying characters of which there are several...!
Very much enjoyed my fairly short excursion into Edwardian London society.