If Oscars were awarded for audio-book narrations, Juliet Stephenson would surely be in the front line to win several for her multiple performances in Middlemarch. This inordinately long book is made to feel considerably shorter by her fine portrayals, giving each separate character his or her own distinctive voice.
The listening of this interminably long book is eased by Dicken’s fine prose and Sean Barrett’s superb performance (rather than mere narration) making it impossible for me to give anything under a 5 star rating. It is also very interesting historically and rather chilling, to compare these riots which occurred in 1780 with those of 2011 and find that there is virtually no difference in the mindless rule of the mob.
Elizabeth Gaskell?s excellent 3-dimensional characters (Mr. Bradshaw, whose inflexible adherence to his interpretation of the bible make him tragically mistaken in his belief that he is good whilst his actions make him cruel and heartless; Mr. Benson, who believes, erroneously ? also because of rigid Victorian religious views ? that he is evil, whilst in reality he is charitable and Christ-like in his attitude to ?sin?) give a true insight into Victorian society.
Apart from some seemingly endless ramblings in sections of Ruth, in the main, it is a thoughtful, skilfully structured novel which gives a vivid portrayal of how it was to live in Victorian times.
Eve Matheson is quite brilliant in her narration and portrayals of all the characters. I highly recommend this audiobook.