After the infuriating 1950's-British-film readings of Simon Vance, made worse by his not remembering from chapter to chapter what eccentric accent he has given the minor characters, and, in Dr Thorne, his giving Roger Scatcherd, born and bred in West Country Barchester, a northern accent (presumably because he is a railway contractor) we have the impeccable and absorbing reading of Timothy West. Double three cheers, can we have the rest, and can we also have his readings of the Palliser novels?
It's hard to explain just how good Timothy West's readings of Trollope are. The authorial voice is humane, wise, and various and overcomes Trollope's prosiness and repeated turns of phrase. The characters are all wonderfully done - lively and distinct without caricature. This is how audiobooks should be done - a reader who enhances the books rather than, as so many are, being an obstacle to be endured in order to get at the book behind. Bliss.
Timothy West and Trollope simply work. This series of the Barchester novels could compete for the title of Best Ever Audiobooks. The Last Chronicle is the darkest of the series, but Timothy West again brings a warm humanity to the voice of the author and a penetrating individuality to each of the characters without ever falling into exaggeration or caricature, that makes you want to listen to the end (and it's a long book).
Now that we've got to the end of Barchester please can we have the Pallisers and The Way We Live Now?