An old mansion in Salem, moss-covered and gabled, broods over the destiny of a distinguished but troubled New England Family, the Pynchons. A haunting, centuries-old curse, a forceful probing of national and personal guilt, a romance between the young heroine and an attractive stranger all intertwine in this classic work by one of America's greatest novelists.
© and (P)1983 Jimcin Recordings
"[A] great romance, concerned with the decadence of Puritanism." (The Concise Oxford Companion to American Literature)
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I tired reading this but stopped because of the rather difficult syntax. However, the audio version made it much easier to understand since the reader did all the work. I thought she did a very good job.
"Read at last"
I've tried several times on my quest to read the "great books" to read The House of the Seven Gables but never made it through the first chapter. I found it a bit of a struggle to get through the first chapter of this audio version but, once I did that, the book "took off" and I throughly enjoyed it. The narrator did a very good job of a book that must not have been easy to record.
"Not enhanced by the narrator"
This is a good read. A rich, lush read as a matter of fact. Hawthorn's florid prose takes some time to get used to (Granted, English is not my native tongue) but it eventually grows on you. It actually is quite beautiful, and makes the slightest ginger cookie, rooster, or a tea cup look like a master piece. His characters are touching, and although they are imperfect, you'd want to meet them, share a piece of spice bread with them on a Sunday afternoon.
The problem I have with the audiobook is the narrator. She is SO monotonous in tonality and pace. She does enunciate with great accuracy, which as an ESL listener I appreciate enormously. But a little variety in tempo and a touch of pathos would not hurt the clarity of her narrative.
"Great for poor sleepers"
I love 19thC novels and this was one of the few I hadn't read yet so I looked forward to listening to it.
Unfortunately, I thought the boredom would kill me. The good thing is that the droning voice of the narrator worked a treat to put me to sleep night after night. After a couple of nights I had no idea what was going on but I got bored of skipping back to where I had [mentally] left off and just let it run through. I love most of the audio books I've bought but not this.
What is most tedious is that nothing, I mean nothing, happens in this long novel! There's a sort of revelation towards the end but by the time you get there you couldn't care less anyway.
Buy G. Eliot's Middlemarch instead. It's a real treat. Or anything narrated by Nadia May.
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