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David

REDDITCH, Worcs, United Kingdom
  • 5
  • reviews
  • 29
  • helpful votes
  • 10
  • ratings
  • Star of the Sea

  • By: Joseph O'Connor
  • Narrated by: John Kavanagh
  • Length: 6 hrs and 40 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    3.5 out of 5 stars 23
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 6
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6

In the bitter winter of 1847, from an Ireland torn by injustice and natural disaster, the Star of the Sea sets sail for New York. On board are hundreds of fleeing refugees, some brimming with optimism, many more desperate. Among them are a maidservant with a devastating secret, bankrupt Lord Merridith and his wife and children, an aspiring novelist, and a maker of revolutionary ballads, all braving the Atlantic in search of a new home.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fabulous! A truly exceptional audio book!

  • By Peter on 16-02-06

Not a bundle of joy!

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-04-11

Thoroughly enjoyed this when I read it for myself. Somehow, the move to audio is less successful: just a thoroughly depressing, miserable story. For some reason, there is phoney Irish music scattered throughout, which adds nothing to my mind, and I felt that the narrator struggled with some of the accents - particularly the American ones which wandered all over the place.
It's a grim tale of the lasting effects of colonisation of various kinds - the British in Ireland, religious colonisation of people's minds, men's colonisation of women - with little to redeem it. I think I've given it 3 stars simply for the recollection of actually enjoying the book when I read it, rather than the audio book.

  • I, Claudius

  • By: Robert Graves
  • Narrated by: Derek Jacobi
  • Length: 5 hrs and 8 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 92
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 91

The politics of empire-building and the hypocrisies, back-stabbings, and corruptions of Rome's first family come to light. First published in 1934, the book retains a marvelously modern and often comic tone, and is written in the form of Claudius' autobiography. This is gripping stuff, read by one of our finest actors, who also starred as Claudius in the classic television series.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Shame it's abridged.

  • By Mary Carnegie on 11-04-16

Somewhat unsatisfactory - but not dreadful!

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-04-11

I came to this recording with high expectations. Derek Jacobi - I Claudius - sounds good! Jacobi narrates well, conveying Claudius' stutter exceptionally well at the appropriate moment. The main problem I had was keeping track of all the characters! I found that - as a story to listen to whilst driving - my mind wandered too easily, and when I came back to it, I couldn't work out who was related to whom and what connection they had to the overall story. This got better the longer I listened, and there are some useful recaps during the unfolding of the tale: but nevertheless, I was left feeling rather disappointed. Having just listened to Robert Harris' 'Lustrum' - also a tale set in Rome amidst cruetly and duplicity - I felt this suffered by comparison. But not a total write off! Perhaps worth a relisten at some future date.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • My Cousin Rachel: Film Tie-In Edition

  • By: Daphne du Maurier
  • Narrated by: Jonathan Pryce, Roger Michell
  • Length: 12 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 976
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 813
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 812

Ambrose Ashley, Philip's cousin, guardian, and god, married Rachel in Italy and died there. Jealous of his marriage and grief-stricken by his death, Philip prepares to meet his cousin's widow with hatred in his heart.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Intriguing, atmospheric mystery

  • By S. Dempsey on 23-06-13

Rachel - my torment!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-03-10

What a brilliant listen! It did take me a while to get into this: Jonathan Pryce's style may not be to everyone's liking, but it grew on me. Du Maurier weaves a twisting tale of intrigue - such that you are constantly switiching allegiances between Rachel and the narrator. Who is the mad person? At one moment you're sure it's her - the next, it's obviously him! There is a strong seam of feminist thinking here. Listen carefully as Du Maurier describes the differences between men and women in the stereotypical language of her days: women are seen as emotional, lacking in stability etc; - this plays directly into the narrators assessment of Rachel and is something to keep in mind as you assess his judgment of who Rachel is and what she has done to Cousin Ambrose!!
Enjoy. Recommended

25 of 27 people found this review helpful

  • The Swimming Pool Library

  • By: Alan Hollinghurst
  • Narrated by: Samuel West
  • Length: 12 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 160
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 107
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 108

This novel centres on the friendship of William Beckwith, a young gay aristocrat who leads a life of privilege and promiscuity, and the elderly Lord Nantwich, who is searching for someone to write his biography.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Gay lit. of the highest order

  • By common reader on 14-01-09

Carefully crafted tale of a bygone era

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-03-10

Alan Hollinghurst used words like a craftsman: each is chosen for just the right purpose. I had to use my dictionary while listening several times! Although the story is quite spicy and racy (not for those easily shocked by graphic descriptions of gay sex) it is so well written that you are drawn along effortlessly, even when the scene being described is so brutal and devoid of human connection that it repels as much as it excites. Sam West narrates brilliantly: how he manages the different voices with such consistency is amazing and a testament to the skill of true actors. There are - perhaps - few characters with whom one totally sympathises or identifies (James, the doctor was the nearest I could manage). Nevertheless, there is a kind of appalling honesty about Hollinghurst's writing: he presents a version of gay/male sexuality in all it tawdry directness. Recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Brooklyn cover art
  • Brooklyn

  • By: Colm Toibin
  • Narrated by: Niamh Cusack
  • Length: 8 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 92
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 17

From the twice Booker-shortlisted author of The Blackwater Lightship and The Master comes a novel of devastating emotional power.

It is the early 1950s in the south-east of Ireland. Eilis Lacey is one among many of her generation who cannot find work at home. When a job is offered in America, it is clear to everyone that she must go. Leaving her family and country, Eilis heads for unfamiliar Brooklyn.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • An infuriating tale of a life lived for others.

  • By David on 27-03-10

An infuriating tale of a life lived for others.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-03-10

'Brooklyn' is written in a deceptively simple style which conceals hidden psychological depths. It is the story of a woman whose life is not her own, apart from one short moment, and who - it seems - fails in the search for the courage to break free and become her own person.
Beautifully narrated by Niamh Cussack - who manages most of the accents with believable accuracy - this is a recording I will come back to again. There are some well-drawn characters: Nelly Kelly at the grocers store for one!! and Father Flood... and 'Mother'...
Recommended. Enjoy

2 of 2 people found this review helpful