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Karen

Oxfordshire
  • 9
  • reviews
  • 38
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  • 30
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  • Never Let Me Go

  • By: Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Narrated by: Kerry Fox
  • Length: 9 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 890
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 822
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 824

In one of the most acclaimed novels of recent years, Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now thirty-one, Never Let Me Go dramatizes her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Haunting and thought provoking

  • By Stephibobz on 08-09-15

Kerry Fox made this easy to listen to

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-05-15

Would you listen to Never Let Me Go again? Why?

No. Not because it wasn't a good book but because the subject is depressing and without much hope for the future.

What other book might you compare Never Let Me Go to, and why?

1984 because of the dystopian content and the control people have over others, a form of slavery really.

What about Kerry Fox’s performance did you like?

I thought her calm, modulated and slightly sad tone was fitting for the book. I wish there were more books narrated by her.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, because the combination of Kazuo Ishaguro's poignant writing and Kerry Fox's narration made it come together beautifully. I felt lulled into the story and wanted to find out what was behind it all.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The House of Mirth

  • By: Edith Wharton
  • Narrated by: Eleanor Bron
  • Length: 12 hrs and 35 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 109
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 75
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 75

Beautiful, sophisticated and endlessly ambitious Lily Bart endeavours to climb the social ladder of New York's elite by securing a good match and living beyond her means. Now nearing 30 years of age and having rejected several proposals, forever in the hope of finding someone better, her future prospects are threatened. A damning commentary of 20th-century social order, Edith Wharton's tale established her as one of the greatest British novelists of the 1900s.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Beautifully done.

  • By Philip on 26-06-13

Beautiful and sad

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-11-14

Would you consider the audio edition of The House of Mirth to be better than the print version?

Yes. I read this book many years ago as I love the writing of Edith Wharton, an intelligent and perceptive author, but I particularly loved this book so was happy for Eleanor Bron to read it to me again and I picked up on things I feel I missed when I read it all that time ago.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The House of Mirth?

When Lawrence Seldon offers Lily a different life than the one she is currently pursuing. I felt this was the turning point in the book.

What about Eleanor Bron’s performance did you like?

Her voice is beautifully modulated throughout with a soft American accent that felt right and never jarring.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes, it made me feel angry by the unkindness and jealousy of women towards other women and the hypocrisy of the wealthy society that existed at that time. However, how people are so ready to believe the worst of others without being in a position to judge still goes on today.

Any additional comments?

Because of the way Lily Bart was raised, she knew herself to be a beautiful woman and used that beauty to pursue marriage to a wealthy man, but riches were not enough to replace love. Pride can sometimes preclude us from taking the proper path.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Apple Tree Yard

  • By: Louise Doughty
  • Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
  • Length: 14 hrs
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 2,214
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,033
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2,026

Yvonne Carmichael has a high-flying career, a beautiful home and a good marriage. But when she meets a stranger she is drawn into a passionate affair. Keeping the two halves of her life separate seems easy at first. But she can’t control what happens next.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliant Recommendation!

  • By Mrs. Helen M. Herbert on 09-02-14

Not sure about this one

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 26-03-14

Would you try another book written by Louise Doughty or narrated by Juliet Stevenson?

Not written by Louise Doughty but have listened to and will continue to listen to books narrated by Juliet Stevenson.

If you’ve listened to books by Louise Doughty before, how does this one compare?

Not applicable.

What does Juliet Stevenson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

If I read the book I don't think I would have finished it, but Juliet Stevenson's voice is pleasant in the background while I'm preparing the evening dinner, which is how I always listen to my books. She reads books like she reads a script, I imagine. She reads with character.

Could you see Apple Tree Yard being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

I've no doubt that it will make it to the small screen eventually but because I couldn't sympathise with any of the characters, I wouldn't watch it.

Any additional comments?

I found the 'love story' implausible. It wasn't even an affair, just casual sex. It was certainly not what I would call a relationship. Was it meant to be erotic? If so, it left me cold. Although the main character's emotions were well documented and honest, I'm afraid I couldn't like her. Or any of the characters for that matter. The twist at the very end was the only interesting thing about it and if not for Juliet Stevenson, I wouldn't have bothered to get that far. Oh well, what do I know? Lots of other people seem to like it.....

  • The Return of the Native

  • By: Thomas Hardy
  • Narrated by: Alan Rickman
  • Length: 15 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 307
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 253
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 256

Set on Egdon Heath, a fictional barren moor in Wessex, Eustacia Vye longs for the excitement of city life but is cut off from the world in her grandfather's lonely cottage. Clym Yeobright who has returned to the area to become a schoolmaster seems to offer everything she dreams of: passion, excitement and the opportunity to escape. However, Clym's ambitions are quite different, and marriage only increases Eustacia's destructive restlessness, drawing others into a tangled web of deceit and unhappiness.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Marvellous.

  • By Pauline on 17-08-11

New to Hardy

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 15-10-13

What did you like most about The Return of the Native?

I have always found Hardy difficult to read but listening to the mellow tones of Alan Rickman read this beautiful narrative, I feel inspired to listen to more of Hardy's books.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Whereas the main characters were well drawn, I found myself getting cross with them, especially Clym. Why was he always waiting for others to do something when he could have acted upon it himself? I waited for the reappearance of Diggory Venn who, like a superhero, seemed to show up when needed most.
I did enjoy this book but, in truth, the story is a soap opera! As I suspect all of Hardy's books are but I'll listen to more because of his beautifully descriptive writing.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

A Severed Head cover art
  • A Severed Head

  • By: Iris Murdoch
  • Narrated by: Derek Jacobi
  • Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 53
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 43
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 44

Martin Lynch-Gibbon believes he can possess both a beautiful wife and a delightful lover. But when his wife, Antonia, suddenly leaves him for her psychoanalyst, Martin is plunged into an intensive emotional re-education. He attempts to behave beautifully and sensibly. Then he meets a woman whose demonic splendour at first repels him and later arouses a consuming and monstrous passion. As his Medusa informs him, 'this is nothing to do with happiness'.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Intellectuals behaving badly!

  • By The Aardvark on 18-06-15

Could listen to this all over again

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-01-13

Like all self-centred people, Martin Lynch-Gibbon inhabits a world unaffected by the feelings or thoughts of others until one day he is exposed and forced to accept that the people he believed he knew so well have secret layers too. Some of the characters in this story, wonderfully brought to life by Derek Jacobi, are hilarious, especially when he adopts the whining and manipulative persona of Martin's wife, Antonia. It transpires that she is the person who wants it all but would also like everyone else to be civil while she goes about getting it. I found myself switching sides. While very witty, the insightful Iris Murdoch also captures the emotional tenderness of love, longing and the pain wrought by betrayal.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • The Bell

  • By: Iris Murdoch
  • Narrated by: Miriam Margolyes
  • Length: 12 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 67
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 52

A lay community of thoroughly mixed-up people is encamped outside Imber Abbey, home of an enclosed order of nuns. A new bell, legendary symbol of religion and magic, is rediscovered. Dora Greenfield, erring wife, returns to her husband. Michael Mead, leader of the community, is confronted by Nick Fawley, with whom he had disastrous homosexual relations, while the wise old Abbess watches and prays and exercises discreet authority. And everyone, or almost everyone, hopes to be saved whatever that may mean.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolute pleasure

  • By Karen on 03-10-12

Absolute pleasure

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-12

What an odd and delightful mind Iris Murdoch had. Her intelligent writing, beautifully descriptive prose and colourful imagination make her stories unique, and read by Miriam Margoyles this was pure joy. I agree with the previous reviewer, if Miriam had narrated all of Murdoch's books, I would download them all. I pitied poor Dora in the possession of such an appalling husband......but presented at a time when women had fewer choices she tries her best to rebel.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Caught in the Light

  • By: Robert Goddard
  • Narrated by: Michael Kitchen
  • Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 94
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 59
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 61

On assignment in Vienna, photographer Ian Jarrett falls suddenly and desperately in love with a woman he meets by pure chance, Marian Esguard. Back in England, he separates from his wife and goes to meet Marian at an agreed rendezvous, only to hear her tell him on the telephone that she will not, after all, be coming. Then she vanishes from his life as mysteriously as she entered it. Who and where is the woman he met and fell in love with in Vienna?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Intriguing and engaging

  • By P. Miller on 23-12-12

Not what I expected

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-12

Well, this is the second Robert Goddard novel I've listened to now, read by the excellent Michael Kitchen. Goddard obviously has an interest in the spiritual world, as is evident in the two books I've listened to. I have wondered sometimes if Michael Kitchen felt just a little embarrassed when reading certain lines (I don't think dialogue is Goddard's strength), however, as an actor he has the ability to transport the listener into a make-believe world. This particular make-believe world sometimes verges on the Mills and Boon but is entertaining nonetheless simply listening to the narrator tell the story.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Set in Stone

  • By: Robert Goddard
  • Narrated by: Michael Kitchen
  • Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 61
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 51
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 49

Recovering from the recent tragedy of his wife's death in a cliff fall, Tony Sheridan goes to stay with his sister-in-law, Lucy, and her husband at their new home - Otherways - a strange circular, moated house. Disturbed by memories of his wife and a growing attraction to Lucy, Sheridan is also troubled by weird and vivid dreams. And as he and Lucy embark on a secret and passionate affair, Sheridan begins uncovering the truth about Otherways.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Good but not his best novel

  • By Kirstine on 24-05-18

Unusual

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-10-12

I wasn't quite sure what to make of this book even though I felt it was reasonably well written. It seemed to start out as a romance, then ventured into the paranormal and finally morphed into a political mystery. I've given it four stars as, although I wouldn't necessary choose to read it and have never before read any of Robert Goddard's novels, I would recommend listening to Michael Kitchen read it, because as usual, he gives the characters dimension.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • David Copperfield

  • By: Charles Dickens
  • Narrated by: Simon Callow
  • Length: 2 hrs and 38 mins
  • Abridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 4
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 2
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 2

David Copperfield was Dickens' favorite novel. Strikingly autobiographical in its childhood scenes, it relates David's history from birth to manhood, and the classic Dickensian characters he meets on his journey of self-knowledge: Mr. Micawber, the Peggottys, Betsey Trotwood, Steerforth and Uriah Heep among many.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • An Entertaining Introduction to Dickens

  • By Karen on 27-05-11

An Entertaining Introduction to Dickens

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 27-05-11

For years I tried to read Dickens but always gave up after the first few pages because of his verbosity. Having decided to try an abridged audiobook I have to say I'm now converted. The wonderful voice of Simon Callow narrated and acted his way through this story, bringing to life the personalities in the book, with my rapt attention. Whereas I had always believed Dickens to be 'dark' - full of sinister Victorian characters - I've now discovered the humour and compassion of a writer people have raved about for years, years that I feel I missed out on. And more than that, I've discovered that Dickens was a romantic! This is an excellent way to get to know classic authors and I shall certainly be listening to many more.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful