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Xerxes

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Remarkable! Oddly Uplifting

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

Reviewed: 13-09-19

I listened to this audio book in three long sittings because I simply couldn’t stop. Like a train on a track the narrative of this book steams ahead, growing in power and momentum. It is impossible to stop, once started.
I, like many others, found THE HANDMAID’S TALE to be one of the most important books of the C20th & as a professional historian I’ve often dwelt on how the Past & present converge in the story. So I was keen to read the much anticipated sequel - having watched all three seasons of the HULU TV production too I wanted to know if there would be any nod towards the storylines crafted there. There is. Big time.
In many respects THE TESTAMENTS is a world apart from THE HANDMAID’S TALE. It is far less claustrophobic, less ‘bitty’, less surreal. It is also less doomed, less gloomy, less violent. In fact THE TESTAMENTS is oddly, fascinatingly upbeat. It is a paean to the #MeToo movement, an empowering story of fighting the system.
The historian in me was satisfied: I got a good sense of the expansion and crisis of the mature Gileadaean regime and the use of Historical Notes to close the book - echoing THE HANDMAID’S TALE - was very satisfying.
As an audio book, this is a wonderful production. Each of the three protagonists is played well, but a special notice goes to Ann Dowd, reprising her TV role as Aunt Lydia. Her voice has such melody, such an incredible cadence that it was quite hypnotic. Atwood gives Aunt Lydia some very funny, tongue-in-cheek lines; Ann Dowd delivers them to perfection.
I enjoyed this book enormously. I recommend it as a clear classic of our time.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

The PERFECT audiobook experience

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

Reviewed: 10-11-18

This was a laugh out loud listen - the performances are so good. It is high-energy all the way and the jokes fly one after another. Try keeping up with it, its pays off. A superb performance all round.
In between the laughter the reality of the Trump administration kicks in. It's a profound experience all round.
Highly recommended.

Dreadful Welsh pronunciation ruins this fine translation

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

Reviewed: 31-07-18

Sioned Davies is widely regarded as the world's expert on The Mabinogion and her translation is magnificent- it captures the mood and feeling of early Medieval Wales brilliantly. So why was James Cameron Stewart chosen to read it? He cannot pronounce the Welsh names and utterly mangles the lyricism of the work. I stuck it out for Branch 1 - but his pronunciation of names like Pwyll had me on edge. I returned the audiobook and got my credit back. What a lost opportunity. What a pity Davies didn't get the narrator her translation deserves.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

Funny, funny, funny, smart

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

Reviewed: 27-07-18

Great writing, slick performance, killer stories and observations. I loved it. Laugh out loud stuff!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Genius!!!

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

Reviewed: 26-07-18

I listened to this through headphones on a train journey. Had to restrain myself from guffawing out loud. This man is brilliant!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Pure Joy! Give us more!

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

Reviewed: 16-06-18

Fantastic performances all round in this series of well-written and well-crafted spoof documentaries.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

A brilliant, energetic, and fascinating biography

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

Reviewed: 21-01-18

This is by far and away the best royal biography I've encountered in many years. It is a brilliant account of Victoria's eventful life which tries too to explain her personality and her opinions. Carefully supported by rich archival sources, the biography is crafted with verve and vigour and is as fresh as it is fascinating.
I can't recommend this highly enough.
The narration was exceptionally good: clear, intelligent, thoughtful.
One of the best audio books I've listened to.

Funny, humane, Intelligent, modest - oh and funny

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

Reviewed: 20-10-17

From one of the best comedians of recent times, this book is a personal and deeply felt memoire which really captures Millican's personality - her strengths and her foibles. Written in a very accessible way and read by the author herself, this was a wonderful listen. I want her to be my friend.