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Summary

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

In this staple of classic literature, Charles Dickens tells the tale of fueding classes set at the inception and escalation of the French Revolution. Amidst the upheaval, righteous former aristocrat Charles Darnay becomes wrongly tangled in unfortunate events, endangering his freedom and family. Sidney Carton, a cynical lawyer who squandered his life away, seeks to redress his unhappiness through Darnay's beautiful wife, Lucie. This seminal story of love, chaos, and redemption is expertly read by Jon Smith, who infuses excitement using a variety of voices. Revisit a favorite or fill in a literary gap with the timeless A Tale of Two Cities.

Public Domain (P)2012 Phoenix Books

What listeners say about A Tale of Two Cities

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Invest your money elsewhere!

Feel bad about giving a bad review but I had to give up on this reading, it made tough work of a great story. I was so glad I did not give up on the book, I downloaded another version.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Two Cities audible

I downloaded this audible book in order to pass the time on a long trip, but was unfortunately unable to get through more than half of the first part. The narration was very difficult to listen to, sounding as though it had been recorded in single lines and then stitched together. Along with this were frequent miss-pronunciations and a total disregard for punctuation. I,m afraid it flowed about as well as a text to speech translation. I would certainly have gone for a librivox version had I known what this one sounded like. Patrick

3 people found this helpful

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Computer reader?

This narrator is terrible and sounds like a computer. Couldn’t listen to it. Such a shame as this is an amazing story

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  • Linda
  • 25-02-12

A Great Classic Performed With Perfection

What did you love best about A Tale of Two Cities?

The best thing about A Tale of Two Cities is everything -- the characters, the plot, the exceptional writing, and the emotional pull of nearly every sentence.

Which character – as performed by Jon Smith – was your favorite?

All the characters came alive. My favorites are Jarvis Lorry and Sydney Carton.

Any additional comments?

I've read this story several times and always discover new feelings and images, but Jon Smith has made it far better with this excellent performance. I would recommend any audiobook read by him.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Haik
  • 17-02-12

Get This Book Now

Would you listen to A Tale of Two Cities again? Why?

This books grabs you from the first sentence to the very last: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times (first sentence) and It is a better thing that I do than I have ever done (almost the last). Everything word, every sentence, is perefectly placed. The narrator, Jon Smith, is excellent.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Piratical Moll
  • 28-03-13

Yes You Too Can Ruin a Classic!

This really great story was all but destroyed, weighed down by a narrator who seemed to simply not give a hoot that he consistently mispronounced words, names, places (hearing the Madame and Monsieur Defarge pronounced Defrage throughout the reading - I swear to you - fingernails on a blackboard would have been a happier sound). Periodically the reader seemed to forget himself and get lost in the book, immediately improving his performance, but unfortunately he would inevitably return to his former stilted and dreadful reading.

We could have made a drinking game out of taking a shot every time some person, place or thing was mispronounced - mind you, we would have had to limit our listening time or suffered prolonged bouts of inebriation as five minutes rarely pass in this performance without a pronunciation malfunction.

I'm sure there is a great unabridged Tale of Two Cities out there someplace. This is not it.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Waykuy
  • 20-12-13

My favorite

I have read and listened to this book many times and every time I finish it I have the urge to start it again. It's not only a moving story but it also helps with understanding the French Revolution.

1 person found this helpful

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  • heather meader
  • 30-10-20

Sydney Carton

This book is absolutely amazing. It keeps you reading and the plot twists aren’t expected. I would recommend this to people in high school (and above). It’s fascinating and shows a kind of beauty that wouldn’t expect to find in books of this genere.

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  • Dr.J.A.P.
  • 01-03-20

HORRIBLE NARRATION

Dear lord, one of my favorite books and listening to this guy drone on and on and on with this soft voice ... my brain just turned off and I stopped listening...

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  • Anne H. Smith
  • 14-08-19

Narrator blunders

I have listened to about one hour of this audiobook, and already the narrator has mispronounced several words. For example, he pronounces the word "emaciated" like "emanciated" and the word "squalid" like "squailed." He also pronounces the French name "Jacques" like "Jock-ay" (two syllables). Even more annoying: the narrator clearly does not understand the context of the words that he reads. I can almost detect line breaks in the text as he reads it because he does not seem to understand the meaning of each full sentence. He simply reads the words as they come, frequently placing emphasis in the wrong places. Listen to an example, and you might hear what I mean. For me, I cannot continue listening. What a waste of money.

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  • Brandon Stumbaugh
  • 07-09-16

HORRIBLE narration

I couldn't even finish this recording due to the horrible narration. The narrator attempts several accents and fails miserably. His Frenchmen sound more like an American doing an impression of a Scotsman trying to do a French accent - it is horrid on all accounts.
The story is of course a classic and a fabulous treasure. It did not deserve the disservice of this performance.
Look for the version performed by Simon Vance for a much more worthy edition.

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  • Dulce
  • 08-01-13

Beautifully Rendered Melodrama

What made the experience of listening to A Tale of Two Cities the most enjoyable?

Growing up in an era in which American school kids actually read the classics in their English classes, I remembered Tale of Two Cities as one of my favorites. The audio version reinforced this impression. The brilliant prose style, the interplay of characters, the comic, the dark, and the melodramatic dextrously interwoven, and the surprises of plot development kept me listening with pleasure through the whole book.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Tale of Two Cities?

It has a more sublime ending than any other book I can recall. Other than that, the scenes with Mme. DeFarge are darkly fascinating. Also those regarding Dr. Manette in the Bastille. I don't want to give anything away!

Have you listened to any of Jon Smith’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I haven't, but I enjoyed his narration. It is subdued and emotionally low key, which I guess could be perceived as boring, but I thought it was a great counterpoint to the melodrama of the book. Characters are easily distinguishable and the accents are well done.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

You can't make a better choice than the opening phrase of the book!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Laura
  • 28-06-12

Horrible narrator!

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I tried twice to listen because I do love Dickens, but the narrator was horrible. I gave up!

1 person found this helpful