The author of these accounts is Standish O'Grady (1846-1928), whose writings earned him the title "Father of the Irish Renaissance."
This is the first time Cuculian's story has been available in audio.
Well read, really builds up the atmosphere, and I didn't get too lost with names and places!
Loved it, wish there were more classic sagas available.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This was a magnificent evocation of a time of legendary heroes related by an ancient bard. It was a truly exhilarating performance.
This was a hard to follow story read by a monotone narrator. The combination of the two was a very painful listening experience for me. If the reader is interested in an Irish themed book, I recommend The Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutheford.
37 of 41 people found this review helpful
This is perhaps not a good book for the audio format for someone unfamiliar with the subject- Many strange unrecognizable names and a lack of modern narrative flow typical of some mythical writings combined with a monotonal narrator make it very easy to zone out while listening. That being said- to someone familiar with the legends herein described,and they are fascinating once you dig in, this book provides an interesting perspective on some old stories.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I'm only about halfway through, and probably won't finish the book.
The reader, speaks in a dreadful, unexpressive monotone. He does have an intriguing accent and rhythm, but that alone is not enough to recommend the book.
The actual story line is complicated and uninteresting. Unless you're steeped in Irish culture (I'm not) you'll have extreme difficulty following the plot. It references many people and places you've probably never heard of, and I can only assume are notable in Irish folklore.
Also, like many myths, the events of the story alternate between completely unbelievable and painfully mundane.
If you're an academic myth junkie you'll probably find this book enlightening, but you probably already own it too. If you're anything less than obsessed with Irish culture and mythology, take a pass.
19 of 23 people found this review helpful
The reader has a very lyrical style of reading. He sounds just like what I would imagine one of the ancient bards, who told memorized folk lore for the amuzement of the people, would have sounded. I was enchanted and spellbound by his reading.
This tale of Cuculian, took place during a pre-Christian era, so it is full of all the expected pagan and Druidic elements; such as spirits, faeries, demons, wizards, Druids, magic, enchantments, battle frenzy. Cuculian had great bodily strenth, intelligence and understanding from the time he was a small child. During a battle frenzy, Cuculian would take on the aspect a of terrible, dreadful, vicious, unconquerable spirit. He was truly frightening and his enemies would flee in terror.
Cucuclian, as you would expect him to be, was a very great hero, complete with valor, bravery, honor, trustworthiness,loyalty, great physical beauty. Cuculian served with great singlemindedness what he believed to be his destiny, which was to become a great hero and champion of his people and King. He chose to accept his own death rather than break his vows, demonstrating his honor.
He loved and honored his King, which ultimately lead to his death at an early age. He fought to keep his country secure even though the enemy's druids had cast a terrible spell upon the whole kingdom, including the king, which kept everybody except Cuculian from fighting. So even though Cucuclian was facing certain death, he could not contemplate giving up the fight, because that would mean breaking his vow and acting dishonorably toward those whom he had sworn to protect and defend. He paid the ultimate sacrifice, his life, to uphold his honor and his vows.
Even with all these supernatural characteristics, this great legendary hero loved his father, wife and children with tender human love. And his loyality and love for his childhood friends never diminished. The idea of betraying them was inconsistent with his character.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Standish O'Grady does an superb job of bringing Cuculian to life. I thrilled and filled with excitment at his telling of the tale of this Ancient Heroic warrior from my ancestial homeland . I was made to feel as if I was there watching the events unfold before my eyes and that is the mak of not only a great story but a truly gifted storyteller as well !
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The original is a fantastic story, unfortunatly this narrator mangles it beyond recognition. How much effort does it take to learn to pronounce the main characters name!!!
For god sake the US is crawling with Irish Americans, it is hard NOT to trip over someone who could make a better effort of pronouncing the names and places.
I was looking forward to hearing one of my favourite tales, instead I got this cringeworthy, hamfisted dull effort. First I was just disapointed, then I was annoyed at getting yot another murdered audiobook, now I am furious when I think of a fantastic story, that gives more insight into the Irish psyche than almost any other piece of literature, tortured and bludgeoned in such a souless manner. There is no excuse, the whole production team associated with this travesty should be made familiar with the treatment dished out to a certain Captain Boycott.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
I had great hopes for this - they were all dashed!
Please God! could not someone have informed this narrator how the main character's name is pronounced?! Every time the hero was mentioned (which is fairly frequent given that it's a trilogy called "Cuchulain") I had to cringe. And was the narrator trying to do some sort of accent? (I'm assuming Irish, but it sounded more of a painful and pinched medical condition) Anyway, if he was, it was woefully mis-guided.
I do hope that this recording was some sort of aberration upon the narrator's part, because it is terrible! And it would be alarming to think that all of his work is this bad.
To be fair to him, I don't think it helped that the book is unspeakably bad (in fact, I'm fairly sure that Standish O'Grady was one of Yeats' nemesis' in trying to initiate an Irish National Literature. Possibly Lady Gregory's "Cuchulain of Muirthemne" would have been a better choice for a recording- but let's face it her prose was fairly turgid as well.
I do hope that there will be a decent presentation of this material at some point, something with limpid prose and purpose, because I do think it deserves to be more ascessible.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Very monotonal presentation. This could have been a good tale with proper presentation. The strange sounding names is bad enough to keep track of, but the presenter does not differentiate his voice when speakers in the tale change. I could stand only the first two parts and quit during the third.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful