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Dorothy L. Sayers

A Careless Rage for Life
Narrated by: Wanda McCaddon
Length: 7 hrs and 13 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Summary

Known to millions as the creator of Lord Peter Wimsey and the best-selling author of a dozen detective novels, Dorothy Leigh Sayers was in reality a complex woman - moved, she said, by “a careless rage for life.” It is this complex Sayers, brilliant student, controversial apologist, witty, bawdy, intolerant of fools - he woman “terrified of emotion” - who is revealed in this new biography.

The production of Sayers’ radio play on the life of Christ, The Man Born to Be King, raised a storm of controversy. Reveling in the verbal battle, pugnacious, tenacious, she nonetheless pursued the Christian faith not merely as an intellectual godgame, but as the dominant force in her life. The Wimsey novels’ treatment of the themes of justice, guilt, punishment and the imperatives of personal responsibility reflect her beliefs.

©1992 David Coomes (P)2000 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

“Narrator McCaddon enhances Coomes’ extensive use of Sayers’ letters by reading them in character, adding to our sense of the author speaking to us in her own voice. Her British accent lends crisp authority and distinction, doing full justice to such splendid passages as Sayers’ introduction to her translation of Dante’s Inferno. She sets a swift pace that carries us along, dropping in deft pauses to let us know the writer is about to change course. The clean, uncluttered production gives the author the stage.” (AudioBooksToday.com)

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Interesting biography, sound quality too harsh

As a Dorothy L Sayers fan I was excited to find this reading of David Coomes' biography.
However, I've struggled with the audio quality - Wanda McCaddon is clearly a good reader, but the audio is very harsh and hard on my ears, I suspect it's a digitisation issue.
I've enjoyed listening to Wanda McCaddon reading EF Benson's Miss Mapp (in her other guise of Nadia May), so I don't believe it could be her mellifluous tones.

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Profile Image for Targuman
  • Targuman
  • 28-02-19

Excellent biography, occasional audio issues

Coomes has written an excellent and accessible biography of DLS. The voice (of the writer, not the narrator) is very similar to his subject, warm, colorful, and engaging. The author offers his own assessment of her life, adding commentary and a bit of critique without being too harsh or to fawning in admiration. A major positive aspect of this work is the extensive quotations from DLS's own works, particular her letters.

Only two things mar this book:

(1) The major plus, the quoting of DLS's material, is also the most troublesome aspect of the audio: It is often difficult to tell when the narrator is citing DLS as opposed to continuing Coomes' commentary. In written form you have visual indications, but in the audio, with no real change in voice from the narrator, it was often difficult to discern when we had moved into direct citation.

(2) On an iPhone X the audio quality was fine but there were occasional (and humorous) moments of scratchiness and even a ringing phone! Nothing too major and on the whole (unlike another reviewer) I did not find that this distracted from the experience.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Michael A. Fox
  • Michael A. Fox
  • 27-02-19

Rings true…

This is a wonderful book about a fascinating woman. As good as the book is, it is worth purchasing for its production. Otherwise spotless, at the 5:16 mark of the fourth chapter, an old rotary dial telephone rings once in the background. Just a little toast to human frailty in an age of perfection. Which is suggestive of Ms. Sayer' life, actually.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful