Set before and during the Great War, Birdsong captures the drama of that era on both a national and a personal scale. It is the story of Stephen, a young Englishman, who arrives in Amiens in 1910. His life goes through a series of traumatic experiences, from the clandestine love affair that tears apart the family with whom he lives to the unprecedented experience of the war itself.
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©1993 Sebastian Faulks; (P)2005 Random House Audiobooks
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"Fantastic narration of a modern classic"
Samuel West's immaculate narration is the perfect gloss to one of the top books of the 90s and one of my personal favourites of all time. Obviously, if you have read the book before, then an abridged audio version is never going to be quite the same but, if you haven't, then you should find this presentation highly compelling and the abridgements are not apparant. It's a great story, impeccably researched and delivered with care. 4 stars is much as I can give an abridged book, and this earns each of them.
Birdsong depicts the close-up horrors of war better than any book I've ever read. The love story at the beginning was totally overshadowed by the scenes of battle (and in fact, it seemed rather unnecessary and digressive). A beautifully written novel, andt the narrator did it justice.
"Not a fan"
You will love this book if you like historical novels.
You will love this book if you want to know what trench warfare was like.
The narrator was excellent.
I am not sure how I made it through the story, but in the end found no enjoyment.
"Magnificent Narration of a Great Book"
I've listened to Peter Firth's wonderful narration of the Unabridged Version before and absolutely love this grand and passionate war story.
This version, however, delighted (or moved, to be exact) me even more. Samuel West's extraordinarily smoothing voice brought me into deep thought or let me burst into tears so spontaneously that I can't help feeling being part of the story.
Yet the loss of certain details in this abridged version is quite upsetting, especially the part where Stephen and Weir decided whether or not to kill a bird in the tunnel, or the soldiers singing the chessy ballad together to celebrate their being alive. After all, it's the details that impressed me the most when I first read it.
The narrator did a fine job, and if you love Faulks you'll love this book - however I am not a huge fan of "war stories", so there were parts of this book that didn't work for me. However the narration style is calm, quiet, almost sad - which plays well with the tone of the story.
"Deep and touching"
Incredible performance by Samuel West.
Very touching story. Probably the best book I've listened to so far.
Can't wait to read other Faulks books.
"Poignant story of love, passion, and war."
Wiring that rips your heart out. Almost felt like l was in the trenches. Breathless.
What a beautiful story. Loved Samuel West narration but without Sebastian Faukls writing I don't think this story would have been as beautiful as it was. Sad, yes, prosed nicely, yes, real, yes, captivating, yes. To be fair, I thought the first hour was a rather wishy washy love story, but then once they get into the trenches, wow, what a good book. I have been told the movie is very well done, so straight to get a copy of that to watch. Worth every minute listening to.
"Good read for Book Group"
We read this for book group. I liked it more as the story went on, but found it less than plausible in the beginning. I thought the war scenes were much stronger than the love scenes!
This is an excellent book very well written and narrated. Sebastian Faulks captures the atmosphere of the first world war trench warfare perfectly.
This is a beautiful book. The story is simple but haunting while the writers skill and devotion to his craft is evident in every sentence and phrase. I did not think this was 'my kind of book' - I was wrong.
"A great book ruined.."
This abridgement is awful. Despite Samuel West's excellent efforts, what is a very good book in print becomes a dull and uninspiring listen. Sam manages to bring something of the original to the last hour, but the previous 300 minutes are pretty tedious.
"If only it wasnt abridged"
This is one of my favourite books of all time. A wonderful novel. After I finished this book for the first time, i ached for the characters i missed them so much. This would have been a five, but it is only an abridged version. Read the book and just get this to remind you how great this story is.................
"A moving and Passionate book"
Very well narrated. You will feel tears of joy, sadness and horror through this very well written book. I really enjoyed the way the author described feelings. Very moving. Metaphorically speaking: It felt to me like the forbidden love was being punished by the war that followed. Or perhaps the separation of that Love caused the war.
My only regret is that I did not purchased the unabridged version elsewhere. Audibly only had the abridge version.
I'm aware of all the wonderful reviews this book has received but I found it quite dull at parts. It was touching but too depressing. The end was great though. This is the first audiobook I have listened to and I found it quite difficult.
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