Dean Jocelin has a vision: that God has chosen him to erect a great spire on his cathedral. His mason anxiously advises against it, for the old cathedral was built without foundations. Nevertheless, the spire rises octagon upon octagon, pinnacle by pinnacle, until the stone pillars shriek and the ground beneath it swims. Its shadow falls ever darker on the world below, and on Dean Jocelin in particular.
From the author of Lord of the Flies, The Spire is a dark and powerful portrait of one man's will, and the folly that he creates.
©1964 William Golding (P)2014 Canongate Books in partnership with Faber & Faber Ltd
having a book read to you adds another dimension to the story. If you hate the voice and if you are familiar with a story but dislike the actor's take on the story it makes for a painful listen. Fortunately this was not a painful few hours. I am a fan of Mr Cumberbatch and I have to say his involvement in this was one of the reasons I decided to listen. I'm glad I did. I think I could listen to him forever.
"Power through for a deep exam. of a man's psyche"
This is a complicated book. I'm not sure it lends itself all that well to an audio version. But I'm still new to audio books, and find I like them best when I can be a tad bit distracted when listening to them. This is a not a book to digest while being distracted. It requires full attention.
I enjoyed the many levels this story exists on. It is a story, told from one (increasingly crazy) man about his desires, actions, and motivations.
I read this book as I listened, so I noticed he occasionally took small liberties. Jocelyn spoke with more contractions! So if you are a purist, know that. But the voices he infused the characters with were fantastic.
"A relentless exploration of vanity"
I am unsure if I would recommend this audiobook. This book might be better consumed ocularly via Kindle or (gasp) old-fashioned book. The story is predictable and I found the characters somewhat unremarkable - surprising for Mr. Golding. However, the writing was superb as usual. I think reading it would allow more appreciation of the language without relying upon attention-grabbing characters. That being said, Mr. Cumberbatch does a FANTASTIC job of narrating. I loved his voices, and his voice in general.
Anyone who wants to punish themselves.
Yes...I would listen to Lore of the Flies as I have read that .
I would not have been able to endure this had he not performed...and this was a great performance.
The main one.
"The Spire Inspires"
Captivating story. The writing was exquisite-- practically poetry. Cumberbatch used his talents of creating accents to the fullest. Fabulous book!
"Twisty and dark"
Twisty and dark story with a building sense of doom. Wonderfully read by Benedict Cumberbatch, who employs a wide range of voices and creates the dean's character brilliantly.
Not my favorite story ever buy great reading by Sherlock Holmes! recommend based on narration.
"Powerful narrator meets powerful literature"
Fantastic narrating from Cumberbatch, plus splendid literature from Golding. It is so immersive and such a music to my ears - it was truely striking
Most others are stories, I'd say this should be required reading for Engineering students (especially those who will specialize in Project Management) in Freshman English class.
The confrontation between Roger Mason and Jocelin, when Roger Mason shows how much he'd already done to try and make the Spire work and Jocelin's blind faith practically drives him to despair, though he still tries his best to find a solution.
The memorable moment mentioned above.
Watching a Train Wreck About to Happen
The performance by Benedict Cumberbatch was phenomenal. He inhabited his characters and the voices he created for each character made the book easy to follow and kept me riveted.
"Even Benedict Cumberbatch couldn't save this"
I think it was the characters themselves. The main character was so annoying.
I doubt it.
"not my style"
It Was Written In Good Taste and with good intentions. It's just not my style though. it seemed very disconnected. it wanders in insane little tangents. a priest lost to darker things. and not to ruin it but all he's doing is putting spire on top of a church. and the base the story is that the church has no foundation and people died during its building. and then he dies. perhaps it's a strange Romance of some kind. I just didn't feel it spoke to me.
"Wonderful narration lifted the whole work."
I found the story rather hard to read in book format but with Benedict Cumberbatch's narration it was a joy to listen. I have listened to the whole book several times already and each time my image of the building grows in detail and stature.
I would listen to Mr Cumberbatch read anything.
"Scintillating, metaphysical scream."
Most surprising revelation to listen to this when many years ago "Lord of the Flies " had been a compulsory, unpleasant, school based read. Age and experience has made this new experience of Golding such an intellectual, visceral surprise.
The whole gamut of human, very specifically competitive, male and religious life are fore grounded with such potent imagery that it literally takes your breath away.
The narrator is outstanding.
"A dissenting view"
This is an amazing story, but I struggled with Benedict Cumberbatch's performance (controversial I know)! When he is narrating, it is outstanding, but during dialogues I struggled to know who was talking (especially between Jocelyn and Roger). I'm not sure why, but possibly because all the characters had the same voices, and the sudden mood changes of all the speakers (not just Jocelyn, in which it was understandable) kept tricking me into thinking the next person was speaking? I don't know, but I am sure the hordes of Cumberbatch fans will get very irate with me!
"Fab story great narration"
I've never read the printed version but hearing Benedict Cumberbatch reading it makes the book come alive!
The very sad ending
Only Benedict Cumberbatch could give you the amazing voices, excellent narration that enhances the already brilliant writing of William Golding.
A bit of both!
"Fascinating insight, nicely read"
A fascinating book - after reading this I'll never look at a medieval cathedral in the same way again! Gripping and with enough period detail to be very engaging.
Cumberbatch reads clearly, with style and character.
The story had a slightly frustrating end but apart from that I thought the book was great.
"Outstanding performance, beautiful book"
A beautifully written book, that I suspect I may not have engaged quite so fully with, were it not for Benedict Cumberbatch's peerless performance.
The story was excellent.
My only gripe was sometimes the audio levels dipped rather low when Benedict whispered. Too low to hear. Perhaps the master track could have used some audio compression to compensate.
"a tale of religion, masonry and madness"
Benedict's narration. I admit, I got this book purely because he was narrating it (also, it was on sale), and he did not disappoint. He made each character different in voice and personality, and his portrayal of Jocelin's mania/religious fervour, was perfect.
I would have edited some of the descriptive language, and character interactions, to make them less repetitive. I would have cut quite a bit from the end sections of the book too.
Benedict is what made this book listenable / readable. I think that the language of the book would not be easy to concentrate on or absorb in print form. There's a lot of description of small details, and a *lot* of repitition (by the middle I was getting irritated with the very similar arguments between characters), but with Benedict's reading, I absorbed a lot more of the book that I would have paid attention to in print form. I still found myself drifting in concentration though, at some of the more descriptive passages.
I laughed at one point, at the sheer absurdity of Jocelin's insanity. Other than that, no. Other people have found the end moving; I thought it dragged, and was a bit of an anti-climax.
I haven't listened or read any of William Golding's books before, but I am interested in listening to more. I don't know if I'll listen to this one again, but I might do so as I think I might get more from it on a second listening.
A great book, and read most brilliantly and chillingly by Ben Cumberbatch. Well worth listening to!
"You'll love this or hate it."
If you love Benedict Cumerbatch as an actor you'll love this performance it is great acting of the text.
Though I think BC uses all the skills he can bring to bear in this reading, his characterization of the protagonist as a whining egotist is so strong, he makes a character who is already unsympathetic on paper into someone unbearable. This is mostly Golding's responsibility, for trying to engage the reader through the eyes of such a disagreeable character. BC's performance highlights this brilliantly you might think. But it just made question whether I could be bothered to spend more time in the company of this spire-building visionary who is so clearly a fool. I stuck it out, as I hoped I'd realize I was wrong and after all Golding was a Nobel prize winner. Unless you want time hearing BC's
lovely voice I'd recommend you try something else first.
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