LISTENER

Motco

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  • 2
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  • 26
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Unusual and entrancing

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-02-2018

While this could so easily have been just another story from World War II, the listener is taken on a completely different journey. In some ways there is a dream-like quality to the narrative, which is both appealing and somewhat hypnotic. The characters are well-drawn and believable and their introspective narrative adds interesting dimensions to who they are and what they feel. Intertwined in the story is a pronounced strand of science, both physical and biological. It is entirely accessible to the reader and underpins the almost mystical feel to the book and its title. The ending of the story is nicely judged and although the reader might want more for the protagonists the direction taken is realistic and entirely appropriate, whatever the heart might want. The only discordant notes is the occasional use of American phraseology and terminology that jars with the European setting and era. Overall, the narration is good but the production is slapdash. There are quite a few egregious mispronunciations of words which are disappointing and points to a lack of care with preparation by the producer and the reader. That said, it’s minor and does not decrease materially in the pleasure of listening to the story. Overall, memorable.

A flawed biography

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-05-2016

What is there not to like about Maggie Smith? A consummate actress with a remarkable range and yet the biography by Michael Coveney provides little insights about Maggie Smith as a person. This may be because she is reported to be a private person - one of the few revealing facts made by the author. In the end I felt I knew little more about Maggie Smith than I did at the start. Perhaps she would be pleased by this but the thinness of the biography for the listener is disappointing. The most irritating feature of the book is the author's fondness for ascribing witty, pithy or waspish one-liners spoken by Maggie Smith in film or on stage as though she was their author whereas they come from the pen of the scriptwriter or playwright. In doing so, Coveney makes the cardinal mistake of conflating fiction with real life. It's all a little too hagiographic for comfort. While the biography may be weak, Sian Thomas as ever is excellent as the narrator and helps makes the book a little less mundane.

1 person found this helpful

A dark, bitter tale

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 17-08-2015

I was curious about the story that was developed around the title and had no preconceptions as to what it might hold. It has a strong and unusual story line that requires some suspension of belief, but any artifice in this regard does not detract from its theme. Depending on your gender, one's perceptions and empathy for the central character may vary, but that said one can't but pity the heroine, the awfulness of successive situations, some not of her making, others because of well intended but disastrous decisions that she makes. Ultimately, the novel provides the reader with a perspective on the dark side of male exploitation of women. As the story unfolded one hoped that the heroine would at last reach some condition of grace and justice, but the ending is a bitter conclusion. Despite the darkness, the story was engrossing and well written.

Complex and utterly compelling

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-04-2015

Anthony Powell's evocation of a privileged slice of English society is utterly compelling. It's not a story as such but instead a rich tapestry of which distinct threads can be discerned. A panoply of characters move in and out of the narrative. Some are amusing, others loathsome and odious; a few are sad and lost. The language is rich and satisfying and brings to life locations, people and situations. I've read the novels twice and thought I'd like to see how the books come across when narrated. Simon Vance is terrific. His characterisations are excellent and adds a whole new and satisfying dimension to 'A Dance to the Music of Time'.

1 person found this helpful