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The Plague

Narrated by: James Jenner
Length: 10 hrs and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the small coastal city of Oran, Algeria, rats begin rising up from the filth, only to die as bloody heaps in the streets. Shortly after, an outbreak of the bubonic plague erupts and envelops the human population. Albert Camus' The Plague is a brilliant and haunting rendering of human perseverance and futility in the face of a relentless terror born of nature.
©1947 Librairie Gallimard (P)2006 Recorded Books

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Plain English
  • 04-06-2011

Translator Please!

Please please list the translator for books that come from other languages. Who did the translation and when makes an enormous difference in what we are reading! It is hard to make a choice without this knowledge.

In this case it is Stuart Gilbert, done in 1947 just as it was released in French. He renewed the copyright in 1975, presumably with some changes. But there is also a 2002 version by Robin Buss edited by Tony Judt -- so please, help us out here!

78 of 81 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • smarmer
  • 13-11-2014

Brilliant as description and as metaphor

Any additional comments?

This is an amazing book. It works on so many levels. It is about plague itself, a topic of great interest in the Ebola, West Nile, and SARS era. It is about personal courage and duty. It is an exploration of human nature under stress. It addresses the nature of fate and individual response. It is about loyalty and friendship. It is also about how any plague spreads, be it viral, bacterial, or ideological.

Camus writes with a sparse but pungent style. He is intensely unsentimental. This is not to everyone's taste but I found it penetrating and moving as well as profoundly insightful.

The narration is excellent, capturing the subtleties of the various characters and situations.

Not an easy book and not "fun" but extremely worthwhile.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • C. M. Rice
  • 09-01-2015

Great read

This was one of the best reads I have had in a long time. I recommend this book to everyone.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Hayden
  • 23-09-2016

great book

The writing of Camus has always been an inspiration for me and it was only made better by James Jenner's calm clear reading

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Gregory
  • 09-01-2015

It teaches the reader the value of patience.

Interesting history and insights into human behavior but a tedious and labored read at best. However, it has its moments if the reader can "hang in there" long enough to find them.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Betsey
  • 03-09-2012

Like Saramago's Blindness, but with less action

Where does The Plague rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

In the top third.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The man who is constantly rewriting his masterpiece.

What does James Jenner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

There's a lot of compassion for the characters in his voice.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No.

Any additional comments?

There's plenty of depth to this book, but you can enjoy it on many levels.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • phillip joe fitzsimmons
  • 17-06-2019

All time favorite

This has been one of my all time favorite novels for decades. It is an engaging account by a medical doctor of the progress of a plague. The book contains memorable characters who demonstrate many aspects of humanity throughout the story.

The voice talent is solid. He doesn't change voices for characters. It is a straightforward performance.

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  • Saralinda
  • 08-02-2019

The novel closest to my heart

We cannot read this book to many times.
It defines all of us in this apocalyptic era, by defining resistance. Unable to be saints, but refusing to bow down to pestilences, we strive our utmost to be healers.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Tad Davis
  • 17-01-2019

Disappointing

I missed the boat on this one. I know many people who admire this novel, and one member of my family was profoundly moved by it. But somehow I wasn't able to connect with it.

After several striking scenes in the beginning, the book settles down into a glacial pace. There are a number of key characters in the story, and their viewpoints are effectively represented, but there's no real conflict. Everybody works together to get through the terrible calamity of bubonic plague — evolving later into the far more deadly and contagious pneumonic plague. The city is blocked off from the outside world in an effort to contain the epidemic. The death toll rises; every man — and they are all men — sucks it up and keeps working stoically.

And eventually the plague dies down, goes back into hibernation, and the city is reopened. Nobody knows why the plague erupted; nobody knows why it went away. There's a philosophical point to be made here, but I didn't find the story compelling enough to connect the dots.

James Jenner is an OK narrator, though his very American voice (certainly at least North American) doesn't mix well with the European ambience of the story. (It takes place in North Africa, but it's a French colony, and virtually everyone in the novel is French.) Some of his characters sound like they would feel at home in a Dashiell Hammett story.

It just didn't work for me.

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  • TiffanyD
  • 13-01-2019

Compelling narration, human story

I am always reluctant to declare that a story where all the characters are white men is a about humanity as a whole, but I think I make an exception for this. A beautiful novel about what happens to a community during a prolonged communal tragedy. The only other Camus work I've read is The Stranger, and that was many years ago, so I was pleasantly surprised that this was not nearly as bleak as I had assumed it would be. For some reason I thought it would be "we are all damned." But it was more like "we will all persevere, although we will not all succeed."

The narration nicely captured the matter of fact tone of the text without becoming monotonous.

One note: it infuriates me that Audible doesn't make a better effort to list the translators for works like this, where multiple translations exist. Sometimes I can figure it out by listening to the preview clip and doing a Google search on the exact text but it shouldn't be so hard! Thanks to a previous reviewer for calling out that this is the 1947 translation by Stuart Gilbert.

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  • Miss
  • 18-05-2019

if you cant stand mouth sounds dont buy.

Ok so the story is a classic but the narrators mouth sounds drove me mad - couldn't finish it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lightning Brother
  • 15-05-2019

Embarrassing mangling of French names

Classic and fascinating work, but spoiled by jarring mis-pronunciations of French names.

I can forgive the irritating American accent (the narrator is American, so I had little choice; and I'm taking it that Audible is aimed primarily at an American market). His delivery was good, with acceptable variations of intonation, emotion and tone.

However, there were some unforgivable mis-pronunciations of French names, including "Rioo" for "Rieux"; "Tooroo" for "Tarrou". Most comical(?) was being misled into thinking Grand had entered into a gay marriage, being partnered with "Jean" (rather than "Jeanne").

If someone puts themselves out as a reader of (translated) French literature, I would expect them, as a minimum, to research and practice the pronunciation of names in French, which are usually exempt from translation; they are pronounced in the original French. This guy had clearly not been paying attention in his school French lessons.

I'm not asking for crisp English RP: that would be excruciating in itself. I'm just asking that Audible narrators of French translations make a damn' effort when it comes to names and other words that are not subject to translation. Think about it: a good proportion of listeners will have an interest in the French language, if not a decent knowledge of it. To put out narration of this (sub-)standard is insulting and patronising.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful