LAND OF MEN (Wind Sand and Stars)
By Antoine de Saint-Exupéry • Read by Nicholas Boulton

LAND OF MEN (WIND, SAND AND STARS)

The warm romance of Nicholas Boulton’s baritone heightens the lyricism of this classic memoir about airplane flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of THE LITTLE PRINCE. LAND OF MEN is the original title translated from French (TERRE DES HOMMES); the more familiar WIND, SAND AND STARS is the English title. Before he disappeared while flying a reconnaissance mission over the Mediterranean in 1944, Saint-Exupéry wrote some of the literary world’s most famously poetic descriptions of the physical and metaphysical wonders of flying. This audiobook remembers the time he spent on the mail run over the Sahara, often flying at night with few landmarks but the stars. It’s a paean to adventure, technology, and the natural world, which Boulton reads with clarity and passion. His realistic French accent and skill with characterization enliven the conversational sections, and his engaged pacing beautifully intensifies the book’s soaring narrative.

A.C.S. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine

THE MORAL EPISTLES

THE MORAL EPISTLES
By Seneca the Younger • Read by James Cameron Stewart

“Fantastic reading of the Epistles.”

Would you consider the audio edition of The Moral Epistles to be better than the print version?

James Cameron Stewart did a fantastic job narrating the Epistles. I enjoy reading the Epistles but being able to listen to them on the way to work is a true blessing. I really do hope that Mr. Stewart will take on the task of narrating the Dialogues and Epictetus’s discourses as well. Audible, please help make it happen!

Who was your favorite character and why? Seneca!

Which scene was your favorite? Every scene that Seneca advises his friend to weather hardships, rethink his priorities, value the present, ext. This book is full of excellent advice delivered in a no nonsense manner.

Dave – 05/02/16 – Audible Review

Outstanding!”

Would you consider the audio edition of The Moral Epistles to be better than the print version?

I love audiobooks because I can listen to them on the go. In this case, I would like to get the print version as well.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The narrator is absolutely outstanding! Seneca has these awesome one-liners, and it is easy to miss the punch line if the text is not read properly. James Cameron Stewart does a masterful job of helping me “get” it, even if I’m not paying 100% attention.

If you could give The Moral Epistles a new subtitle, what would it be?

The things Seneca knew 2000 years ago that everyone should know now.

Any additional comments?

I love Tim Ferris, but this reading of Seneca is soo much better!

zen cowboy – 31/01/16 – Audible Review

“This is THE reading of Seneca’s Moral Epistles.”

What made the experience of listening to The Moral Epistles the most enjoyable?

James Cameron Stewart reads Seneca’s Moral Epistles to Lucilius as though he was born to read these letters of the great Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman and dramatist.

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

I really can’t imagine anyone else who could read these letters with such authority and understanding. These letters are of a unique historical value that give us insights into Roman life in the years 64-65 CE. One of the greatest works on the philosophy of Stoicism that has come down through the centuries. The only other reading that I can even compare with it is Jeremy Irons amazing reading of Nabokov’s “Lolita” which is also a masterpiece. The reader as a medium for the author.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

Written in the first century CE. Moral letters to Lucilius by Seneca Letter 47. “On Master and Slave””I am glad to learn, through those who come from you, that you live on friendly terms with your slaves. This befits a sensible and well-educated man like yourself. “They are slaves,” people declare Nay, rather they are men. “Slaves!” No, comrades. “Slaves!” No, they are unpretentious friends. “Slaves!” No, they are our fellow-slaves, if one reflects that Fortune has equal rights over slaves and free men alike.””I shall pass over other cruel and inhuman conduct towards them; for we maltreat them, not as if they were men, but as if they were beasts of burden.'”Kindly remember that he whom you call your slave sprang from the same stock, is smiled upon by the same skies, and on equal terms with yourself breathes, lives, and dies.””Do you mean to say,” comes the retort, “that I must seat all my slaves at my own table?” No, not any more than that you should invite all free men to it. You are mistaken if you think that I would bar from my table certain slaves whose duties are more humble, as, for example, yonder muleteer or yonder herdsman; I propose to value them according to their character, and not according to their duties. (echoes of MLK) Each man acquires his character for himself, but accident assigns his duties. Invite some to your table because they deserve the honor, and others that they may come to deserve it.You need not, my dear Lucilius, hunt for friends only in the forum or in the Senate-house; if you are careful and attentive, you will find them at home also. Good material often stands idle for want of an artist; make the experiment, and you will find it so. As he is a fool who, when purchasing a horse, does not consider the animal’s points, but merely his saddle and bridle; so he is doubly a fool who values a man from his clothes or from his rank, which indeed is only a robe that clothes us.”He is a slave.” His soul, however, may be that of a freeman. “He is a slave.” But shall that stand in his way? Show me a man who is not a slave; one is a slave to lust, another to greed, another to ambition, and all men are slaves to fear. I will name you an ex-consul who is slave to an old hag, a millionaire who is slave to a serving-maid; I will show you youths of the noblest birth in serfdom to pantomime players! No servitude is more disgraceful than that which is self-imposed.

Howard Crawford – 04/03/16 – Audible Review

A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOANALYSIS

A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOANALYSIS
By Sigmund Freud • Read by Nigel Carrington

“Simply Spectacular”

A must for anyone interested in psych theory. The overview it supplies is truly tremendous. Whether you a training healthcare professional, or someone curious of the inner processes of the human workings, it stands apart as a great place to start the journey within.

– Audible Review

WATT

WATT
By Samuel Beckett • Read by Dermot Crowley

“Astonishing performance”

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

The right friend, absolutely. The performance is a work of art in its own right, and the text is so difficult, it’s almost a sport to see what the narrator’s going to do with it. What he does is offer this much under-represented text arguably (by me) its best medium.

What did you like best about this story?

Watt has some of Beckett’s funniest writing, and there’s a great sense of him working towards the inimitable trilogy. The performance here makes sense of the oceans of patterned text when you read it in hard copy, and Crowley brings fantastic light and shade to aid comprehension of the incomprehensible.

Have you listened to any of Dermot Crowley’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I listened to Dermot Crowley on Molloy, so I bought this one with confidence. His performance in Watt is comparable in excellence, but much more of a tour de force, because the text is even more difficult. He utterly brings it to life.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, I wanted to take it all in in ‘movements’ — it evolves and develops in the manner of classical music.

Any additional comments?

I’m so pleased to hear Crowley unleashed on Beckett again — I’ll certainly listen out for more from him.

Nettlewine – 04/03/2017 – Audible Review

“Astonishing performance”Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why? The right friend, absolutely. The performance is a work of art in its own right, and the text is so difficult, it’s almost a sport to see what the narrator’s going to do with it. What he does is offer this much under-represented text arguably (by me) its best medium.
What did you like best about this story?Watt has some of Beckett’s funniest writing, and there’s a great sense of him working towards the inimitable trilogy. The performance here makes sense of the oceans of patterned text when you read it in hard copy, and Crowley brings fantastic light and shade to aid comprehension of the incomprehensible.
Have you listened to any of Dermot Crowley’s other performances? How does this one compare? I listened to Dermot Crowley on Molloy, so I bought this one with confidence. His performance in Watt is comparable in excellence, but much more of a tour de force, because the text is even more difficult. He utterly brings it to life.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?No, I wanted to take it all in in ‘movements’ — it evolves and develops in the manner of classical music.
Any additional comments?I’m so pleased to hear Crowley unleashed on Beckett again — I’ll certainly listen out for more from him.

Nettlewine UK 3/4/17  Audible 

“Perfect Narration”If you could sum up Watt in three words, what would they be?A difficult novel to read made easy by listening to it.
What other book might you compare Watt to, and why?Murphy and How It Is. They are all challenging books to read and these audio recordings really open out the text.
Any additional comments?I would like to hear some of Beckett’s later novels and short prose on Audible. For instance Ill Seen Ill Said, Company, Worstward Ho! and The Lost Ones.

mike dee Llanelli 5/5/17  – Audible

MEMORIES, DREAMS, REFLECTIONS

MEMORIES, DREAMS, REFLECTIONS
By C. G. Jung • Read by James Cameron Stewart

“‘Two souls in his breast'”

Jung’s autobiography is no ordinary memoir, but then you wouldn’t expect anything ordinary from a man with such an extraordinary mind. From a very young child he was aware of a splitting of himself and lived in a world of shadows and visions, some of them deeply troubling.

By the age of twelve he was convinced that he was both a boy and a powerful, wise old man living in the eighteenth century. (School was not an easy experience for Jung!) His mother, too, had two personalities and spoke in two voices. Fascinated by Goethe, he discovered a kindred spirit and identified with Faustus who had ‘two souls in his breast.’ Jung’s intense and unceasing philosophical explorations – rejecting Hegel, embracing Schopenhauer for his inclusion of the consideration of suffering and evil in the world – lead him to reject the religious dogma of his father whom he suspects cannot bring himself to voice his own doubts. Jung values myth, accepting it as the divine manifestation in human beings of what they interpret as ‘the word of God’.

A generous section of the autobiography is devoted to the curious cases of Jung’s clinical patients whose unconscious and conscious psyches, neuroses he strives to heal. Jung refers to the ‘untrodden and untreadable region’ of neurotics. It is into these realms that he ventures, explaining and arguing his concepts with absolute clarity.

This is a specialist seminal work and the narration is appropriately respectful without being sycophantic, and also admirably clear and helpfully cadenced.

Rachel Redford – 06/06/2016 – Audible Review

“Best introduction to modern human psychology”

The best introduction to the basics of the modern humans psychology . Love it! Will rekomend to the interested in psychology and all modern psychosis.

Epele – 7/04/2016 – Audible Review

“A wonderful insight into Jung’s thoughts”

A slow read as lots of thoughts to assimilate. Narrator very believable and easy. Great.

Penelope – 03/03/2017 – Audible Review

BUDDENBROOKS

BUDDENBROOKS
By Thomas Mann • Read by David Rintoul

BUDDENBROOKS The Decline of a Family

 

Mann’s saga of a nineteenth-century German merchant family is the kind of audiobook that envelops listeners in its long story. David Rintoul serves this end by imbuing his skillful narration with understanding, emotional warmth, and occasional passion. His delivery of narrative is deep, resonant, and engaging, his reading supple, well paced, and clear. He differentiates the many characters with a light touch, saving extremes for characters who call for them. He usually manages the difficult job of conveying English versions of German dialects, odd accents, and vocal peculiarities adeptly. But his key talent, and most subtle, is his ability to engage the listener mentally and emotionally with the characters and story, which becomes absorbing and easy to listen to over its great length.

W.M. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine

“The German Middlemarch”

Very enjoyable reading of a clever translation, which catches the nuances of pre-unification German society. The decline of a mercantile family, often humorously drawn, played out against the seismic changes of the 19th century. Highly recommended.

Elvis Patterson – Penrith, United Kingdom – 12/01/2017 – Audible Review

“Five Star”

One of the best readings I have yet heard. David Rintoul’s performance was perfect throughout. The intensity and the gentle humour of the novel were beautifully delivered. I hope we can have a recording of Mann’s “Doctor Faustus” with the same reader.

Hugh M. Clarke

LE GRAND MEAULNES

LE GRAND MEAULNES

By Alain-Fournier • Read by John Hollingworth

Coming to man’s estate”

My long-ago first reading of Le Grand Meaulnes left me with a powerful mystical swathe of impressions, and it has been fascinating to listen so many decades later to find that my perspective has altered. This time around I found I was seeing with the 15 year-old growing-up-boy narrator, Seurel, who narrates the complex story (rather as Nick Carraway narrates The Great Gatsby), observing as if watching an opera, rather than feeling bound up with the youthful passions of Meaulnes and Franz. Experience tells you that once Meaulnes has consummated his innocent fantasy-passion for Yvonne, it will disintegrate, and that the search of Franz for his runaway fiancée Valentine will bring him pain and destruction. What gives an extra layer of poignancy to Le Grand Meaulnes is the death of its author Alain Fournier just weeks into the Great War which keys into his novel’s theme of loss. Whatever dreams Fournier had nurtured were extinguished and the rural France of his novel was gone for ever.

Whatever your age, the visual and emotional intensity of the story is overwhelming. It’s all a great theatre in the head as you listen: the purity of Meaulnes’ and Franz’s romantic love made up of dream, enchantment and longing; the fantastical masquerade in the grounds of the hidden chateau where Meaulnes first sees Yvonne; the tangled mesh of impossible love; appearances and disappearances; insatiable wanderlust; disguise and carnival; searches with mysterious maps; the pain of terrible loss, yearning and desire…. So it goes on.

And to balance all this, there is the level-headed Seurel, the son of the teachers at the country school where 17 year-old Meaulnes suddenly appears, alluring and intriguing only to disappear and reappear three days later with a fine silk waistcoat beneath his school jacket. Seurel matures over the years and through him we feel the rather melancholy ordinary rural life in Sologne at the end of the nineteenth century with the schoolroom, the horses, carriages and domestic drudgery.

The narration is exactly right. John Hollingworth with his short a’s and unobtrusive gentle northern phrasing is just right for keeping us in Seurel’s sombre real world from which we view the unfolding of Meaulnes’ bright wanderings.

Rachel Redford – Audible

“The enchantment of a world forever lost”

There are readers and there are re-readers. I admire those who read only once and move onto something new; surely they have an exciting literary life. But I am a re-reader, and I like to re-read in several languages at times. That is the case here. This is my first reading of Alain-Fournier in English, and I enjoyed every single word.

What an enchanting book this is. It is hard not to evoke Proust when thinking of the first part of the book, the author’s close observation of character and detail, and his deep self-knowledge and vulnerability. But our author is no imitator of Proust, but an original and imaginative writer in his own right.

I love the protagonist who is somewhat shy and ostracized from his fellows due to a hip problem that causes him to hop and leads his family toward an overly protective attitude. But when Meaulnes comes to board at the school, the young man opens the door to new worlds of friendship, magic, imagination, dreams, and beauty.

As is well-known, the story centers upon a single event which takes place during the Christmas season. Meaulnes disappears and has an unusual experience when he finds “he had dropped into the most peaceful happiness on earth.” As our protagonist says, “It remained for a long time the great secret of our youth. But today when all is ended, and there remains only dust of so much good and so much evil, I can relate his strange adventure.”

The narrator was perfectly suited to the story. I couldn’t have asked for better.

The experience was all the more bittersweet and nostalgic because the book left me wanting more. But there is no more. Alain-Fournier was one of many who died for the great lies of the Great War. That knowledge leaves me with the same longing for more that I feel when I look at paintings from Macke or Marc, who also fell in the war. Still I am thankful for them, as I am for Alain-Fournier, for all they gave us during their brief stay. May they rest in peace.

Audible Review

LE GRAND MEAULINES [THE WANDERER]

This classic French novel, originally published in 1913, tells the story of a young man of intense and sudden emotional commitments and the conflicts they create. While narrator John Hollingworth’s characterizations are admirable, Alain–Fournier’s ideas about two of his major characters (and this is a novel about ideas as well as action) sometimes move them completely off the stage. As in THE GREAT GATSBY, the story is narrated by a friend of the title character who is not privy to all the secrets until the conclusion. Hollingworth maintains a balance between the apparent closeness and the real distance between them. He also varies his tempo more than most narrators, and uses this powerfully. This is a wonderfully accessible introduction to a book that deserves a wider audience.

D.M.H. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine

MURPHY

MURPHY

by Samuel Beckett, Read by Stephen Hogan • Unabridged • MARCH 2017

The avant-garde writer Samuel Beckett is considered difficult by many readers, but much of his wordplay becomes much clearer when read aloud, especially by narrator Stephen Hogan. Beckett’s prose carries much of the sonic burden of poetry, and when performed well, we can hear the music. The story involves philosophy (some of it invented), social satire (of the Irish Free State in the 1930s), and a love quadrangle–but Hogan keeps it all relatively clear with deft voices and accents. This complex text rewards careful study, which may not be possible with an audiobook, but this reading is a strong introduction to a Nobel Prize winner’s early work.

D.M.H. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine

THE SORRROWS OF YOUNG WERTHER – Audible Review

THE SORRROWS OF YOUNG WERTHER
By Johann Wolfgang von Goethe • Read by Leighton Pugh

“Werther is worth it!”

This is from UKEMI AUDIOBOOKS which produces an expanding selection of important works of the past superbly read – a wonderful way of absorbing those important books and writers you’ve never had the time or space to read. It took Goethe just six weeks to write The Sorrows of Young Werther but its impact throughout Europe following its publication in 1774 – from blue frockcoat and yellow waistcoat outfits, to copycat displays of sublime displays of exaggerated sensibilities and the whole sturm und drang Romantic movement – was sensational enough for it to deserve another 21st century life as a download. Especially as intelligently read as this is.

The novel is made up of Werther’s letters to his long-suffering but silent friend Wilhelm detailing his doomed-from-the-outset passion for the essence-of-goodness Lotte who is looking after all her younger siblings in what Werther sees as the Arcadian bliss of the countryside. From the start Werther knows she’s promised to the much older Albert whom she marries, but the very impossibility of ever winning her feeds his monster tear-filled passions and the outpouring of his exquisite suffering. Eventually he sees he must annihilate himself which he does with Albert’s pistols, taking twelve hours to die.

Werther (‘wert’ is German ‘worth’) is much concerned with worth. He questions the worth of living; the ‘the contemptible ambitions of rank’ of the worthless nobility; prizes the worth of Homer, Klopstock and Ossian ( although Werther reading Goethe’s translations of Ossian to Lotte really were an indulgence I could have done without!). There is a progression through the seasons with the flowers, trees and insects of early Summer and the burgeoning of Werther’s passion, through to the winter mists, storms and tragedies befalling rural locals as the inevitability of his suicide approaches.

There is so much torment and weeping and so on that the whole could become tiresome for a modern listener, but the narrator Leighton Pugh saves Werther was such a fate. It must have been a seriously difficult task (just as well it’s only 4½ hours!), but he creates Werther’s destructive anguish as not merely repetitive, but both pitiable and universally human, as well as illustrating the extreme but serious Romanticism which gripped its readers over 250 years ago and has spawned a Werther afterlife in literature and film.

So, yes, Werther is worth it!

Rachel Redford –10/02/2017 – Audible Review

THE ANTICHRIST • ECCE HOMO – Audible Review

THE ANTICHRIST • ECCE HOMO
By Friedrich Nietzsche

“Two Great Books”

These two books by Nietzsche are notorious, polemical, and insightful into the authors most intimate thoughts and revealing his character. The reading is of a superior nature and excellently done. The overall performance is only 4 stars because the books are based on older translations, however the conception of thought is still clearly presented except for some small nuances. Definitely a tremendous bargain and well worth the purchase price!

Juan Malo – 04/01/17 – Audible Review