Archive | Reviews

BEWARE OF PITY

BEWARE OF PITY
By Stefan Zweig, Read by Nicholas Boulton

Nicholas Boulton’s performance of the only full-length novel of the great Stefan Zweig is impeccable, impassioned, and moving. Zweig’s storytelling here is old-fashioned, feeling almost Chekhovian at this remove. Set right before WWI, it’s a domestic tragedy told in the shadow of the looming destruction of a world and about a young Austrian cavalry officer trying to behave honorably to a rich but hysterically needy crippled girl with whom he is entangled. Boulton’s Lt. Hoffmiller is both an exotic to us and utterly familiar as a young man whose not-uncommon flaw is that he doesn’t understand his own emotions. Zweig’s achievement is to show what damage this can do on small stages or large; Boulton’s is to make us vibrate in sympathy with Hoffmiller. B.G.

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine

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THE SORROWS OF YOUNG WERTHER

THE SORROWS OF YOUNG WERTHER

Wolfgang von Goethe, Read by Leighton Pugh • Unabridged • OCTOBER 2017

Written in 1774 when Goethe was just 24, this short novel is a series of letters written by a young man in the throes of impossible love with a woman who is engaged to someone else. Leighton Pugh is marvelous in his role as narrator. Although the epistolary form means there’s little opportunity for multiple voices, Pugh changes the color and timbre of his narration in all the right spots, enlivening the text and ensuring that it never sounds like a monologue. One of the appeals of this classic work is that Werther is charming and likable, despite his heavy burden. Pugh’s narration is equally energetic, never maudlin, and helps listener empathize with the doomed title character.

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THE WORLD OF YESTERDAY

THE WORLD OF YESTERDAY
By Stefan Zweig Read by David Horovitch

David Horovitch’s sublime narration of Zweig’s haunting memoir matches excellence with excellence, style with style. Completed the day before he committed suicide in 1942, Zweig’s narrative is a bittersweet medley of nostalgia and despair, starting with the golden turn-of-the-century years when Vienna was the center of European intellectual and artistic activity, all of which was destroyed with the Nazi ascent in Austria. Film director Wes Anderson has reawakened interest in Zweig, an artist who was once Europe’s bestselling novelist—and who, in time, saw his books burned in public. Horovitch sounds as you imagine Zweig would sound and portrays Zweig’s sensibility, style, and moral compass perfectly, and indelibly. And, happily, if you are new to Zweig, a long list of his slim, elegant novellas awaits you on audio, in English, German, and French. D.A.W.

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine

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THE WORLD AS WILL AND IDEA VOLUME 1

THE WORLD AS WILL AND IDEA VOLUME 1 
By Arthur Schopenhauer • Read by Leighton Pugh

“There is no philosophy without Schopenhauer!!!!!” Where does The World as Will And Idea, Volume 1 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?As a member for more than 10 years , I was always on the look out for it..#1….

What other book might you compare The World as Will And Idea, Volume 1 to and why?The writings of Kant are in the same vein , but Kant is not as accesssible…

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CONUNDRUM

CONUNDRUM
By Jan Morris • Read by Roy McMillan

“”A troubled soul achieving serenity””

Published in 1974 Conundrum is Jan Morris’s account of her life from a four-year-old boy in a loving family convinced that unlike his older brothers he is a girl, to her full transition to a woman finally completed nearly four decades, a faithful wife and five much loved children later. Now in her nineties, she has written an insightful preface for this recording.

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LAND OF MEN (WIND SAND AND STARS)

LAND OF MEN
(WIND SAND AND STARS)
By Antoine de Saint-Exupéry • Read by Nicholas Boulton

“‘At the heart of mystery'”

In the 1930s and 40s Saint-Exupery was in the French Airforce flying flimsy unreliable little planes across frequently treacherous airmail routes over the oceans and Africa and South America. Land of Men (a direct translation of the original title Terre des hommes) is his account of his 1930s experiences, but not so much the narrative of them, as an extended meditation on ‘the heart of mystery’ which he finds whilst alone in the cockpit at the ‘whim of the winds’, the ‘something vast’ he sees in the corridors of moonlight beyond this flawed, earthly life.

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THE LETTERS OF PLINY THE YOUNGER

THE LETTERS OF PLINY THE YOUNGER
By Pliny the Younger • Read by Leighton Pugh

“Roman life brilliantly illuminated!”

Pliny the Younger was born around 61AD and rose to become Consul in 100AD. His letters to his wife, friends and officials including the historian Tacitus and Emperor Trajan are full of detail, wisdom and humanity. They create a luminous picture of Roman life for a man of his wealth and stature. Leighton Pugh’s measured narration reflects the kindly thoughtfulness of Pliny’s writing. I never tire of his voice (even after over 12 hours!) – it’s as though Pliny is talking.

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THE MABINOGION

THE MORAL EPISTLES
By Charlotte Guest • Read by Richard Mitchley

“Get to the end and heaven reward thee!”

Those who are familiar with the Welsh stories of the Mabinogian will relish this excellent narration of the tales with Richard Mitchley’s subtle Welsh lilt and his skill at rolling off his tongue the multitude of mellifluous Welsh names. For those like me for whom The Mabinogian is merely a never-read name, as well as enjoying the narration, listening to the stories will be an absolute joy-fest.

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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.

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