This is a delicious novel by a superb author, and read by one of the all-time masters of narration. But the quality of the recording is so degraded it's virtually incomprehensible. The sound reminds me of recordings of radio broadcasts in the 1930's. Or like it's coming from deep under the water. Another reviewer mentioned this; I wish I'd sampled before I bought.
I really think Audible should lean on the books' publishers (Blackstone Audio in this instance) to come up with an earlier generation recording. It was published fairly recently (1999); there's no reason it has to be this bad.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Like an earlier reviewer, I stopped listening to this early into my initial attempt after a Dec. 2010 download (Format 4)---however, after a recent hard drive death, I re-downloaded several novels to find this one, now available in Enhanced format, much improved. Though the sound still has that "dated" feel, it's passable - and even if Frederic Davidson sounds in spots like he's popped a valium, overall, he seems to be having fun narrating this novel, so it's enjoyable.
Robertson Davies' strong narrative, excellent writing, and dry wit -- even in second rate sound quality -- surpass 90% of other listening available (and it's a bonus if you either love or hate Toronto!) I hope Audible resurrects or records "Murther & Walking Spirits" to complement "Cunning Man."
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to The Cunning Man again? Why?
The story is good but the narration is poor. On narration/editing, I counted 9 different occasions where the author re-read the same piece. Usually 1-2 sentences but sometimes up to 5 sentences. The narrator himself has a tone that makes the story seem tiresome rather that interesting of funny.
Loved the story and the erudite style of Robertson Davies. It is his. Typical engaging, witty style that mocks all his characters while romping through the story. Lots of classic references to the arts, music and literature in a way as to open them to the unaware, such as myself.
Sadly the recording is flawed. Not so much one cannot enjoy the story, but it is rather annoying. Chapters get two minutes in and them begin again with no warning. This is a bit disconcerting, leaving the listener wondering if he missed something. Also, it appears to be a hashing together of various efforts as the narrators voice and tone seem to change from section to section. Still, the story is good and the narrator effective. But the production is poor.
Id love to give this 5 stars but cannot due to the production.