A Christmas Carol [Simon & Schuster Version]

Customer Reviews

117 Ratings

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5 out of 5 stars
By Matthew on 10-22-07

An abosolute must have!

Brilliant, simply brilliant, a fantastic story, brought to new life by a fantastic performance by Patrick Stewart. Stewart doesn't just read the book, he acts it out vocally, in a true style of one of the greatest actors of our age. Definately the highest priority for this christmas.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Donna Marie Marshall on 12-23-17

Patrick Stewart is just amazing!

thoroughly enjoyed by myself and am looking forward to letting the kids listen in this time

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5 out of 5 stars
By OrElDuderino on 12-22-17

A Christmas Delight.

Patrick Stewart beings such warmth and such humanity to this, it's just perfect. Merry Christmas.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Skye on 12-18-17

Abridgement of such a short book?

Of course this is excellent. Classic story, the best reading of it I've ever heard, but abridging it ought to be criminalised, the penalty should be to read out War and Peace in its entirety.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 12-01-17

The Best Book In My Collection!

Patrick Stewart is absolutely phenomenal is this tale of joy and sorrow. It is brilliant

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5 out of 5 stars
By FictionFan on 03-02-17

Bah! Humbug! But then I love humbugs...

Any additional comments?

I had the great privilege some years ago of seeing Patrick Stewart’s one-man show of A Christmas Carol at The Old Vic theatre in London – one of the theatrical highlights of my life. At the time I was aware of him as Jean-Luc Picard of the Star Ship Enterprise and knew that he’d been a ‘proper’ Shakespearian actor before that. But seeing him perform Dickens’ wonderful story live was a revelation. This audio version is based on that performance.

A Christmas Carol must surely rate as the best ghost story of all time, and be on the shortlist at least for best short story. Dickens’ exuberant and larger-than-life style is perfectly suited to a tale of this nature, and it in turn is perfectly suited to the message of Christmas. We see Scrooge first as a mean and miserly old man, measuring out his clerk’s coal and objecting to losing a day’s work for Christmas. Our introduction to the ghost of Marley is truly scary – the clanking chains, the face on the door-knocker, the chimes of the clock; and who can forget the gaping jaw as Marley removes the kerchief tied around his head? The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come lead us through a turmoil of emotions as we see the lonely little boy, the young man who lost his one love, the gradual sinking into loneliness and miserliness, and the horror of what might be to come. But Dickens does redemption like no-one else, and he leads us away from the despair of Ignorance and Want towards a joyous and uplifting ending, where Scrooge gains his salvation through learning that to give to those less fortunate than himself brings him the pleasure and happiness he had forgotten could exist.

Stewart’s performance is superb. There’s no music, no sound-effects – he performs the whole thing completely with his voice, creating different personas for each character, each fully realised and totally individual. It is his voice that gives us the bells, the chimes of the clock – it’s through his voice that we hear the fear, the horror, the hope and finally the wondrous joy. When Scrooge learns to laugh at the end, I defy anyone not to laugh with him. When he sings a Christmas carol for the first time in years we hear his voice go through the stages from creaky and rusty to a full-scale boisterous bellow. And when he gives us Dickens’ last sugary-sweet line, he makes it so tender that even the cliché becomes truly moving.

This is an abridged version, running at just under two hours, but it’s so skilfully done I’m never really aware of what’s missing. It’s a once a year must-listen for me and I love it just as much each time. A masterly performance of a masterpiece, and guaranteed to boost your festive stock of goodwill to all men.

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