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If you've seen Stanley Kubrick's film of "Barry Lyndon," you know the story but not the character. Ryan O'Neal played Barry Lyndon as a rather tender innocent who becomes spoiled by exposure to cheats and tricksters, but Thackeray's Barry Lyndon was quite a different person. He is boastful, conceited, loud-mouthed, a lecher, a gambler, a blackmailer, a liar, and a drunk. "I never struck my wife but when I was in liquor," he comments at one point, as if it was sufficient justification. In other words, he is one of the great anti-heroes of fiction, a man who manages to insult his mother as pretentious, long-winded and vain in the same moment as he is praising her loyalty. Thackeray was making fun of the so-called Irish nobility, who claimed to be descendants of kings while living in "castles" little better than hovels, and "Barry Lyndon" is a satire painted in broad, comic strokes. Jonathan Keeble's reading is one of the finest I've heard in the course of listen to over a hundred Audible titles. He wrings every comic drop from the text, even getting a good laugh just by his interpretation of Thackeray's blanks ("the Duke of ___"). I can't imagine anyone giving a better performance of this text. Thoroughly enjoyable.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
I saw the Kubrick film 'Barry Lyndon' growing up and always enjoyed the smart narration between scenes. Especially the line at the ending "we are all the same in the end". You'll probably have to listen to the early chapters twice-over to start understanding the prose easily, but after decompressing it's very enjoyable. My favorite chapters so far are on Minden & the Military. Strong anti-war coming from a victorian author, go figure.
Johnathan Keeble is an excellent reader here. Will be keeping an eye out for his other productions.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful