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Persuasion was the only Jane Austen novel I had not read so I recently decided to remedy that. Juliet Stevenson had cracked me up as the neurotic mother in Bend It Like Beckham, so I was sure I could count on her to bring out the comical side of the story (and Jane Austen always offers up some comedy). But I had no idea Stevenson was such a subtle and talented actress. As the omniscient narrator she sounds sensible, measured, and lovely. She delivers the story while not allowing the listener to get bogged down in Austen’s sometimes antiquated language. She successfully confers masculinity to the male voices without attempting to impersonate. And the women who are meant to be laughable, such as Anne’s sister Mary, with them she is ruthless. And it’s delightful.
In terms of the story – this is probably Jane Austen’s best. Pride and Prejudice will always be my long-standing favorite, having been the first book in my life that I couldn't put down, but Persuasion is Austen's smartest work, and you can sense her own maturity in it (it was her last completed novel). It takes the kind of characters we meet in her other novels and fast-forwards them ten years. These are grown women – not girls – dealing with love and loss, and learning about second chances.
69 of 72 people found this review helpful
Juliet Stevenson has a perfect voice to interpret the characters of Persuasion, especially those of the haughty Lord Elliot and his eldest daughter. Having watched her performance as the arrogant vicar's wife in the recent filming of "Emma", I felt that she would provide exactly the right tone. Watching other of her performances in more sympathetic roles also assured me that she would give a strong character to Anne. Very enjoyable.
29 of 32 people found this review helpful
I've never read any Austen before, but having lived in the UK now for 20 years I've kinda soaked up the period drama thang by osmosis and was pretty sure of what to expect - or so I thought ... While the plot was fairly straight forward, when it came to the characters Ms. Austen didn't shy away from baring her teeth and taking a merry bite at the crass and petty snobs that filled her society. I thoroughly enjoyed the way she took the p**s out of the families and their obsession with class and correctness, and exposed their hypocrisy - especially regarding the ethics of wealth and family honour: she did it with a keen eye and a wonderfully subtle wit. (I listened to the audiobook narrated by Juliet Stevenson, and her voicings really did help to grasp the characters' natures.) Thoroughly, and surprisingly, enjoyed!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
Oh what a joy this has been - and now it's all over! Beautifully read, with fine characterisation, this is my favourite Austen by a long chalk. The BBC did a fine adaptation a few years back (not the truly awful ITV one of a year or so ago) which gave me powerful visuals while I listened - what more can you want? I bought this in one of Audible's sales for very little, and it's been an absolute bargain; it's probably even worth its full price!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
I have read this story numerous times and now listened a few times! Thanks for an Audible version.
I never get tired of listening to this book. Performed brilliantly by Juliet Stevenson with accuracy and intimacy. You will sigh with Anne Elliot and cringe at her sisters. Very entertaining