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The novel is incredible and this audiobook provides an unabridged edition - this is important because many who are familiar with Pierre these days are familiar with the abridged edition edited by Herschel Parker and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. I personally appreciate this full unabridged edition and find it indispensable to an understanding of Melville and his work.
It is easy to call the novel itself "flawed," as indeed it has been so called, but it's quality is of the sort that rather than having virtues and flaws it rather seems like a titanic mountain with crags and gorges, roughly but beautifully complex in its textures. If you enjoy Melville in general, the narrative voice in this novel is frankly lovable. Listening to it in audiobook form, I felt as if wearing this lovely narrative voice like a cloak. I am loath to cast it off!
Robin Field's reading is generally excellent and his tone, especially as narrator, is quite fine for this writing. However, I did occasionally wince at his reading of female voices - sometimes a little too much of the "damsel in distress" tone that male readers are sometimes wont to fall into. But it is a minor quibble (and some of that tone is in the writing as well, though not so much as it sounds in the recording), especially considering that this is really the only recording of Pierre that I am aware of that is a professional production, and unabridged to boot. Overall, highly recommended!
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