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This has always been one of my favorite audiobooks. It was one of the first unabridged audiobooks I ever listened to, on a set of cassette tapes checked out from the local library. After listening to it again, I'm struck by the unique collaboration between Jane Austen and Flo Gibson: both are here at the absolute top of their game.
Austen is sometimes characterized as superficial, more interested in the economics of marriage than in the "higher feelings." But the economics were important, and in any case it would be hard to think of another character more defined by genuine, deep feeling than Elizabeth Bennet.
There is darkness here. It's not just in large things, like the frankly described disgrace that follows Lydia's impulsive attachment to Wickham. (Austen would never use the word "sex," at least not in reference to sex; but she leaves no doubt about what Lydia and Wickham are up to, or what it means for the family in the conservative, judgmental world of the novel.) There are small tragedies scattered throughout the novel. Charlotte's marriage to the odious Mr Collins is one: she has to endure constant embarrassment at the hands of her ridiculous husband; but worse, a wall drops down between her and Lizzie, a wall that does, in fact, put a permanent end to their former intimacy.
The ending may be a fairy tale for Jane and Lizzie, but others are not so lucky. Mary remains at home with her parents, forced to leave aside her own pursuits, pathetic as they are, to listen to her mother's endless babbling. And Lydia and Wickham never learn: they wander from house to house and town to town, always looking for a situation they can afford, always leaving behind debts and diminished reputations.
Gibson's voice is a bit raspy, not at all the kind of lilting sound you'd expect from the prose itself. And yet one after another, she captures the essence of each of Austen's brilliant characters, from the insufferable Collins, to the eccentric and (later) regretful Mr Bennet, to the generous and impertinent glory of Elizabeth Bennet herself. Over and over again, I found myself laughing at loud, both at Austen's wit and Gibson's perfect articulation of it.
I've tried to listen to other readings of the book, but for me none of the others comes close.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I really enjoyed this audio ebook. It was really easy to listen along too. I quite often closed my eyes whilst listening and would picture in my mind the story as it rolled along.<br/>I dont beleive you will go wrong in following Flo Gibson as she is quite good, and the way that she changes tones and pace to suit the characters, really gives this book justice and merit. Well done, and I am certainly going to be looking for more narations by Flo Gibson.
What did you like best about this story?
The narration is great, and gives the whole book feeling.
Which character – as performed by Flo Gibson – was your favorite?
Mr Darcy is well done
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes , i just didnt want to turn my Kindle off, as i really enjoyed it,, Like a good book, once you start it , you just cant put it down,,
5 of 5 people found this review helpful