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Would you listen to Stephen Fry Presents a Selection of Oscar Wilde's Short Stories again? Why?
I'm not sure if I would listen again. I love listening to Stephen Fry, regardless of what he's reading, really. But the tone of this collection of short stories left me in a peculiar mood. I was not very familiar with much of Wilde's work, I have read one or two plays, but never his stories like these. They were fable-like, contained lots of moral lessons...but not in your usual bedtime story or fairytale manner. They were portrayed in a very cynical, pessimistic, sometimes almost defeated sounding way. If the author wrote them intending a commentary on the degradation of society and drowning out of innocent good in the world, lost to pompery and selfishness, he succeeded in sharing his disillusionment.
What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?
They were interesting to me because they made me experience a new emotional reaction, and a memorable one because it defied my expectations. Every one of the stories had incredible imagery, and painted scenes more real and often more heart-wrenching than your average short-story. Though they contained vivid characters, both noble and ridiculous, and good stories, they left me feeling a little unfulfilled in their conclusions because though the plots formed and progressed and ended, for the most part they don't follow a satisfying pattern of problems being solved, protagonists succeeding, antagonists becoming enlightened and changing their ways, and good triumphing over evil.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Really, every story moved me, but the two that have struck me the most and pulled at my heart-strings still, days and days after listening, were the moments of the self-sacrifice of the birds in both "The Happy Prince" and "The Nightingale and The Rose", both for the good of a man/mankind, and both unappreciated by the world.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Stephen Fry Presents a Selection of Oscar Wilde's Short Stories in three words, what would they be?
warm, heartfelt, thoughtprovoking
Have you listened to any of Stephen Fry’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
Just as excellent as every else he has done. (yes I am a Fry fan!)
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
no, this is a treat to dip into
Any additional comments?
This was a lovely listen, perfect for a cool winter's night to cuddle up and listen to the mesmerising voice of Stephen Fry. The imagery is beautiful and there is always a sting to make you think. It is like having a favourite uncle read to you.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
These short, but entertaining, stories are a big hit with both my 'near teenage' son and my 20 year old daughter. Stephen's voice is, as always, a pleasure to listen to; and the stories are both entertaining and engaging.
I recommend this for a car journey where you want everyone to just calm down.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
Having seen the other reviews, I was wary of this product & thought it may prove to be a flat note in Stephen Fry's/ Oscar Wilde's repertoire. Happily both were on top form with Oscar Wilde writing some devilishly clever stories, with his protegee Stephen Fry giving just the right voice to do them justice.
All in all, there are 6 stories (including a story-within-a-story) at 15- 30 minutes a piece, so they are manageable in a long car journey/ walk. They are as follows:
1) The Devoted Friend
2) The Happy Prince
3) The Nightingale and the Rose
4) The Remarkable Rocket
5) The Selfish Giant
6) The Young King
With all the stories I was expecting them to be either old fashioned or babyish. Fortunately they are neither & you can see why Fry says on the back cover that 'I do not mind admitting that at the recording some passages were hard to read out loud without choking'.
Like the 'Stephen Fry Presents - Short Stories by Anton Chekhov', though, I have the same nagging grievance - why is it only 6 stories & 2 hours 14 minutes of material? Fair enough that Wilde wrote few short stories, but a double album with the Chekhov stuff (or better still with some of Wilde's under-rated poetry) would have made a much more desirable product.
That said, I can think of few instances where a great narrator has been so perfectly matched with an author. Wilde & Fry are very much cut from the same cloth & Fry has even made a film playing his doupelganger.
The only thing I can think of comparable to this pairing is that of Dawkins reading Darwin on 'On The Origin of Species' & I wonder why it is not done more often.
Can anyone imagine The Queen reading 'Queen Victoria's Journals', or Terry Pratchett reading 'The Lord of the Rings'? It would give a whole new meaning to the phrase 'bringing a book to life'...
9 of 9 people found this review helpful