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I was reluctant to listen to a book read by a screen actor, and one I don't particularly love. I thought the creators would be selling the name rather than a gifted reader. I was wrong. Not only did Jake Gyllenhall read the story well, he did so in an almost whispered style that I think captured the book's subtlety in supreme manor. I can highly recommend this audiobook.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
I was pretty excited when I saw this release. I hadn't read The Great Gatsby before, but I was aware of the soon to be released movie. I am a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal as an actor and I was curious about how his first audiobook narration would go.
To be honest, the listening was very dissapointing. From the very beginning I noticed how Gyllenhaal was merely whispering his way through the book. At first I thought this was needed to keep a nostalgic mood for the novel introduction, but the pace, tone and volume kept exactly the same till the end.
I even wondered wether Jake was trying very hard to sound what, sexy? Except that didn't work when he had to switch between different characters. When dialog occured, I had a very hard time distinguishing what character was supposed to be talking, the voice-acting being so plain. Only Tom and Gatsby sounded distinct (if not cued by hearing "oldsport" at the end of every Gatsby's line). Appart from them, even male and female characters were undistinguishable from each other, for they all had the same dull, muted voice of Nick, the narrator.
Also, there's lack of emotion everywhere. Not even lines like "oh my god" (hint: near the end) sound convincing enough to me. When characters are supposed to be really angry, Jake makes them sound like presenting their arguments as-a-matter-of-fact-ly. Several times I found myself mentally repeating the lines with my own expression added to it, in order to try and enjoy the novel a bit more.
Unfortunately, there's something else to add. There are several occasions in which listeners will notice audio editing, (i.e. cut and paste voice clips in the right place), like when the narrator does a mistake during recording and has to do a second take, but resumes from few words behind (presumably after a comma) instead of reading again the whole parragraph. You can tell where's the cut because of the change in Gyllenhaal's breath or the apparent variation in distance to mic (different envelope or openness sound).
As for the story... I didn't like it. But I can't tell to what extent the negative experience was due to the narration performance. It could simply be a different writing style than I was expecting, though. As I stated before, I didn't know the story before.
Bottom line: I don't recommend this audiobook. I sincerely hope Gyllenhaal gets better at narrating if he seeks this path.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Where does The Great Gatsby rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Sadly, it seems my take on the narration for this book, is somewhat different to the opinions of others...
I like Jake Gyllenhaal's acting, but his vocals in this story, didn't capture me at all. In fact, his monotone voice with lack of excitement, left me missing various important parts of the story as my mind wandered for something less dreary.
Great story, but I'm glad I had a re-wind button to re-listen to the bits I drifted off to...
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
This is a beautifully written and narrated examination of superficiality and materialism and in America in the interwar years. It highlights the desire for money and things, drawing attention to the emptiness that can accompany the unconstrained search for more and more. The powerful symbols of Gatsby's house and the eyes of Dr T J Eckleberg, reveal the dominance of commercialism and the hollowness of the continuous search for wealth and recognition. When things go wrong it all collapses in a heap and there's barely a relationship that survives Gatsby's violent end.
Great story, beautifully written, well narrated, and probably more deeply evocative than the multi-million dollar movie. Maybe money can't buy it all, after all?!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
A classic & beautiful novel, very vivid in description. Make me want to read more classics. The audio was excellent, makes it feel just like the writer would have wanted.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I listened to it in one sitting as I went about housework. Was a really easy listen.