The Last Chronicle of Barset : Chronicles of Barsetshire

  • by Anthony Trollope
  • Narrated by Timothy West
  • Series: Chronicles of Barsetshire
  • 30 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this, the last of the Barsetshire novels, many familiar characters appear, but the mood of the novel is darker and more uneasy than in earlier volumes.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Clever Mr. Trollope

This is one of the few Trollope novels I had not read. It re-introduces several characters from earlier Barchester Chronicles, wrapping up their storylines. But, to be honest, I had encountered them so many years ago, I couldn't really remember them. So I am pleased to report that this book holds up entirely on its own, as a lovely, comic and touching conclusion to Trollope's clerical novels. I found myself walking miles further because I was on tenterhooks about the fate of these gentle (or ambitious or exasperating) characters, shrewdly characterized by Timothy West. And it contains a long passage about the end days of an aging cleric, whose goodness, mildness and acceptance are both utterly believable, and piquantly contrasted with those among whom he lives, that I pulled over to weep. Whereas Dickens often portrays goodness as treacle, Trollope never loses sight of his characters as people in a closely observed world.
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- Michele Kellett

A touch bleak but all the ends neatly tied off

I have listened to all six of the Chronicles one after the other with no other books read or listened to between them. One could almost say it was a baptism by complete immersion. That it might have been, but it has meant that it has convinced me that Trollope was a man of total brilliance.

I was in search of a new Jane Austen or rather of gentle comedy of manners in a historical setting. I didn't want abject poverty and daily struggle, or anger, swindle and darsteadly deeds - I've tasted Dickens and he's not to my taste and the Bronte clan with their overwhelming poverty doesn't leave me enlightened just melancholic but Anthony Trollope has delighted me to my very core.

Trollope is a master of characterisation and observation. His main characters are fleshed out and truly appear three dimensional and his minor characters only slightly less so. The pace of the action never gallops along but neither does it dawdle. His humour is gentle, sometimes obvious but always witty. Several times I have been caught laughing out loud.

The Last Chronicle was a bit bleaker than the previous ones but throughout it all and that despite the apparent hopelessness of the situation you knew somehow it would turn out right for all concerned. Characters from the entire series appeared in this last book and it was delightful to have them drop by.

Trollope has the wonderful habit of finishing each novel by tying up the ends of each of the story lines nice and neatly. You are not left wondering what might have happened. At the end of this last book everyone of the story lines were finished off and there was a sense of completeness, total conclusion and satisfaction. I was sad that it was over but there was no sense of doubt, wonder or concern about the fate of a character which was rather uplifting. I wish more books and even movies would do this!

A word about Timothy West - he has to be one of the best narrators. To take on the task of narrating over 120 hrs of book with probably as many characters must be daunting at least but he took it in his stride and brought the books alive with his characterisations. Narration is not acting, there's no positioning, no visual aids to assist with the action, it is voice alone. The voice of the author telling his story and the speech of the different characters, Timothy West did it all with the greatest of aplomb. He was perfect for these books.

Listening to the Chronicles has made me a fan of Trollope and I shall be seeking out more of his books. If you like Jane Austen you will like Anthony Trollope, her literary honorary grandson if you will! If you are looking for a gentle tale among England's green and pleasant pastures in the 1850s this is for you, no windswept moors, no blackened cities, no continually failing crops or trouble at mill. I will be back to visit Barsetshire again in the future and after over 100 hrs of listening you can't get a bigger recommendation than that!

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- Neil Chisholm

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-01-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios