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Narrator has quite an update usual style. Wasn't sure if I liked it at first but grew to appreciate his artistic approach. His characters and accents were really good too. Excellent story, quite believable as Harris always seems to be, with a nice "Russian" kind of tone to it, reminded me of Dostoevskij or Tolstoy a little.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of Archangel to be better than the print version?
Michael Kitchen (of Foyle's War fame) reads this books so beautifully, sometimes it just made me smile. (Even though there was nothing to smile at in the story.) His narration made even the most despicable characters almost charming--and most of the characters in this book are not especially likeable.
What did you like best about this story?
Considering the book was first published in 1998, just as Putin came to power for the first time, I found some of Harris' predictions for the future of Russia quite prescient.
Which scene was your favorite?
I wouldn't say there was a scene I "liked" best, because the book is about such a dystopian world, most of the scenes are quite horrific. But the writing was so good, you believe it could really have happened that way.
If you could take any character from Archangel out to dinner, who would it be and why?
Most of the characters in the book are not very likeable and I don't think I'd like to have dinner with any of them! However, Michael Kitchen is welcome any time!
Any additional comments?
The only thing I found confusing at times, is the book moves back and forth in time a lot at the beginning and I did get lost a few times and have to go back and listen again. (Not, that that was a hardship--just another excuse to hear Michael Kitchen's melodious voice.) In the printed book there were breaks on the page when this happened, but the pauses weren't long enough in the recording to know, at first, that this was happening.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book written by Robert Harris or narrated by Michael Kitchen?
I've read/listened to a number of Robert Harris books. I loved the Cicero trilogy: that was what bought me to this author. This was a disappointment.
Would you recommend Archangel to your friends? Why or why not?
No. Interesting premiss but it became ungrounded and unbelievable and ended up as a cliche-ridden caper in the snow.
With Trump in the US and a slide towards the right in Europe, the issue of the attraction of psychopathic dictators seems even more pertinent than it was when Archangel was written. The chases, the shoot-outs, the double crosses and the Son-of-Stalin-supervillain didn't treat the subject matter with the gravitas it deserved. The reality of Trump and Putin is worse than the spectre Archangel conjures.
Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Michael Kitchen?
David Rintoul has done quite a good job on other Harris outings. No one can touch Bill Wallis, but he is no longer available.
I am usually an admirer of Michael Kitchen but his staccato delivery and absolute determination to find unusual stresses and avoid anything approaching a 'lush' reading left me alienated and vaguely irritated throughout. His style distracted from the content. I was regularly left wondering why he'd chosen to stress certain words and missed chunks of the story.
On top of that, the thing was terribly badly recorded, with sudden changes in sound level and patches where a section or even just a few sentences had been re-recorded and dropped in without any attempt to balance sound levels or match the vocal tone. The opening was particularly bad. Lots of poor edits. Very off-putting.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Have to admit to being hopelessly lost in the beginning because of the number of aged communists - couldn't recall who was who- probably a function of listening, rather than reading this... Once the number of new characters being introduced settles down a good twisting listen although I was left at the end somewhat thinking "so what" ...
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Fascinating and riveting! Harris's vivid almost palpable depictions of characters and settings superbly dramatised by one of the best narrators around, Michael Kitchen! Despite an unauthentic American accent, he succeeds in developing each character, and offering to the listener an intimate portrayal of Harris's panoply of personae; his modulation of timbre and pacing creating a sense of atmosphere that is almost visceral.