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A Reader of Fictions: I Live for You - George Harrison

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I Live for You - George Harrison

A Tale of Two Cities

Author: Charles Dickens
Narrator: Simon Prebble
Duration: 14 hrs, 43 mins
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks

Okay, so, to be entirely affair, I confess that, for reasons I will go into greater detail about later, I did not manage to pay too much attention to this audiobook. The result of which is that I have only a vague idea of what happened. I mean, I think I have the overarching plot pretty firm in my mind, but if there were subtle beauties here, they were lost to me.

From what I did gather, A Tale of Two Cities is never going to be a favorite Dickens novel for me. Really, it was going to be either his best, most original work or his least good, failed attempt at novelty. His bread and butter was writing about those suffering in England, the poverty, the terrible schools, the diseases, the hypocrisy. Here, he is tackling the French Revolution, which is something rather different.

My biggest problem, as with so many of the books I do not like, is that I did not connect with any of the characters. The narrative does not really focus on anyone in particular. The omniscient narrator is definitely high above everyone looking down, and, to me, no one looks all that interesting. The bad guys, the good guys...all of them struck me as really blah.

Sydney Carton is the one I think I'm supposed to sympathize or empathize with. I mean, what could be more romantic than giving up your life so that the woman you love can be happy. Umm, how about you both loving each other and getting to be together? Is that just me? I have never thought tragic, doomed, unrequited, etc. romances were romantic. Romeo and Juliet does not thrill me either. And, really, the reason Sydney doesn't get the girl is that he's kind of an ass. Just sayin'. Also, I really don't get his noble sacrifice. In the real world, would he ever have been able to swap himself in for the guillotine? Because I doubt it.

From my imperfect trip through this novel, I would recommend going back and watching the Wishbone episode instead of reading it, but, again, I may be wrong.

Now, you may be wondering how on earth I spent over 14 hours of my life listening to a novel and end up having very little idea of most of what happened within that book. Well, here's how. Simon Prebble has narrated a lot of things, which must mean a lot of people think he's a really great narrator. I do not however.

Prebble seems to have just the wrong voice for me. I don't know if I'm unique in this or not, but I literally cannot pay attention to his voice. Part of the joy of audiobooks is that you can read and do other things (laundry, your dishes, pet the cat, rake the lawn, grocery shopping, drive, etc.). I have done so with all of the ones I have listened to. With this one, though, I could not pay attention. Desperate, I tried reading along with the audiobook. Even then, it took every bit of brain power for me to focus on this man.

You may think I'm exaggerating, but I'm really not. Something about Prebble's voice made me tune out, and tuning back in was pretty much impossible. This was just the strangest and most unfortunate experience. There are narrators I've hated more, but I missed nothing. How is that possible?

Rating: 1/5

I dedicate today's song to Sydney Carton, who lived (and died) for his love. She seems to have been the one person who could make him act like a human being.

"All alone in this world am I
Not a care for this world have I
Only you keep my eyes open wide

Yes it's true

I live for you"

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it hard to accept that your inability to attend to this book has anything to do with Mr. Prebble's wonderful performance. If it had, you would have turned it off and read the book. It is a classic for a reason: it is enduringly one of the finest works in the English language. And yes, Mr. Prebble is well thought of. He has narrated over 400 audiobooks, from all genre, has an Audie Award, 15 Audie finalists, was named Narrator of the Year by Publisher's weekly, and was Booklist's Voice of choice, among other honors. We all have our individual tastes but I do like both the book and the narration. I bought it and will hear it many times over.


January 9, 2012 at 5:07 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

I suspect that it may have something to do with my particular auditory response to his voice, or the way his voice is for this particular book, as sometimes narrators vary the way they speak for different books. For example, I loathed Bronson Pinchot's narration on one book and enjoyed it on two others, and he sounded almost entirely different in all three.

For me, this was a tough listen. I had my own reasons for finishing the audiobook rather than obtaining a print copy, namely that I was asked to do so.

I listened to this audiobook in the same way I listened to all of the others, which is that, for the most part, I multitasked. I had trouble with this one where I did not with pretty much any other I have listened to.

However, I am not setting out to demonize Mr. Prebble; I'm glad other people get great joy out of his work. It would be sad if everyone had the same reaction to him.

January 9, 2012 at 5:41 PM  

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