Saturday, April 07, 2018

Me? Listen to Audio?! #13 My Victorian Year #14

Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence. Dramatized by Michael Butt. Directed by Claire Grove. Originally broadcast in 1999. Three one hour episodes. Starring Benedict Sandeford as Paul Morel, Elizabeth Estenson as Gertrude Morel, Clive Russell as Walter Morel, and Fiona Clarke as Miriam.

Sons and Lovers was one of the novels by D.H. Lawrence that I was required to read in college. I honestly can't remember if it was as an undergraduate and graduate since I had Dr. Greer as an undergrad and a grad student. I had largely forgotten the story. Though I did remember enough about it to know it didn't have a tidy, happy-happy ending.

My thoughts now...there is something SO creepy about this story. I felt an almost instant dislike to the mother in story. Paul, the narrator, first shares the unhealthy attachment between his brother, William, and their mother. After William's death, the role of most-favored son and reason for her existence is transferred to him. The book is about his relationships with the women in his life. His mother, primarily. But also the women whom he lusts after. Paul has an easy time lusting, but a near impossible job respecting women. The idea of marrying is so far removed from his head as is the idea of actually LOVING a person mind, body, soul. He doesn't want to "belong" to anyone but his mother.

I can't say it was a pleasure to revisit the novel. But I think the production was well done.

Anna Karenina. Leo Tolstoy. 1877. Dramatized by Ed Thomason. Originally broadcast in 1997. Four one-hour episodes. Stars Teresa Gallagher as Anna Karenina, Toby Stephens as Alexis Vronsky, Nicholas Farrell as Alexis Alexandrovich Karenin, etc. Directed by David Hitchinson. 

Anna Karenina was another novel I was assigned to read in college. Again for one of Dr. Greer's classes. I will say this: everything moves MUCH, MUCH faster in the audio drama! I think they cut out some of the side stories and minor characters. I don't remember them mentioning hay even once. The story is not a romance in my opinion. Unless you're one of those types that equate romance solely with tragedy. If a novel has to have a death or two or three for it to be romantic, then yes, it's a romance. I do feel it's more of a tragedy or drama. It is compelling in its own way.

As I was listening to this one, I was thinking how it would be near impossible to update and adapt this to a contemporary setting. For those few who may not be familiar with the story: Anna is a married woman who falls in love with a military officer, Alexie Vronsky. Her love for him will drive her to despair...the 'end' begins when she realizes she's pregnant with his child. She doesn't want to live with her husband anymore, yet, she doesn't feel able to actually be with her lover either...

The Old Curiosity Shop. Charles Dickens. 1841. Dramatized in 25 episodes by Mike Walker. Originally broadcast in 2002. Twenty-five fifteen minute episodes OR Five episodes of 75 minutes. Starring Emily Chennery as Nell, Alex Jennings as the Narrator, Trevor Peacock as Grandfather, Phil Daniels as Daniel Quilp and Ben Crowe as Dick Swiveller.

I've been listening to this one as it aired since March. I can't say that it makes me want to rush out and read the book. I'm sure it has some good points in its favor, but...I can't stand the villain. And WHY did Nell have to die?!?!

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
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  • apocalyptic fiction
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  • fantasy
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I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
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  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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