Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Persuasion Audiobook Read by Olivia Williams

Sadly, I don't like audiobooks, but if I did, I would buy this one! I have heard raving comments about Olivia Williams' (Jane Austen, Miss Austen Regrets, Jane Fairfax, Emma 1996) reading of Persuasion. It clocks in at 7 hours, 45 minutes, and is available to download from Silk Sound Books.

Being seen to be left on the shelf at the advanced and spinsterish age of twenty-seven was something Jane Austen knew about only too well. In Persuasion she uses the dry yet merry voice of Anne Eliot, the heroine and one of the most popular female characters in English literature, to tell this story about the ridiculous sport of trying to find a decent husband.

Jane Austen wrote the novel when she was forty and actually thoroughly happy with her position on the shelf, and her confidently funny take on life as an unmarried woman and the daftness of the level of worry that a girl has to go through before eventually finding the ideal match shines through this glorious book.

Olivia Williams’ calmly witty reading for silksoundbooks of Anne’s expedition through the beautiful but vicious salons of eighteenth century British society is a wicked joy. This is Austen at her best; funny, warm, sharp and ultimately powerful in her description of how to survive the persuasions of those around us who think they know what it is to be successful.

Pic: Amanda Root and CiarĂ¡n Hinds from Persuasion 1995 from: Quizilla


Icha said...

Michelle, so sorry I missed this lovely post! I;ve been back in the field, and rather busy with my stuffs here.

I love Williams' steady voice, and I do think that she would deliver a great audio book, whatever I feel of her MAR is irrelevant.

I shall return the morrow with a gorgeous JA quote from Linda!

Michelle said...

Hi Icha ... it sounds frantic over there - take care of yourself! I love Williams' voice too, and I've read great things about her dry interpretation of Persuasion. I think there is an sample clip, actually ...

Unknown said...

Persuasion is quite a sad novel and the least "wickedly funny" of them all. The persuasion of the title doesn't refer to society's pull for all women to find a suitable husband, rather it refers to the persuasion that the main character succumbs to, against her wishes and against her better judgement, NOT to marry the man she loves. It is a novel full of regret and sadness but in my opinion, it is the most compelling and engaging novel that Jane Austen had ever written. It is her masterpiece.

Lisa of Longbourn said...

Olivia Williams' reading brings out the wit in Persuasion that I tend to read over. I mean, you know that Sir Walter is ridiculous, but the things he says and that are said about him are sharper than I'd noticed.

In Miss Austen Regrets, Olivia Williams reads several sections of Persuasion aloud (it's the book she's working on during the movie), so when I found out that she did an entire audio book, I was thrilled. Still in the process of reading it, though!
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn