Feeling bereft over here, having just finished 32 hours living in an English village where the intrigues range from crushing, star-crossed love to robust debate about who’s gonna run the hospital.
I listen to audiobooks more often than I read books these days. It’s not the same as reading a book, this audiobook thing. But I’m OK with it. In the case of Middlemarch, I was game for a long ride, but it flew by once I got the cadences of George Eliot’s writing in my head.
One of the great things about audiobooks is that you don’t have in your hands the answer to “How much more of the story is there?”
When reading a big, fat book, the dwindling page count can tell you that there’s not much time for certain characters to reappear or certain mysteries to be solved. But with an audiobook, if you’re clever, you can let the story spin and get yourself fully lost in a world, not knowing when the narrator is going to say “The End.”
The end of Middlemarch was such a shock. I couldn’t believe it!
As for the audiobook production, the narrator of the version I read, Maureen O’Brien, handles the dozens of characters well, though some of the women sound like bubbleheads when they’re not. And some of the menfolk have excessively gruff ManVoices. I think it would be fun to listen to this BBC Radio full-cast dramatization, though it’s only a measly four hours long. Or maybe this narration by Juliet Stevenson—I like the sound of her voice. And it clocks in at 35+ hours—more for your money!