Good Reading : March 2009
REVIEWED BY ELIZABETH BENTLEY audio word of mouth Revolution; its message may be even more relevant today. BBC Audio has drawn together an Frankenstein Based on the novel by Mary Shelley N early 200 years after the original story was written by a precocious teenage girl, Frankenstein is still powerful enough to send a collective shudder through our imaginations. Its allegorical warning against pushing scientific and industrial boundaries was directed at the excesses of the Industrial The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society Mary Ann Shaffer I f you loved SeaChange, the TV series aired on the ABC a few years ago, it’s Good Read Banner Ad Mar09 19/12/08 1:45 PM Page 1 confusing love life, the Society members an even bet you’ll probably quite enjoy this touching and lighthearted novel. Set in Britain in 1946, it follows the correspondence between a writer, Juliet Ashton, and a bunch of close-knit oddballs who have just lived through several years of German occupation on Guernsey, one of the Channel Isles. Juliet is looking for a new idea for a book, and the stories told by the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society members are too rich to pass up. While Juliet tries to sort out her illustrious cast, which includes Michael Maloney as Victor Frankenstein and John Wood as the Creature. For those of you who have been cryogenically frozen since early childhood, the story follows the misfortunes of an eager young scientist who reaches beyond the natural forces of life and death to create a creature in his own name. Unfortunately, he reckons without the Creature’s own feelings on the matter. When he denies his creation a bride, the Creature exacts a terrible revenge on his animator. Superbly produced and suitably atmospheric, this dramatisation of the world’s first sci-fi offers much food for thought about our current efforts to become masters of the universe. ??? BBC Audio $29.95 2 CDs (2 hours) hope for news of one of their own, imprisoned by the Nazis and yet to return. The love story is charming, if predictable – the real gems here are the stories told by the inhabitants about what it was like living under enemy occupation. The tales themselves are too weird not to feel true. I have to admit, when I first began listening to Australian Taylor Owynns doing Juliet’s breezy, upper-crust Brit accent, I winced a little. But after a while I forgot my snobbery and began to lose myself in the colourful characters of Guernsey. Deftly told and thoroughly engaging from first to last. ???? Vision Australia $54.95 7 CDs (8.5 hours) Spine Chillers M R James Narrated by Derek Jacobi Apparently he wrote many of his stories to be read aloud by candlelight to friends on Christmas Eve. And while candlelight would perhaps be more appropriate, if ever there was a voice that can make the bright Sydney sunshine seem quietly oppressive, it’s Derek Jacobi’s. His plummy accents and deliberate rhythm effortlessly draw the listener into a chill and eerie world, where weird and terrible energies are set loose upon the unsuspecting. These five adaptations were M originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4. In Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad, Professor Parkins discovers a strange object while golfing. The Tractate Middoth sees a young curator, an evil old man and his beautiful relation caught up in a race to find a mysterious manuscript from the library stacks. The Rose Garden offers a warning to all home improvers, when a wicked spirit is unleashed while a couple tries to remove an unsightly old summer house. The plays do take a little time to get your head around, as the BBC have a tendency to use similar sounding actors and there isn’t the time to flesh out the characters. Best to give them your full attention. ??? BBC Audio $24.95 1 CD (1 hour 15 minutes) Buy one Paul Temple title and receive a 50% discount on a second title. There’s an audiobook for everyone at Available from ABC Shops, ABC Centres and all good bookstores. Home delivery ph 1300 360 111 or visit abcshop.com.au MARCH 2009 i goodreading 37 R James is the acknowledged master of the spooky tale.