Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Oedipus The King by Sophocles / Ishmael by Mary Elizabeth Braddon / The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M Cain

Oedipus the King by Sophocles
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Buy the audiobook download from Audible via Amazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

Oedipus The King was my second AudioSYNC audio download of the current season, after The Time Machine and, based on these two, I'm very glad to have been let in on the secret of this programme.

It took me about fifteen minutes to really get into this play of Oedipus The King. Not being familiar with the characters, I found it tricky to work out who was who purely from their voices - evan failing initially to recognise Michael Sheen. The device of male and female voice speaking together with underlying echo was mystical, but also unclear via my headphones so I missed out on some meaning there. However, once the play took off it had great pace and a dramatic story. I liked the portrayal of Oedipus from all powerful to sheer desperation and the sound effects greatly enhanced the atmosphere.


Ishmael by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Buy the ebook from Amazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the hardback from Waterstones

My copy of Ishmael was another of the books I downloaded from ForgottenBooks, recommended in their daily email. It was highly praised and rightly so.

Set mostly in Paris from the 1840s to the 1860s, Ishmael primarily tells the story of Sebastien Caradec who is born to a woman of failing circumstances and strives to make his place in the world under his own steam. The novel includes lots of detail of both society living and extreme poverty of the period. Fascinating descriptions and several grotesque characters bring the seedier aspects of Paris to life. The complicated political situations are also vital to the story as the city undergoes a major change during the decades.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed Ishmael. The writing is dated in its style but fits with the period of the novel so this adds to the atmosphere. Sebastien is a perfect romantic leading man and I was intrigued to discover the lives of the people surrounding him. Perhaps Ishmael's only fault would be that it began to feel overlong with about a hundred pages to go, but then picked up pace again towards the satisfying conclusion.


The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Buy the audiobook download from Audible via Amazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

My version of The Postman Always Rings Twice was an Audible download read by Stanley Tucci whose style very much reminded me of Matt Dillon's reading of On The Road. TPART is a crime novella so there isn't a great deal of character development. Frank is a drifter who stumbles into a casual job and takes a shine to the owner's wife. Said wife, Cora, married to escape her previous life but doesn't like the one she's ended up in either. I didn't find them sympathetic at all until the point where Cora starts believing that she can make a go of the diner.

The intricate plotting of TPART is great fun to unravel so I mostly enjoyed the story for this reason. I wasn't convinced by Frank and Cora's frequent declarations of love though and this resulted in an interesting conundrum. Did either really care about the other or were they confusing need and want for deeper emotion?


View all my reviews on Stephanie Jane or on Goodreads

No comments:

Post a Comment