In Monday’s feature, The Pink Chair: Where’s My 1984, Narrated by Simon Vance?, I talked a little bit about rights and mentioned that Blackstone Audio, Inc. currently holds the exclusive rights to the straight narration of 1984 (by George Orwell.) Though you can’t get the audiobook as narrated by Simon Vance, I happen to think that the audiobook produced by Blackstone is pretty good! In fact, it’s one of the titles in my personal Pantheon of All-Time Great Audiobooks! Some other people think it’s pretty good too because it was a 2008 Audie Award Finalist in the category of Classics. LOL, I always love validation of my good tastes!
I listened to the audio in January of 2009 and below is my journal entry from that time:
by George Orwell
narrated by Simon Prebble
> For those who have not read “1984” or read it and forgotten it, “1984” is a novel published in 1949 about the totalitarian society that George Orwell imagined in place by 1984. Superficially, it is an expression of the post-war zeitgeist, which was still tainted with the bitter after-taste of Nazism, Fascism and, confronted with new fears of Stalinism and The Atomic Age. On a more academic level, it is a political treatise about citizen complacency and, the mechanics and motives for power. The story itself contains finely wrought tension and sere descriptions of time, place, and character. There is a horrific quality to the story and you need to remind yourself that, this is a work of fiction. This is a near definitive narration of a novel, SP shaping the text with nuance and boldness alike. Small narration and production issues prevented me from grading this higher: A slight lisp tended to spike against the eardrums a bit, causing me to change out headsets to more forgiving speakers; The narrator sounded a slightly rushed in the final tracks; The overall recording is mastered at a very high volume causing me to lower the gain and; finally, there wasn’t an auditory cue to delineate the end of the story from the Appendix (even a longer pause would have been nice.)
Other Stuff: I borrowed a MP3-CD edition of 1984 from Blackstone Audio, Inc. The production issues mentioned above may have since been or probably were taken care of since then; so you need to take my comments with a grain of salt