Friday, November 19, 2010

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (audiobook)

As part of the Everything Austen Challenge last year, I listened to Emma, Mansfield Park, and Sense and Sensibility on audiobook. I really enjoyed listening to these classic Austen novels and feel that her books work particularly well as part of the audiobook medium. This year as part of the Everything Austen Challenge II, I have listened to Austen’s remaining works; Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, and now Pride and Prejudice.

For those you that are missing out on one of my all-time favorite books, Pride and Prejudice is the story of Elizabeth Bennet. One of five unmarried sisters during the Regency era in England, Elizabeth is a young woman with great wit and a vivacious personality. Although she will be left in reduced circumstances at the death of her father, Elizabeth would like to marry for love rather than to better her circumstances as her mother would wish. Elizabeth meets the haughty and exasperating Mr. Darcy at a local assembly. After hearing Mr. Darcy make a rather disparaging remark about her, Elizabeth decides to have nothing to do with Mr. Darcy. As fate keeps throwing them together, Elizabeth learns that sometimes pride can mask the true character of a man.

I listened to the Cover to Cover version of Pride and Prejudice as read by Irene Sutcliffe. Sutcliffe did a fair job at reading Pride and Prejudice, but truthfully, it was not the best version I’ve heard of an Austen novel. Sutcliffe’s voice was a little too monotone and she didn’t have a distinct voice for each character as other audiobook readers have done.

I loved listening to the story of Pride and Prejudice again, especially in a format that I can imagine Austen and her family reading the novel aloud to one another at night. Having read the novel numerous times, it is always a pleasure to hear favorite passages and lines.

My favorite aspect of Pride and Prejudice (as with any Austen novel) is Austen’s great characters. As I listened to Pride and Prejudice, I realized that most of Elizabeth and Darcy’s problems stem from annoying family members. This is a problem I’m sure that most people can relate with. Elizabeth has a father that loves to laugh at his neighbors, and a mother that embarrasses her in public by talking too much. Darcy has an overbearing busy buddy aunt who likes to boss people around. The foibles of the characters are fantastic and Austen is the wittiest writer I have ever read.

I could wax on about Pride and Prejudice all day, but the moral of this blog entry is that listening to Pride and Prejudice as an audiobook was a very enjoyable experience and a great new way to enjoy the novel.

This is my eleventh item in the Everything Austen Challenge II.

Audiobook Source: The Kewaunee Public Library


  1. I have no idea how an audio book will work on this book but I can imagine the nuances if they get good voices in!!!

  2. Laura this is what I need to do.... I struggle with these books but think audio may be the way to go! Thanks! :)

  3. Laura - I love the Emilia Fox reading of Pride and Prejudice by Naxos AudioBooks. Her interpretation of Mrs. Bennet and Lady Catherine are fabulous.

    Thanks for the review.

  4. Wonderful review, Laura. You are right when you call Austen a very witty writer. I also think it would be quite enjoyable to listen to this, preferably in small, cozy, candle-lit room.

  5. Since I know the story of P&P so well, I think it would be neat to revisit it as an audio book.

  6. I listened to a version of P&P on Librivox a year ago and was astounded by how dull the wrong reader was able to make it.