I don’t do abridged. I cordially despise abridgements. Reader’s Digest Condensed versions? Abominations. But this particular abridgement is an audiobook read by Tom Baker. I will listen to a calendar read by Tom Baker. I think I would even listen to Sarah Palin’s autobiography read by Tom Baker. (Maybe.) Tom Baker is magnificent.
He’s Tom Baker.
His voice is deep and rich and pleasurable as the center of a dark chocolate truffle. When Dickens’ humor comes out in the text, Baker’s amused tone deepens it. In more dramatic moments, the passion in his voice is tangible. His characters are beautiful. Truly, I don’t think he put a foot wrong in the whole lamentably short reading.
Oh, and Dickens is pretty fantastic too. One of many reasons I curse the school system is that it made me hate Dickens for a while there. I resent that. This is a gorgeous story – and yes, I will be reading (or listening to) the unbutchered version before long.
As I’ve said so often this year about so many books, I read A Tale of Two Cities a very long time ago, and had forgotten quite a bit. As these things go, I think this audiobook – from Audible – was a very good abridgement. Quite a lot of dialogue and a fair amount of character development was retained (though not the revelations about Madame DeFarge’s knitting); I wouldn’t want to sit listening to this with the book in hand, but whatever reason there was to cut the book down, at least they did it rather well. But I’d pay good money (if I had it) to hear the whole 400-500 page novel read by Tom Baker.
Or, you know, the phone book.