The Ocean at the End of the Lane has been touted as Mr. Gaiman’s first book for adults in eight years. True, it does not quite fall into the “All Ages” category that separates his works from “Adult” because a six-year-old would probably be scarred for life reading (or listening) to the scene where our hero (a seven-year-old boy) is almost drowned in his Safe Place (the bathtub where he reads) by his own father.
The Australian bush is vividly described as the team goes on their little quest, taking the reader through swimming holes, caves and Eucalyptus forests. Children will love little Pirate best of all, conjuring up the little barking bird in their imaginations – which makes a nice change from the video screens and televisions that tend to take over the modern household.
There’s something quite exciting about the live quality of this show, and it is even more powerful now when we’ve all become used to technological sophistication and smooth packaging in our listening.
Alan Bennett is the master of the monologue, pondering a range of social issues with a deftness that few other playwrights could match. This powerful collection features some of Bennett’s most famous monologues, performed superbly by actors that clearly have a deep understanding of the work. The combination of character development, a great eye for the minutiae of everyday life, and a theatrical sense of the absurd and tragic inherent in that life makes this an excellent piece of work.
For sheer entertainment alone, it would be hard to beat the relaxation and engagement of listening to such a well done adaptation. For anyone who has to spend time in a vehicle or engaged in an activity that doesn’t allow for a book in hand, this audio is one which will transform the journey into one of pure pleasure.
This latest audio version, read in a lucid and calm BBC voice by actor John Gaden, is beautifully set out, with exquisite and carefully chosen classical music between each chapter. The music is played by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and…