Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Georgette Heyer re-read

Here I'll be reporting on my big re-read of my favorite Heyer novels. Please join in! Which of her books do you like most and why? Which didn't make you laugh? Which didn't intrigue you?

Here beginneth the Georgette re-read.

I'm starting, for some reason, with The Unknown Ajax.

Now some of these books I'm "reading" in audiobook, though I'm constantly checking my print copy as it's easier to type up clever lines and such then. So some of the experience this time will be enhanced (or not) by the quality of the reader.

I'm glad to report that the reader in the audible.com version of this book is terrific. Daniel Philpott manages to vary character voices to show their personalities, so that the curmudgeonly old lord sounds curmudgeonly, and the callow youth Richmond sounds eager and earnest. Ajax, I mean, Hugh (his cousin Vincent calls him Ajax, after the dumb and brutish classical hero, but acknowledges later that maybe Hugo is smarter than he appears), once he realizes that his new family thinks he's just a Yorkshire yokel, starts talking in a broad Yorkish accent, complete with delightful if impenetrable slang. Philpott does this very well. I don't know enough about accents to know if his version is authentic, but it sure is funny! And it's comprehensible, which probably an actual 19th C Yorkshire accent wouldn't be. (I remember asking directions in 21st century York, and the nice man who told me how to get to the trainstation seemed to be speaking another language than English.)

Anyway, will report back on this, but so far, I'm loving it far more than I did when I first read it years ago. It could be the audio experience, but I also think I can now better understand some of the fun things she's doing with characters and sentences.

Fave character so far: Claud Darricott, Hugo's tulip of a cousin, who is happy to rusticate for a few weeks because keeping up appearances in London has become so exhausting. His tulip standards have gotten that high!

Anyone else read this?


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