I know – it’s been around forever and while I’ve seen several versions in film – I’ve never read or listened to the entire book – a classic by Mary Shelley. Now, the 200th anniversary edition is available and narrated by Clive Hayward, please read on for my review of
I’m decidedly not a fan of horror stories, a bit of spooky is just fine for me, but to go over that line is too much. But, Frankenstein is a classic, and we all know the story’s genesis: a competition between a group of writers brought together by Lord Byron and Percy Shelley: the challenge was to write a story that was the most horrifying to the group present. The winner of that competition was Mary Shelley with her gothic, nightmare inspired story of a monster created by a man.
Everyone has seen or read some of the story – I read it years back as an assignment, and have now returned to revisit the story in audiobook form and narrated by Clive Hayward. This particular version is the original: full of dramatic pauses, a scientist with an experimental nature and a created monster: challenging the concepts of creation, monsters and humanity and how the three elements influence events and perceptions.
What stands out most in this story apart from the tension and knowing the outcome is the battles of perception versus reality: a created human from offcut parts and animated with technology is an anomaly to be sure –but it could just as easily have been a cute little creation had not the fear of something new and different and the overwhelming self-absorption of the creator’s determination not colored the villager’s viewpoint. He was strange and off-putting – therefore everything coming from that house would be strange and off-putting as well.
Overall – this is a story that demands you have at least a passing acquaintance with the classics as Paradise Lost, the Genesis story from the bible and other classics are frequent references and often referred to in the many monologues present in the story. Dialogue is often wordy and descriptions of nature and the natural world are frequent – a counterpoint to the ‘unnatural’ creation. Of course, one can’t help but think that not every creation (even the greatest ones) are purely upside for the one who is behind it: Victor both loves and hates his monster – and those themes of pushing boundaries while worrying about that step too far repeat as well.
Narration for this story is provided by Clive Hayward and his treatment of the text, the distinct and clear presentation of each character and the emotional subtlety with which he allowed the most terrifying moments arrive with a slow build is masterfully done. Honestly –this is not a story to listen to alone in the dark – every noise will cause you to jump (or it did me) and had me revisiting the story repeatedly even when I tried to shut down that train of thought. This is well worth a listen.
Overall 5 Narration 5 Story 5
Title: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Author: Mary Shelley
Genre: Classic, Horror
Narrator: Clive Hayward
Published by: Blackstone Audio
Published on: 28 November, 2017
Source: Audio Producer
Audio Length: 8 Hours: 37 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦Audible
This chilling tale of a gruesome monster unleashed into the world by an unthinking scientist was first conceived in 1818 by nineteen-year-old Mary Shelley on a dark, rainy night on Lake Geneva. Lord Byron and Percy Shelley challenged their friends to see who could come up with the most horrifying story imaginable. Mary Shelley did, terrifying them all with her nightmare-inspired tale.
A copy of this title was provided via Audio Producer for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: