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A Tale of Two Cities

The Dickens Collection: An Audible Exclusive Series
Narrated by: Simon Callow
Length: 15 hrs
5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This Audible Exclusive production revisits one of Dickens' popular novels: A Tale of Two Cities. In Dickens' driving narrative we see many themes that permeate life today as well as characters who provide a window into the past. This, coupled with Simon Callow's expert narration, is a treat for those new to Dickens and lifelong fans alike. Featuring an exclusive introduction written by Callow, whose passion for Dickens shines through. 

This release marks the start of the Dickens Collection, an exclusive series of unmissable performances available throughout 2018. 

About the book 

'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.' 

So begins Charles Dickens' most famous historical drama: a gripping tale of war, social injustice and the choice between darkness and light. After being unjustly imprisoned for 18 years, French doctor Manette is released from the Bastille jail in Paris and embarks upon a journey to London in the hope of finding the daughter he never met. Young Lucie Manette is a pretty and dutiful girl who soon attracts the attention of two very different gentlemen. Now reunited with the father she believed to be dead, happiness appears to be within reach. But as they are all drawn back to the bloodstained streets of Paris, misery and the threat of La Guillotine loom once again. 

In Callow's introduction, we discover how Dickens' own volatile personal circumstances of the time are mirrored in A Tale of Two Cities. He tells of Dickens' personal feuds and explains why this novel sees Dickens at his most theatrical. 

About the author 

With his father incarcerated, Charles Dickens had to abandon his studies at a young age and set to work in a factory so as to support himself. Despite his short-lived education, Dickens went on to write 15 novels, various articles, novellas and short stories. He lectured and led campaigns for children's rights and education and arguably became the ultimate self-made man. Dickens had strong values, and they pervade A Tale of Two Cities, which can be seen as not only an inspirational text but one which will continue to stand the test of time. 

About the narrator 

Simon Callow is a multi-award-winning actor, writer and theatre director. He is best known for his performances in Amadeus, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls and Four Weddings and a Funeral. Simon has vast stage experience and clearly loves what he does. His fervour began at a young age working as box office staff, and it wasn't long before he made the transition from behind the scenes to centre stage - never looking back. 

Callow is also known for his literary talents and has published various biographies including those of Oscar Wilde, Charles Laughton and Orson Welles. He has narrated over 20 audiobooks and brings his wealth of experience and characteristic charm to this exciting performance.

Public Domain (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

classic Dickins

love the story, so unlike most of Fickins novels. a social commentary with little comedy. fabulously narrated.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gillian
  • 2018-02-08

Very Good But Not The Best On Audible--

Just look it up: A Tale of Two Cities has been done in a gazillion different versions on Audible. And while I enjoyed Simon Callow's version very much, I have to say that Simon Vance and John Lee turn in better performances of this superb work. Heck, I even appreciate Simon Prebble's narration far more.
The only thing is, and perhaps I'm the only one here: Callow, who has a background in acting on the stage, is a bit over the top. He brings a grand, grand, GRAND theatricality to this book by Dickens that sometimes gets in the way of a marvelous book of obsession, love, intrigue, and sacrifice. The man obviously loves and respects Dickens and totally brings in his acting chops, and yes, sometimes the work wallows in melodrama, but I was taken out of the story a few times by having to lower my volume because when a character bellows, Callow bellows. When a character shrieks, Callow shrieks. You get the picture.
Still, I appreciate the effort, and I did indeed enjoy my 15 hours with Dickens (and Lucie, and Dr. Manette, and especially the finally eloquent Carton... and oh yes: the shifty, wicked Defarges!).
It's just that Simon Vance is a tad, maybe only a tad, better...

27 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel E. Lieneck
  • 2018-03-11

Love it

It was great renewing my love for this book. Well narrated and an enjoyable listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-10-01

Magnificent

An enthralling story, beautifully written and brought masterfully to life by Mr Callow. Five stars seems barely adequate.

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  • M. G. Hasham
  • 2019-07-20

Bravo! Phenomenal!

I read this book as a young teen. I remember loving it. Decades later I decided to revisit it with Simon Callow and Audible. All I can say is Thank you! Thank you Audible and Mr. Callow for the beautiful rendition of a phenomenal book by the greatest writer of British literature—Mr. Dickens! The description of the French Revolution, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and of course Love in different forms is quite beyond compare. Bravo!

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  • Ann M Toebbe
  • 2019-05-29

Totally enjoyable

Great story, wonderful performance. The reader’s characterizations are deep and dramatic but even more, his relish of every word, every sentence, every pause brings this great work’s humor, suspense, and moral depth
alive.

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  • chinakids
  • 2018-12-19

Very good

Excellent plot, and I feel that the atmosphere of the French revolution is accurate - never knowing whether you are safe or not, and who would denounce you. Weaker than average characterization for Dickens, and too many coincidences for belief. Example: Jerry Cruncher HAPPENS to have a second job stealing bodies from graves to sell to doctors, so he can attest that a particular person faked his own death. It's almost as if Dickens cannot imagine a world in which people are not so intertwined that you will find some connection to any random person. I know this is one of his most popular works, but I found it much less interesting than almost any other title by him that I've read.

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  • Timothy H.
  • 2018-05-29

Brilliant Classic

This best displays the genius of Charles Dickens. Somehow Dickens brilliantly describes the French Revolution just as The Bible does the book of Revelation.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful