Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Subtle horror, full of atmosphere.
on 24 November 2009
The Vine programme gives ordinary people the chance to try new goodies, often ahead of official release, in return for writing reviews to help potential customers make purchase choices. As you can imagine, there's often a bit of a feeding frenzy for expensive electricals and state-of-the-art gadgets among the reviewers, and items such as this audio book can very easily fall under the radar. Which is a real shame, because this is actually one of the best items I've received since joining the programme.
M R James was born in Victorian times, and his writing has an exquisite simplicity, no flowery prose, no embellishments. He paints pictures of dark woods, bleak seashores, flint churches and abandoned Martello towers. The tales centre largely around East Anglia, which is another bonus for me, as I live in the area, and rarely come across literature based locally. The story of the Saxon crowns, buried around the coast to protect England from marauding invaders, then foolishly dug up by inquisitive locals was so compelling that I did a Google search genuinely expecting to find this confirmed as a previously reported myth or legend. It isn't, but I so wanted it to be. The three other tales are similarly engrossing.
Potential purchasers need to be aware that the terror level is hardly going to match a modern horror film, but the sense of eeriness and atmosphere conveyed in these subtle and unsophisticated stories is absolutely wonderful. As is Derek Jacobi's measured reading of them. I listed to one CD at home on Halloween, and the other made a nice change from the egotistical DJs who normally join me on my commute up the M11!
I thoroughly recommend this item.