Written by: George Orwell
Narrated by: Simon Callow
Length: 3 hours and 11 minutes
Release Date: December 7, 2009
Publisher: CSA Word
Over the years, there have been several authors, who have been able to captivate consecutive generations. With his dystopian novels, which borderline on conspiracy theories, George Orwell has managed to remain a popular figure in mainstream media. Although his novel, 1984, is likely his most cited work, Animal Farm is also well worth checking out. His humorous take on the Russian Revolution is enjoyable from page to page and will keep the reader engaged all the way to the conclusion.
Now, the book is available in an audiobook version and is narrated by Simon Callow. Callow is a well renowned veteran narrator and frequently translates classic novels into audiobooks. Is his performance here a success? You will find out below.
Simon Callow’s Narration
Ralph has been in the business for a significant period of time and he has gained quite the reputation. Although he has published a lot of successful audiobooks, many will argue that Animal Farm is one of his best performances to date. Ralph’s distinguishable accent is enjoyable and very authoritative. This helps to make the classic satire feel authentic and realistic. Throughout the short 3-hour audio, Ralph manages to remain consistent and never falls off of course.
At the same time, Ralph’s professional British accent helps to transport the audience to the age of the Russian Revolution. His delivery makes the listener feel like they’re a part of all of the most imperative decisions of that time. The laughable scenario becomes realistic and dire, with Ralph’s dramatic vocals. He even brings the pigs to life and makes them likeable characters. Although the scenario seems absurd, Ralph doesn’t snicker once throughout the audiobook. This alone should earn the narrator a great deal of praise.
The story actually amasses a great number of characters from all different gene pools. Despite the large number of characters, Ralph manages to separate each with clearly understandable dialogue and a quirky identifier for each character. This makes it easy for the listener to separate the men from the boys, or the pigs from the humans. As wacky and crazy as the story is, Ralph makes it all understandable. His professional, unwavering tone will put the listener on the edge of their seat, during the book’s most dramatic scenes.
There are many excellent moments presented during the audiobook, but the conclusion is certainly fulfilling and is likely the most compelling scene in the entire book. It teaches the reader an important lesson regarding war and diversity. Despite the amazing quality of the audio and Simon Callow’s outstanding vocal performance, there is one underlying issue with this audiobook. It is far too short! The short length of the audiobook leaves it feeling somewhat shortchanged. Of course, this isn’t to say that the ending isn’t fitting, because it certainly is!
An additional hour or two would’ve been a welcoming treat. Of course, this should not take away from Ralph’s amazing performance and Orwell’s excellent penmanship. For the narration alone, the audiobook certainly receives two thumbs up. Although the book itself is amazing, Ralph definitely helps to advance it a few steps forward.
A Comedic Tale Of War
George Orwell, a well-known democratic socialist wanted to put an enlightening touch on the Soviet Union and the Russian Revolution. Orwell was never too shy to hold back his opinions on the British and Soviet alliance. He like other Britons was skeptical about the intentions of Joseph Stalin, leader of Soviet Union from early 1922 until late 1952.
Orwell’s novel Animal Farm was published in 1945. When the novel begins, Farmer Jones is under the impression that he is in total control of the Manor Farm, but unbeknownst to him, Old Major is working diligently to teach the animals that humans are their enemies. Well, this is all about the change, because Old Major up and suddenly dies leaving the responsibility to Snowball and Napoleon.
These two young pigs have a different outtake on life than Old Major, since they want equal rights, so they begin to preach that “All animals are equal”. A revolution is in order and Mr. Jones is overthrown and the farm gets a new name, “Animal Farm”. Snowball sets out to modernize the farm and educate the animals, by teaching them to read and write.
Jones is not willing to give up his farm that easy, so he and several others attack the farm, in hopes of regaining control, but he is not prepared for Snowball’s defense, because he has been studying the battle strategies of no other than Julius Caesar. Napoleon and Snowball continue to prepare for the upcoming revolution.
George Orwell’s brilliant novel, Animal Farm was a successful attempt to rule out propaganda involving the upcoming revolutionary war. He was determined to alleviate the concerns and fears that individuals were exhibiting due to the outlandish propaganda delivered by the totalitarians.
During the WWII era, many publishers did not take lightly to Orwell’s anti-Soviet literature, so they rejected it. In today’s world, it is praised as one of the best books ever written.
When it comes down to it, avid readers will all agree that Animal Farm is a timeless classic. Although the book might take a silly approach to a serious subject, it delivers an insightful look into the historic Russian Revolution. The characters might be pigs, horses and other animals, but they’re more human than you could ever imagine. Simon Callow’s excellent narration helps to make these characters come to life and transforms them into relevant figures.
This helps to transform Animal Farm into a humorous, but informative study into the human mind and psyche. If you’ve ever wanted to learn about the history of the Russian Revolution, Animal Farm might not deliver the most accurate representation, but it will provide you with several hours of laughter. If that is something that speaks to you, Animal Farm is a must listen! Skip the book and check out the audiobook now!
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