by Charlotte Bronte
Naxos Audiobooks (abridged audiobook)
The world has gone Bronte mad, with film versions of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights about to hit cinemas, not to mention the Eyre-esque Twilight books. Classical music specialist Naxos released this abridged audiobook to attract a new generation of readers: the lucrative 'young adult' market. This makes some sense: the passionate love affair (or wrestling match) between brutish Heathcliff and hair-tossing Cathy contains more than a touch of teen passion: they meet as children, fall in love as adolescents and tear each other apart as adults. But while modern tweens have notoriously short attention spans, I am not convinced Naxos needs to abridge this much: clocking in at under four hours, it is almost a third the length of most Wuthering Heights audiobooks. Some of the excisions are graceful - a paragraph cut down to size. But other gaps - entire sections of dialogue - smooth the weird atmospheric edges of Bronte's story. On the plus side, both readers Ken Drury and Freda Dowie are extremely good.
Extras: CD edition comes with a CD-ROM containing texts and notes by Francis Gilbert.